Collagen is one of those words that pops up time and time again on product packaging, but why is it important? Here’s a handy guide to beauty buzzword and a round-up of the products to have on your radar…
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein that gives structure to our bones, muscles, tendons and skin. It’s often referred to as the building blocks or scaffolding of the face; the more collagen we produce the plumper and firmer skin appears. Peaking when we’re at our most fertile, as women reach their mid-to-late twenties collagen production begins to slow and declines as we age.
It’s this loss of collagen that contributes to lack of firmness and volume, the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin. Fortunately there’s plenty we can do to remedy this, from boosting collagen from the inside out to applying it topically, or stimulating cells to produce new healthy collagen.
Can Skincare Really Boost Your Collagen Levels?
Skincare has the potential to help if you take a multi-pronged approach to collagen loss. Your starting point should be to focus on preventing premature depletion. Free radicals from pollution, UV rays and certain chemicals can attach themselves to healthy skin cells and trigger our enzymes to break down collagen.
Antioxidants (like those found Elemis’ Superfood Facial Oil and Allies of Skin’s Peptides & Antioxidants Firming Daily Treatment) help by preventing free radicals from attacking skin by neutralising the damaging effects.
Can Retinol Help To Boost Collagen?
Retinol, retinoic acid and pro-retinol are some of the famed vitamin A derivatives available in skincare. Clinically proven to speed-up cell turnover and improve the skin’s own collagen production, it can have a dramatic effect, especially in terms of plumping skin and smoothing fine lines.
Start slowly though as this ingredient can aggravate sensitive skin causing redness and flaking. We recommend using a retinol based product every two-to-three evenings for six weeks continuously at first.
Murad’s Retinol Youth Renewal Serum is perfect for beginners as it uses time-release retinol to minimise irritation, as well as hyaluronic acid for smoother, plumper skin. Another favourite of ours is Sunday Riley’s retinol-infused Luna Sleeping Night Oil, which is packed full of avocado and chia extracts, making it perfect for those with naturally drier skin.
If you want a cream that combines two skincare powerhouses, look to Kate Somerville’s Retinol Vitamin C Moisturizer. With vitamin C and retinol, this formula can really help to maximise your collagen production.
How Important Is Regular Exfoliation?
Exfoliation speeds up your skin’s renewal process bringing bouncier, newer cells to the forefront and simultaneously forcing skin to produce more collagen. For a bright, collagen efficient complexion try Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant which uses salicylic acid to resurface your skin and leave a much smoother, clearer finish. Try this alternating evenings before ramping up to daily. Or, if you prefer a mask, try Herbivore’s Prism 20% Aha+ 5% Bha Exfoliating Glow Facial which you can use for 20 minutes once or twice a week. You’ll love the glow this one gives.
Should I Consider Taking A Supplement?
In the same way that antioxidant skincare can help prevent premature collagen depletion, eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help to boost your skin too. If you’re not sure you’re getting enough from your diet, popping a supplement is a good idea. MSM (a form of sulphur that we can ingest) also helps to support the body’s internal collagen production while simultaneously improving nail health and hair growth – we’ve had great results including clearer, firmer skin from a daily dose of Oskia’s Pure MSM Beauty Supplement.
What About At-Home Devices?
Give skin an intense collagen boost and you’ll see plumper, smoother skin sooner rather than later. If you’re ready to invest then we highly recommend the Dr Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro, which is an at-home LED mask. Switch to the red light option to support the skin’s natural elastin and collagen for firmer and plumper skin. Simply use on cleansed skin for three minutes twice a week and you’ll soon start to notice the effects. There’s even a blue light option for tackling acne and bacteria. You can use both lights together to reap all of the benefits.
We are also advocates of the plumping benefits of facial massage. A daily massage can boost circulation and help improve muscle tone and collagen production. Gently roll Herbivore’s Rose Quartz Facial Roller on your face, neck and eye area for a relaxing end to your routine which will also help ease tension, take away puffiness and reduce fine lines after continued use.