Collagen is a crucial element of your skin as it helps to keep it bouncy, smooth and lifted. It makes up 30% of the body’s protein and a whopping 70% of the skin’s protein, which is why we can confidently say that collagen is literally responsible for holding us together and keeping us youthful looking.
This is also why the loss of collagen or the slowing down of collagen production can directly contribute to more noticeable fine lines, wrinkles and sagginess.
But what exactly causes collagen loss or a decrease in collagen, and what can we do to slow down the process? Read on to discover more.
Causes of collagen loss
When discussing the causes of collagen loss, there are two categories involved. The first category involves factors that are out of our control, such as age, UV exposure and genetics. The second consists of factors that are within our control and can be reversed, stopped or avoided.
Let’s explore these factors below:
According to scientific research, collagen production starts to slow down by the time we hit our late 20s – though this can also happen in our early 20s. While research is unable to pin down exactly when it starts, one thing that can be proven is that collagen production slows or decreases by 1% each year. Unfortunately, this is out of our control as there is no stopping the hands of time.
A good example of how genetics play an important factor in determining how much collagen the body makes is by observing your own family members. If your grandparents or parents look young for their age, then chances are your skin will reflect that as you age. Of course, you can also compare your family members to other people who are of similar age – do they look younger or older?
This is another factor that we all don’t have control over, which is why it’s important to focus on other things that you can control, which we will get into in the next four points.
3. UV exposure
Just in case you thought that missing a day of sunscreen or spending mere minutes under the sun would do no harm, think again. A study observing collagen under UV light found that there was a significant decrease in collagen structure almost immediately, so remember to apply sunscreen daily – even if you’re spending most of your time indoors. If you’re planning on spending the day under the sun, remember to reapply sunscreen every few hours.
Various studies throughout the years have proven that smoking causes premature ageing, resulting in more wrinkles, crow’s feet and fine lines. This is due to the fact that smoking decreases the amount of oxygen to the skin. On top of that, the oxidative stress caused by the chemicals in tobacco results in damaged tissues.
Diets that are high in sugar, processed meats and simple carbohydrates trigger the immune system and may even promote inflammation in the body. This, in turn, interrupts the healing process – including that of the skin. High-sugar diets can damage collagen and weaken the skin’s foundation as well, which will lead to premature skin ageing.
The notion that stress ages you isn’t a myth. High-stress levels actually increase cortisol levels, which decreases the production of collagen. The body works hard to counter stress and the various reactions that it causes, which is why less collagen is produced when you’re under constant pressure.
How to prevent the loss of collagen
While you can’t stop the body’s natural processes, there are measures that you can take to dampen collagen loss and promote healthy collagen levels in your body:
- Load up on Vitamin C. Vitamin C supports the production of healthy collagen, so it’s important that you eat enough of it, and use skincare products that are rich in Vitamin C as well.
- Take collagen supplements. Collagen supplements are made of collagen peptides, which are short chains of amino acids that make up collagen but are small enough to be absorbed easily by your body.
- Wear sunscreen. As mentioned earlier, your collagen takes a direct hit under sunlight, so it’s important that you protect your skin as much as possible.
How to stimulate collagen production in your skin
There’s only so much you can do to slow the natural decline of collagen in your skin. That being said, there is one effective way to boost your skin’s collagen production, and that is through Ultherapy.
This non-invasive, US FDA-cleared skin lifting and tightening treatment directly targets signs of ageing like sagginess and loss of elasticity by delivering ultrasound energy deep within the skin and stimulating the skin’s collagen and elastin production.
Aside from being a safe treatment that takes no longer than 90 minutes to perform, it also accurately targets your areas of concern – made possible by its real-time imaging or visualisation (MFU-V) technology.
No changes to your diet or routine are needed for an Ultherapy treatment and there is minimal downtime involved, so all that needs to be done is to book a consultation with our partner clinics today and watch the transformation happen!