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Collagen 101

Collagen is a protein. In the skin, collagen is found in the dermis or deeper layer of your skin. It is responsible for maintaining the skins moisture, elasticity and firmness. Another vital function of the collagen is it works to repair the skin after a scrape or a cut. The skin actually contains 14 different types of collagen, which collectively create strength and elasticity.

As we age the collagen in our skin is damaged and breaks down, which leads to thinner and dryer skin, causing deep wrinkles in the process. Our all-important barrier becomes weaker and more vulnerable. Collagen deterioration is also associated with a number of other health complications, including respiratory problems, joint stiffness and loss of teeth.

The main culprit, for damaging our collagen production in our skin as we age, is UVA rays. These are the sun’s rays that are at full strength all year round and penetrate through glass. This is also the reason that we recommend sunscreens all year not just in the summer when UVB rays (burning rays) are more prominent.

By the age of 30, both men and women will lose around 1% of their collagen per year every year.

One of the key components to any age management program must therefore be to boost collagen production. The good news is there is a myriad of effective products, treatments and foods available to help boost collagen production.

Stimulating collagen in your skin from within

Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplements are now available- skin care from the inside out! To gain maximum benefit, you need to take them regularly for at least 6 weeks, and according to clinical trials have proven their ability to improve your skins elasticity. When consumed orally, collagen peptides are absorbed into the blood stream and reach the dermis where they stimulate the production of collagen as well as hyaluronic acid, another important component of skin's collagen matrix. 

Our favourite - Bend Beauty’s Marine Collagen + Co Factors – for its commitment to sustainability, natural and effective formulation. Collagen peptides are typically derived from pig and cow hides, largely because they are abundant by-products and cheap to produce. Fish skin derived collagen peptides, found in Bend’s Marine Collagen + Co Factors, although more costly, have been shown to be significantly better absorbed.

Bend also includes Vitamin C and the mineral Silicon in their formulation. These are essential co-factors in a process called collagen cross-linking. This process improves collagen strength, function, and makes it more resistant to damage. Additionally, Vitamin C is an important skin antioxidant and Silicon improves the health of hair and nails.

Foods

Here are a few foods important to boost in your diet for enhancing collagen:

Fish 
Omega 3 fatty acids are the perfect nutrient for collagen production. In particular salmon and black cod are great sources of Omega 3 and therefore, collagen. Be sure to also eat the skin.
 
Shellfish
Contains copper, which is a vital natural mineral required by the body in binding collagen and elastin. 

Prunes
Wonderful and natural antioxidants, eating 5 to 6 prunes every day will help to combat collagen reduction. 

Oranges & Grapefruit
Your body uses Vitamin C to make collagen. Low levels of vitamin C reduce the body’s ability to replenish collagen stores.
 
Pineapple 
Pineapple is naturally high in the mineral manganese which is required for collagen production. 

Tomatoes, Peppers and Beets
Excellent sources of another powerful natural antioxidant called Lycopene.
 
Turkey
Contains carnosine which is believed to slow down the collagen damaging aging process called cross-linking.  

Topical Treatments

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant necessary for collagen production. It helps to neutralize harmful free radicals that damage skin cells and collagen protein. For a big skin protecting and repairing boost applying it topically each morning in a specialized serum is unparalleled.

Our favourite topical serums high in vitamin c are:

Skinceuticals CE Ferulic – great for sensitive, dry sun-damaged skin

Skinceuticals Phloretin CF – best suited for normal to oily skin with pigment damage.

Skinceuticals Serum 10 – for sensitive skin

GMC Medical Serum 10 – for sensitive skin

GMC Medical Serum 20 – great for all skin types

For more info on anti-oxidants click here.

LED Light Therapy

LED light therapy, particularly red and infrared light wavelengths, is used to boost collagen production and stimulate the skin’s natural healing abilities.

LED Light therapy is a professional device and treatment that is gentle, painless and highly effective. It is best performed initially as a series of 8 weekly or twice weekly treatments maintained with once monthly treatments.

For more information click here.

Retinoids

Retinoids are the gold standard for boosting collagen production and reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots by suppressing genetic collagen regulation. Retinoids are available in specific percentages to use topically. Care must be taken in selecting the appropriate percentage based on skin type and condition. It is also important to follow a specific frequency of use as recommended by a professional as well as only use at night.

When used correctly retinol-based creams are highly effective and a must for most skin types for creating a youthful appearance.

Here are our favourites:

GM Collin Advanced Retinol+ Night Cream

GMC Medical .5% Retinol

GMC Medical 1.0% Retinol

Skinceuticals .5% Retinol

Chemical Peels

We love chemical peels for their multi facetted approach to improving the skin. They are used to create an injury of a specific skin depth with the goal of stimulating new skin growth and improving surface texture and appearance. The way they exfoliate (compared to a topical scrub) stimulates collagen and more evenly distributes skin pigment causing an immediate brightening effect.

The application of specialized acids, even in low percentages, creates stimulation in the skin. This stimulating and building of collagen will fill in fine lines and reduce the appearance of large pores and scarring.

The most effective treatments are done in a series with treatments every one to two weeks. After four to six treatments maintain with monthly or seasonal treatments depending on the depth, skin type and condition.  

Our chemical peel series includes our Signature Skin Transformation Series, 8 Week Skin Transformation Series and our Skin Boosting Peel Program. Almost all of our Rejuvenating Facial protocols include a chemical peel as well as our Signature Facials. For more info and pricing click here.

Collagen Creams/Gels & Masks

Collagen is available as a gel and in a highly specialized sheet mask. Topical applications have been known to be controversial due to the large size of collagen molecules and therefore their inability to penetrate the skin. However, in the correct formulation they can be highly effective in revitalizing skin cells, hydrating and visibly reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

Our favorites-

GM Collin Collagen 90-11 – This professional treatment began in 1957. Dr. Lapinet, a renowned Parisian dermatologist and the original driving force behind GM Collin Skin Care, pioneered the use of collagen pellicles (sheet masks) on burn victims to help heal and regain the healthy look of their skin. At The Summit we use this treatment with great results in our Collagen Rejuvenating Facial.

GM Collin Collagen Sublime Eye Treatment - This new professional-only treatment from GM Collin Skin Care is formulated around their famous pure, native collagen pellicles. Designed to work exclusively with the eye area it is also enhanced with a fluid rich in hyaluronic acid.

GM Collin Marine Collagen Revitalizing Cream -This highly specialized cream performs and feels more like a gel with its light texture suitable for all skin types. It is composed with a synergy of 99% pure marine collagen, marine algae and trace elements.