Made by skin, the secret to its firmness, yet in decline starting in our 20s, how to get lost collagen back is one of dermatology’s most progressive areas: dynamic ingredients now preserve and restore the protein for its anti-wrinkle, anti-aging benefits longer.
How does collagen affect wrinkles?
Collagen…collagen…collagen..???? You may know that collagen and anti-aging go hand in hand, but scanning the ingredients on the anti-aging collagen cream in your hand, you may be surprised to find collagen nowhere on the list. The protein behind skin’s structure: its suppleness and its smoothness. Until it isn’t. Starting in our 20s, collagen levels naturally decline at least 1% a year. And when collagen starts disappearing from skin, with the consequent arrival of lines and gradual loss of firmness, it’s time to replace it through skincare. Yet, unlike, say Hyaluronic Acid, your cream doesn’t have to contain collagen as an ingredient itself to increase your skin’s collagen.
at least1%a year
What happens to skin’s natural collagen over time?
What dermatologists know is our skin’s natural collagen factory slows output in both quantity and in quality – with the dermal skin cells which produce collagen (fibroblasts) slowing up to 75% by the time we’re in our eighties. The much-researched skin impactors: UV, pollution, tobacco, stress and sugar, being the main ones, can fast-forward collagen loss above 1% a year, destroying skin’s reserves faster.
What makes a cream effective on collagen for anti-aging?
While early creams, and some still on the market, did contain collagen, often from algae sources, the large size of collagen molecules typically means they can’t penetrate into pores, let alone into the dermis, the skin’s second layer and the site of its natural collagen factory. Because of this oversize, collagen will just sit on top of the surface, helping to lock in hydration but not much beyond that for the collagen to work on wrinkles. Bigger than pores, collagen molecules simply won’t absorb in to raise collagen levels and impact on skin integrity.
The best skincare ingredients to stimulate collagen production
In order to increase collagen productive in the dermis, the most effective creams combine ingredients that work in two different ways towards to boost collagen production for anti-aging benefits, without containing collagen itself. First, by acting on collagen by increasing the skin’s capacity to make it, and secondly by simultaneously lessening the extent by which our external impacts combine to break it down. To stimulate collagen’s natural production, ingredients act on fibroblasts- the dermal skin cells which make collagen. While other actives inhibit the enzymes (skin elements) at the origin of collagen degradation. One group of collagen-damaging enzymes, called MMPs, are overstimulated by UV exposure so SPF plays an important role in protecting against such collagen damage.
Skin peptides: Collagen’s mini-me proteins
Certain skin peptides do both – augment anti-aging collagen production and halt its’ decline – thanks to their specific protein makeup. Known for their capacities to target collagen synthesis, peptides, essentially small fragments of proteins, function as messenger molecules: when applied to our skin they naturally target specific cells or cell components (DNA) or mechanisms (enzymes) and impact their activity, with the specific purpose of making skin look and feel smoother. Peptides as cosmetics ingredients come in two forms; either obtained through the hydrolysis of protein fragments including collagen itself (collagen, elastin, wheat or other fragmented plant; or they are synthetized in vitro with a precise amino acid sequence. Looking for skincare which both targets collagen production and protects the skin from its degradation, results in more collagen in your skin – with all the anti-aging benefits that brings. Lessened aging signs, less pronounced wrinkles and less visible sagging – all linked to natural loss of the protein – that the right skincare can help replace.