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Anti-ageing skincare with collagen: the formidable protein is back

Collagen is celebrating a comeback in skincare. The protein for beautiful skin gets a boost from creams and serums.

The Collagen Comeback

Collagen dropped off the radar for a long time, but now it’s here again. The protein is taking centre stage once more as a host of new creams and serums are helping to boost collagen production and combat the signs of ageing thanks to their ingenious ingredients.

What is collagen, anyway?

Collagen is a protein. As the major component of connective tissues in the body, it helps to strengthen the bones, cartilage, teeth and skin. It is found in the middle layer of the skin, the dermis, and it takes the form of a web of densely packed fibres that support the epidermis, making the outer skin taut. The stronger the web of fibres, the smoother the skin. Collagen production declines over the years, with roughly one percent of the total volume disappearing ever year after we reach the age of 25.

Can collagen be supplied directly to the cells to combat the signs of ageing?

This won’t work with creams, as the molecules are too big to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin, where they are really needed.The collagen sits on top of the skin instead.But this, too, has a positive effect: it locks in moisture and keeps the outer layer of skin plump and smooths out lines.These days, the beauty industry is developing new skincare products that work directly on the cells that produce collagen or the enzymes that break collagen down.

Rodial
Collagen Drops
30 ml, €79.50

NIOD
Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1
30 ml, € 72

How do collagen boosters work in creams and serums?

The collagen found in face creams and serums contains ingredients that are designed to boost collagen production. Ingredients like peptides: protein building blocks that are made up of amino acids. These substances can reinforce the skincare effects of copper (as is the case with NIOD), which is found in almost every cell of the body and is responsible for producing and stabilising collagen.

Plant-based ingredients play an important role, too: a complex containing extract of the exotic longoza plant (Dior) claims to have a positive effect on ‘precursor cells’, from which the cells that produce collagen develop. Safflower oil and a special yeast extract (in Shiseido’s product) are also designed to boost collagen production and soften wrinkles. Antioxidants like vitamin C neutralise free radicals and prevent the stimulation of collagenases, the enzymes that break the peptide bonds in collagen. Substances with a slightly peeling effect, such as fruit acids and retinol (found in Rodial products, to give one example), are designed to promote skin cell regeneration, which can stimulate collagen production.

Shiseido
Bio-Performance LiftDynamic Serum
30 ml, €122

Glow with micro-needling

Micro-needling is a procedure that uses small pins to prick the skin, either with a dermaroller, a dermapen or a micro-needling gun. The skin virtually rejuvenates itself: the body detects the tiny pinpricks from the micro-needling treatment and kicks skin into healing mode, releasing messenger substances and growth factors. The needles used in ‘cosmetic micro-needling’ penetrate the skin by up to 0.3 millimetres, making the skin more receptive to skincare treatments and giving it a fresh glow. In ‘medical micro-needling’, the needles penetrate the skin by 0.5 to 2.5 millimetres, all the way to the dermis. As well as stimulating collagen production, this also boosts hyaluronic acid and elastin generation. It takes a couple of months for the results to show. Skin renewal and collagen production take time.

Can the right diet help to combat ageing and boost collagen production?

Definitely! Skin is well-nourished when fish, meat, soya products, eggs, nuts and pulses are on the menu. A protein-rich diet makes sure the body has all the amino acids it needs to aid collagen generation. Antioxidants are another important component of any food plan, so it’s important to make sure you have a mix of red and orange fruit and vegetables in your diet and eat plenty of deep-red and dark-coloured berries to top up your vitamin C levels. This substance has a second function: to connect the fibres in the skin. Sugar is definitely best avoided. But be careful: there’s a lot of it in fruit. Sugar stimulates a process known as glycation, where proteins react with carbohydrates to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products. These molecules make the collagen less elastic, leading to unwanted wrinkles.

DIOR
Capture Totale Le Sérum
50 ml, €195

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