Collagen is a protein that makes up about one-third of all the proteins found in the human body. The substance is most frequently located in the skin, connective tissue and bones. Collagen is a very strong, fibrous material. In fact, some collagen fibrils are stronger than steel, when compared pound for pound.
The Function of Collagen
Collagen provides vital support to the underlying skin structure and stimulates skin cell renewal, giving skin its smooth, supple appearance. Collagen is also used to provide a protective layer around vital organs like the kidneys, heart and bladder. Collagen can be likened to the “glue” that holds many parts of the body together.
When we are young, our bodies produce ample amounts of this protein to support all necessary body processes. However, collagen production tends to decrease by the time we hit 40. Less collagen in the body takes its toll on the skin in particular, as loss of skin elasticity leads to the formation of facial creases and sagging skin. Loss of collagen can also contribute to stiff, sore joints as we get older, when there is less collagen produced to support the tendons and ligaments of the body.
Because collagen is such an essential component to healthy, youthful skin, replacing collagen that is lost during the aging process is an essential step in many cosmetic treatments today. However, collagen cannot usually be added with topical solutions, since collagen molecules tend to be too large to penetrate the skin. The jury is still out on oral collagen supplements as well, with little evidence to show this method effectively replaces the collagen normally produced by the body.
The best way to replace collagen and achieve a younger look is by stimulating the body to produce more collagen on its own. Fortunately, many cosmetic treatments today effectively do just that, leading to natural, long-lasting enhancements to the complexion. Lasers, radiofrequency energy and microneedling techniques are just some of the ways to stimulate the body’s own collagen production and refresh and rejuvenate the skin.
Collagen is a vital resource for the skin that helps it maintain a youthful, vibrant appearance throughout life. If you are beginning to see the effects of decreased collagen levels, such as loose skin and the appearance of facial lines, treatments are available to restore collagen levels and give you a refreshed look. Most procedures are minimally-invasive and involve little or no discomfort or downtime. To learn more about your treatment options, contact Dr. Andrews Plastic, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery at 319-382-8230.