Recently we’ve been talking a lot about skin tightening.
That’s largely due to two reasons:
#1 NuEra™ Tight with FocalRF Technology is the latest addition in our clinic. We are very proud to be the first aesthetics clinic in Birmingham to introduce this superior and advanced radiofrequency skin tightening machine.
#2 Skin laxity is a major concern among our patients.
If you’ve been reading any of our recent articles on skincare, you may have noticed one anti-ageing buzzword that’s featured a lot. And that’s collagen! Hailed as the "fountain of youth," collagen has become a hot topic in the beauty sphere. How important I collagen for your anti-ageing efforts or is it all hype?
To answer that, here’s a quick run-down of what collagen is, the benefits of collagen, and how you can help to increase the collagen in your skin.
What Exactly is Collagen ?
Collagen is a fibrous protein found in the extracellular matrix, an intricate network of proteins and other molecules that give support and give structure to cells and tissues in the body, including the entire skin. You can think of collagen as the cement that holds everything together.
It's the most abundant protein in animals, making up around one-third of the body's protein content.
Collagen also plays a role in cell turnover (constant shedding of dead skin cells and subsequent replacement with younger cells.).
All these fantastic attributes allow collagen to give the skin its strength and elasticity and help to keep it firm and youthful-looking.
Why Do You Need More Collagen?
You know that collagen plays an integral role in helping preserve a healthy skin structure, but isn't the collagen your body already produces enough as it is? No, unless you are 20 years or younger (basically teenagers and kids.
- Age is the number one factor that leads to decreased collagen production. Most people peak out on their collagen between 25-35. From then, the existing collagen levels drop as it gets harder each year for your body to produce more collagen.
- Collagen is broken down in your body by enzymes called collagenases. The levels of these enzymes increase with age. This leads to a faster breakdown of collagen in the skin.
- Environmental exposures such as excessive sunlight can damage collagen fibres reducing their thickness and strength over time.
- Lifestyle choice like smoking, excess alcohol and lack of sleep has been shown to contribute to the deterioration of collagen in the body.
- Women lose up to 30% of their collagen within five years of menopause.
- Autoimmune disorders and connective tissues diseases can result in antibodies to attack collagen in the skin, joints and other body parts.
One of the signs that the body's collagen production has gone down is that the skin loses its elasticity and starts to develop wrinkles. As levels decrease further, we may start to see loose, sagging, and even shrivelled looking skin.
How to Boost Your Collagen and Rejuvenate Your Skin
The good news is that you don’t have to surrender to this fate. There are several steps you can take to help the body make more collagen, even if production naturally decreases with age.
Consuming collagen supplements is the first of potentially boosting your overall collagen levels. There are two ways to supplement with collagen, peptides or the whole-food form of collagen: bone broth. Collagen peptides or hydrolysed collagen is an easy-to-digest powdered form of collagen that has been extracted from bovine hides (cow skin)!
On the other hand, some people might prefer bone broth, a more all-inclusive health supplement providing many nutrients to the body.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate collagen supplements, so you need to do extensive research and only buy from reputable brands.
While these products have been found to be effective at smoothing the skin, whether this means the skin will appear younger and firmer is debatable.
2. Collagen Stimulating Dermal Fillers
Some collagen creams promise to restore your collagen, but they really can't. That's because there's a big difference between the collagen naturally produced by your body and externally applied collagen. It's difficult for the body to absorb topical collagen as the molecule are often too big to penetrate the epidermis.
In contrast, collagen-stimulating fillers don't just add facial volume — they help create new collagen. An example is Radiesse which has calcium hydroxyapatite (CaHA) microspheres deposited under the skin. The CaHA then acts as a scaffold upon which collagen fibres are formed. The collagen eventually completely replaces the Radiesse filler as it is broken down and slowly absorbed by the body. The end result? More youthful-looking and voluminous skin.
On the downside, collagen-stimulating injections are not reversible. This is unlike hyaluronic acid fillers (the most popular type of fillers in our clinic), which can be easily undone with injections of an enzyme that quickly breaks down the filler, eliminating the need to wait months for it to dissipate naturally. That's why collagen-stimulating fillers, though longer-lasting, are typically not recommended for patients who are new to facial fillers.
3. Microneedling or Collagen Induction Therapy
Microneedling is a simple, safe, effective, and minimally invasive facial aesthetics treatment. Carried out using SkinPen, the most advanced microneedling device on the market, the treatment works by triggering collagen production in the skin.
Here's the science behind it.
When your skin experiences an injury – even if it's a small cut – your body kickstarts a healing process to clot the blood and encourage skin repair on the wound. This healing process gets its "oomph" from collagen, which is an essential component to healing injuries.
In the case of microneedling, the tiny raised needles on the SkinPen essentially "push" through the skin, causing micro-injuries on the skin's surface. Your body immediately recognises the trauma as a wound and triggers the healing process.
In fact, microneedling activates a whole cascade of skin rejuvenation factors, including the release of more hyaluronic acid, which helps to plump the skin and replenish the moisture barrier.
As a result, microneedling will give you a crucial boost to your skin's health and a noticeable improvement in the appearance of your skin.
4. Radiofrequency (RF) Skin Tightening
RF Skin Tightening Therapy is a non-invasive method used to tighten loose skin. The skin specialist uses probes to deliver sound vibrations to the deeper layers of the skin.
The radio frequencies cause water molecules in the deeper layers of skin to vibrate, which in turn causes a heating effect. When heat is applied to collagen fibres, they shrink and tighten up for an immediate lifting effect on the skin. More than that, new collagen also forms in the months following the treatment.
The fantastic feature of this procedure is that it has absolutely no adverse effect on your skin or the surrounding tissues, blood vessels, and nerves. It's also entirely non-invasive. That means no needles, no cuts, and no sutures!
Our skin tightening machine, NuEra™ Tight, has a diagnostic device to monitor the radio frequency depth, allowing for laser precision during the procedure.
For this reason, our RF skin tightening treatment can be used on any part of the body regardless of the person's age, sex and skin type.