THE IN-TRAY

Three ways to boost and protect your skin’s collagen levels

Collagen: it’s something in skincare that you’ve probably heard of, but perhaps weren’t sure what it’s responsible for and why it’s important. So, let’s chat all things collagen.

Firstly, when we talk about skin ageing, we’re pretty much talking about collagen—or, a lack thereof. Everything that you associate with healthy, younger-looking skin comes down to your collagen content. Collagen is an ingredient that naturally occurs in our skin and it works wonders to hydrate and plump—the more of it we have, the firmer and juicier our skin looks. But, as we age—and with the added elements of UV exposure, stress or drinking—our collagen production begins to deplete and break down. This causes a loss of plumpness and can bring on fine lines and wrinkles over time, which of course is inevitable—but there’s ways to slow down the process.

And don’t despair; it’s never too late to think about your collagen and how to help your skin produce more on its own. Here’s how to protect and help your collagen levels.

1. LOOK FOR AMINO ACIDS AND PEPTIDES

They’re the unsung heroes of the skincare world and might not be the first ingredient you look for on the label of the product—but, they’re here to train your skin to naturally produce more collagen. Here’s the thing: collagen is a protein that at a molecular level, is too large to be absorbed into the skin—but when it’s broken down into smaller parts; being amino acids and peptides, these smaller size molecules can be successfully absorbed by the skin. Put simply, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins such as collagen, which means they also encourage your skin to produce more collagen, renew and have anti-inflammatory and moisturising qualities as well.

The Pro Collagen Elemis range is a great place to start with amino acids. Their Pro Collagen Marine Cream, Cleansing Balm and Eye Mask all harness an ingredient called padina pavonica. It’s a type of algae which soothes, plumps, attracts moisture into the skin and is extremely high in amino acids. In fact, you’ll find this ingredient in just about every product in the Elemis range.

Another product that uses algae, seaweed to be exact, is Kat Burki—whose Form Control Marine Collagen Gel contains seaweed keratin. Seaweed in skincare is a great thing: it can interact with the proteins of the epidermis and dermis layers of skin and form a protective, moisturising layer.

Chantecaille’s Biodynamic Lifting Mask focuses on the use of peptides, more specifically it uses hexapeptides which are known to create a ‘botox effect’ in the skin—stopping it from creasing from over-use. When collagen is strong, your skin bounces right back. But if collagen is weak, repeated movements can cause permanent creases, which is why something with a ‘botox effect’ could come in handy.

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2. INCORPORATE INGREDIENTS LIKE VITAMIN C AND RETINOL

These ingredients each help ‘switch on’ the fibroblast cells which are responsible for creating new collagen. We’ve heard for a long time how much of a gamechanger vitamin A (retinol) is. Retinol has the ability to stimulate collagen production for firmer-looking skin (plus a slew of other benefits like diminishing hyperpigmentation and dark spots).

As for vitamin C, this ingredient also promotes your skin’s own collagen production—think of it as the key that fits into specific receptors on fibroblast cells, turning them on and encouraging you to produce collagen. On top of that, vitamin C is an antioxidant, meaning it protects skin cells from damaging free radicals caused by UV. Try Omorvicza’s Rejuvenating Night Cream if you want to double down and incorporate both vitamin C and A in the one product—it firms, brightens and nourishes skin while you sleep.

Verso’s Super Facial Serum is another way to introduce retinol into your routine. It contains a stabilised vitamin A complex that’s more effective than standard retinol and a lot more gentle than traditional retinols. This one also has added peptides, so you know you’re going to have those fibroblast cells working overtime to create new collagen.

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3. WEAR SUNSCREEN

We’re sure you’re already wearing sunscreen daily… right? And if you’re not, we’ve got bad news: UV rays stimulate the enzymes that actually break down collagen. So even if you’re spending all your time applying skincare that’s kickstarting your collagen production, there’s really no point if you’re not protecting your skin (every day) with a broad spectrum sunscreen.

For more products that stimulate collagen production check this out.

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