When it comes to skin care, collagen is essential. Naturally present in our body, it is a major active ingredient in the fight against aging and the signs of aging. But as we get older, its quantity decreases.
Today, there are solutions to boost its production and effectively reduce the premature aging of our skin.
What is collagen and what is it for?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body (around 6% of our weight). It is a structural component of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. It is also an essential component of the dermis (75% of the dry weight of the skin), the deep layer of the skin, which is covered by the epidermis (superficial layer). Collagen is the foundation of the firmness, elasticity and youthfulness of our skin.
The word collagen comes from the Greek 'kólla' which means glue, which is quite justified since collagen provides a solid structure to our organism thanks to its connection and solidity functions.
There are several types of collagen. The "Type 1" is the one that makes up about 90% of the collagen in our body and is the one found in our skin.
It is produced by fibroblasts, cells present in the dermis. The older we get, the more the number of fibroblasts tends to decrease and so does the amount of collagen. Our skin becomes thinner, loses its elasticity and wrinkles appear.
Loss of collagen
In our 30's, our skin's collagen levels naturally decline by 1 to 2% each year. At 50, we have already lost nearly a quarter of the amount of available collagen. With less collagen, our skin gradually loses its structure, wrinkles appear and our face starts to sag.
Moreover, during menopause, the total loss of estrogen, which stimulated the synthesis of collagen and elastin fibers, will accentuate the skin aging process.
In addition to the natural aging of our skin, certain factors accelerate the loss of collagen, for example:
-prolonged exposure to the sun,
-diets high in sugar.
The composition of our skin
Even if we only see the top layer of our skin, it is, in fact, made up of 3 layers:
Collagen acts as a solid foundation that enables the top layer of our skin (the epidermis) to glow as well as to be smooth and firm.
As collagen is produced in the dermis, it is therefore necessary to act in depth in order to stimulate its production. Working on the epidermis is absolutely not enough.
How to increase the production of collagen?
Collagen is the foundation of our whole body and of our skin. Without it, our skin wrinkles and sags .
Some moisturizers or serums contain collagen but they will not be effective on the production of collagen itself. Also, the collagen molecules contained in these products are too large to be able to reach the dermis. On the other hand, a cream with collagen remains a very good moisturizer on a daily basis.
There are also many collagen supplements on the market (made from animal or plant material), which can have some effect on the body (joints, bones, hair, nails) and on the skin. The thing is, it is not guranteed that the supplemental collagen absoption will be done at the skin level. In fact, when passing through our intestinal system, the amino acids composing the collagen molecule are absorbed and redistributed throughout the whole body, and not specifically to the skin.
Since collagen "lives" in the middle layer of the skin, we need to stimulate this place in order to boost its production. One of the most effective ways to do so is microneedling.
Microneedling uses dozens of tiny needles that makes tiny holes in our skin with a tool called a Derma Roller.
Studies have shown that with 4 microneedling sessions per month, the skin increases its collagen content by 400%.
How does microneedling work?
When done correctly, microneedling creates controlled 'wounds' on the skin that lead to superficial damage thus triggering the body's healing response:
-Your skin releases substances that stimulate its growth,
-New blood vessels are formed,
-Your skin begins to produce more collagen,
-Within the next 5 days, the collagen produced comes in the treated area which makes your skin firmer, improves your complexion, gradually reduces scars and hyperpigmentation.
How to choose the right Derma Roller?
There are a wide variety of needle lengths, widths and materials. Here are some indications to guide you in your choice :
- Make sure your Derma Roller is made with surgical steel needles and that they are between 0.5mm and 1.0mm in length no more!
- The amount and length of needles vary depending on the amount of skin you are covering. For example, a low number of short needles will be used on the face, while longer needles can be used on the body and chest.
-Beware, the use of a Derma Roller that is not well manufactured is a potential risk to your health.
Personally, I use the Derma Roller sold by my Face Yoga teacher Fumiko Takatsu, founder of The Face Yoga Method. This Derma Roller uses FDA approved technology. In addition, it has 2 removable heads which allows use on the face and body. You can find it on her website.
How to use the Derma Roller?
The Derma Roller should be used on cleansed and dry skin.
Before using it, disinfect it with alcohol or a disinfectant spray.
You can run it under water to remove excess alcohol before you start using it.
It should be used on small parts of the face or body one after the other.
For example, you can start with the chin, then continue on the cheeks, dividing them into 3 parts, then on the nose, temples, forehead, always dividing it into several parts.
The Derma Roller cannot be used on the eyes or under the eyes, the skin of the eyes being the thinnest on our body.
On each small part, pass the Derma Roller: - Horizontally, - Vertically, - Diagonally to the right, - Diagonally to the left. Each movement repeated 3 to 4 times.
After you've finished, you can apply your skincare products as you normally would. The Derma Roller can be used up to 4 times a month, or once a week.
For sensitive or reactive skin like mine, I suggest starting once every 2 weeks and see how your skin responds. The results you can see quickly! Within 60 days of use, you will see significant improvements, including: 1- Reduction of deep wrinkles and fine lines, 2- Reduction of acne scars and stretch marks, 3- Reduction of hyperpigmentation, 4- Improvement of the texture and tone of your skin, 5- Better efficiency of your skincare products, 6- Can help reduce hair loss (if you run the Derma Roller over your head). The Derma Roller is perfect for almost all skin types and if used correctly, will become one of your favorite beauty tool!