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Celebrating Collagen

Hello everyone – how are you enjoying your first tastes of freedom? I’m certainly having a great time at my skin clinic in Needham Market, catching up with my regulars and meeting a few new faces as well. This month, I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of collagen – as you’ll know if you keep up with my blog or just chat to me, I am a big fan of this wonderful natural anti-ageing substance, which we’re born with abundant supplies of and gradually start to lose after the age of twenty-five or so. Collagen is the most abundant protein we have in our body and is important for all of our connective tissues, as it supports our bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and other organs. Collagen also tells our cells to repair damage, and calms inflammation, which is why it’s so popular in supplements and skincare.

Once we hit menopause, our collagen production rate starts to slow down even more. Good news, hey, ladies? Over time, the collagen levels in our skin are also affected by things like exposure to UV rays, pollution and smoking, and skin starts to sag and lose some of its natural elasticity. Getting older needn’t lead to looking older, though, even if our collagen supplies aren’t being naturally replenished as quickly as we’d like. There are lots of cheats; many of the therapies and treatments I use boost the production of this wonder substance non-invasively, plus there are supplements and topical skincare products all designed to give you a collagen boost where you need it. The role of collagen in keeping us looking great has been known about for years, but collagen therapy treatments have advanced along with our knowledge and now there are several ways we can rejuvenate our stores and replace lost collagen. There’s no longer any need for collagen to be injected into your body to plump areas up; there are some seriously effective treatments that will do the job with no down-time or old-fashioned bovine collagen injections. Because collagen is produced when there’s a perceived trauma to the skin, creating tiny micro-traumas with treatments like microneedling and light therapy has the effect of sending instructions to your body to ‘heal’ damaged cells with extra collagen. This has the effect of plumping skin up again, reducing signs of ageing and giving back lost ‘glow’.

I use the fantastic SkinPen Precision in my Microneedling treatments, a medical grade microneedling device that will help to rejuvenate your skin - it can help to reduce acne scarring too. It quite literally works by making your skin ‘fix’ itself, creating more collagen, plumping and smoothing out your skin. There’s a reason Microneedling is sometimes called ‘Collagen Induction Therapy’. I also use LED Light Therapy which stimulates the production of new collagen in a similar way, using laser light. Heating up the cells (which is not painful at all) has a similar effect as the micro-traumas caused by the Microneedling, making the body’s collagen production go into repair mode. It plumps, firms and smooths out those pesky areas where skin loses elasticity. There are plenty of collagen supplements on the market if you want to boost your available collagen from the inside, too. Look out for the amount of collagen contained in a supplement; some of them don’t actually contain enough to slow the rate of breakdown in the body, making the supplements less effective. Look for a product containing hydrolysed collagen which is easier for your body to absorb, too. You also need to be aware of bio-availability – the body’s ability to use a supplement. You can boost this by eating a varied diet – adding in foods that already have bio-available forms of collagen and amino acids. Some examples of these are: · Egg whites · Shellfish · Bone broth. It’s important to make sure that your diet contains plenty of calcium, glucosamine and magnesium, along with vitamin C, which is needed to make pro-collagen, the body’s precursor to collagen. My favourite collagen supplement is Skinade, a drink made from pure hydrolysed marine collagen peptides sourced from fresh-water fish. It doesn’t taste fishy of course; it tastes fruity - and contains essential vitamin C along with other nutrients to pack a real collagen-boosting punch. Ask me for more details if you’d like to give this wonder-supplement a try. I stock AlumierMD skincare products with collagen for a boost of topical skin love too. So, you can tackle collagen loss from as many angles as you like, and keep your skin looking youthful and dewy for as long as possible…as ever, I love to hear from anyone with skin care questions so if you have anything you’d like to ask me, or you’d like a consultation or to book a lovely treatment, please just get in touch and let’s talk!

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