Found in the connective tissue of animals, especially vertebrates, collagen is a group of proteins that are naturally found in the body. Collagen serves multiple functions for humans, including being the basis for connective and fibrous tissues. At Beleza, most of the focus on collagen is centered on its’ role in skin elasticity and firmness. Collagen serves as the structural support for skin, so as we age, this structure decreases.
With time, age and collagen breakdown, skin looses firmness and the ability to bounce back when pulled or stretched. This loss of structure and elasticity allows gravity to take its toll and pull the fatty tissue and skin in the face downward. Wrinkles from expressions begin to linger after the expression is gone and both deep and fine lines appear.
Collagen is almost 90% of our skin’s dermis, so the change in the appearance of skin can be dramatic when collagen starts to fade. Around the age of thirty, collagen production in the skin decreases at an average rate of 1% a year. During the next several decades, the slowdown is even more dramatic.
So, what do we do to prevent or slow down this collagen breakdown? Some of the factors are environmental and genetic; if your parents and grandparents showed their ages prematurely, it is likely that you will, too.
To delay the onset of wrinkles and loss of firmness as long as possible, a few steps can be taken. First, sunscreen. We probably sound like a broken record at this point, but there is nothing better you can do for your skin that slather on sunscreen every single day, and reapply when sweat or swimming is involved. Amp up your protection with sunglasses to shield the delicate skin around the eyes and a wide brimmed hat to provide shade on the face, neck and chest.
Second, never forget your antioxidants. Vitamin C and E protect your skin against free radicals and help to rebuild collagen. When you apply skincare products to a clean and dry face, apply them thickest to thinnest; this usually means your Vitamin C and E (generally supplied in the form of a serum) will be applied underneath your thicker lotions and creams.
Third, use a retinol. Beleza provides prescriptions for a personalized blend of hydraquinone and retinol, which can produce a drastic difference in skin pigmentation and help to increase collagen production when applied nightly.