Collagen: Why it’s so important and where to get it

Has anyone else been sucked in by the collagen craze happening everywhere around us? It seems that everywhere we look, someone is promoting a collagen supplement or a commercial on TV is telling us to take collagen vitamins. So what is the hype around collagen, and what recommendations should you give to your patients regarding supplements, vitamins, and treatment options?

What is collagen?

Collagen is a protein found in our skin, hair, bones, blood vessels, digestive system, tendons, and muscles and makes up about 25%-35% of the entire body protein content. When it comes to joints and tendons, collagen is the glue that holds everything together. When it comes to the skin, it is what replaces dead skin cells and gives our skin strength and elasticity.

As we age, our bodies naturally slow down collagen production, which results in wrinkles, sagging skin, joint pain, and more. These, of course, are caused by a myriad of factors, collagen just being a piece of that puzzle.

Collagen Supplements

Collagen is a protein and proteins are made up of amino acids. When we consume collagen, our bodies break it down into amino acids. So while you can consume collagen in powder or vitamin form and it will make it into your bloodstream, you can’t control where it ends up after that. Some may notice a slight difference when taking a vitamin or supplement, but it probably won’t produce significant results.

Medical Grade Skin Care

If you want to recommend something to your patients that will produce results and be effective, your best bet is to suggest something that is medical-grade. There are many medical-grade quality skin care products that can help you regenerate collagen. An example would be Skinmedica’s TNS Recovery Complex, a growth factor that helps regenerate growth factors that have been depleted by the body with age.

Injections

Injections such as neurotoxins and dermal fillers have been known to stimulate the collagen in the skin because any sort of trauma creates scar tissue, which generates collagen. Specifically, there is a product called Sculptra, which is a bio-activator that works with the body to help restore the skin’s inner structure and volume through collagen production. You may also look into micro-needling, which causes micro-injuries to the face, which promotes the remodeling of collagen in the face, thus promoting collagen stimulation

There is nothing stopping your patients from running out to the nearest store to buy a collagen supplement or chewable vitamin, but chances are they are not going to experience the results they are dreaming of. The best way to increase collagen production is to use things that may stimulate the collagen-like medical-grade skin care, micro needling or possibly even an injection. Be sure to also recommend that your patients eat a well-balanced diet, avoiding smoking, alcohol, and excessive sun exposure, as those are all important factors to prevent premature aging of the skin.