Skin aging is a complicated process. How our skin behaves as we get older is down to intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors are internal and include our genetics, metabolism, and hormone processes. Extrinsic factors are external and are primarily down to our lifestyle (daily exposure to pollution, how much sun we are getting, etc.). To keep our skin looking youthful, we need collagen. It is a protein that gives our skin structure and elasticity. Our bodies produce collagen, but as we get older, this process slows down. How can we stimulate collagen production? What are some of the best skincare ingredients to include in a skincare routine?
The lowdown on collagen
Collagen is one of the primary building blocks in our body, and there are 16 different types. The most prominent one is Collagen 1. As we get older, not only does the collagen production process slows down, the collagen we do produce is of lower quality. Our lifestyle plays a part too. Collagen breaks down, and it results in fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. When women hit menopause, they can lose up to 30% of collagen. After that, the rate of decline is about 2% per year.
Many skincare brands have collagen-infused products, but it is important to know collagen as an ingredient doesn’t stimulate collagen production. The collagen molecule is too big to penetrate the dermis. It can moisturise the skin and prevent TEWL (Transepidermal Water Loss), but it will not stimulate collagen production.
Ingredients that stimulate collagen production
Retinol is the gold standard when it comes to skincare ingredients. The beauty of it is, it is a stunning multi-tasker. Yes, it does stimulate collagen production, but it also prevents various enzymes from breaking down collagen. It also has additional benefits like refining skin texture, fading hyperpigmentation, and reducing blemishes.
Vitamin C is a popular antioxidant due to its effectiveness. It protects the skin against free radical damage, limits the damage created by sun exposure, and helps fade hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C is an essential ingredient in collagen synthesis.
Ishtar products to try: Perfect & Glow Vitamin C serum
Peptides are chains of short amino-acids and are a part of the proteins that make up our bodies. Both collagen and elastin are made out of proteins. Plenty of skincare products contain peptides, and it can be difficult to know which one to pick. The most popular are signalling peptides (palmitoyl peptides and tetra-, and hexapeptides), which signal our skin to produce more collagen and protect the existing collagen from breaking down. Enzyme inhibiting peptides inhibit enzymes that degrade collagen and elastin.
Alpha-hydroxy acids are another group of ingredients to consider if you want to stimulate collagen. They work to dissolve the bonds that hold the dead skin cells together and reveal newer skin underneath. Because they stimulate cell renewal, they signal the skin to produce more collagen.
Ishtar products to try: Our Mandelic acid range
Hyaluronic acid is another popular ingredient present in numerous skincare products. It is a polysaccharide that occurs in our bodies but depletes with age. It can lead to dryness and further damage. It keeps our skin smooth and hydrated because of its ability to retain moisture.
Ishtar products to try: Hydromagic Collagen Catalyst
All of your efforts are for nothing if you don’t apply sunscreen daily. UV exposure can lead to collagen breaking down, so don’t forget to use (and reapply) sunscreen.