What Is Collagen -- and Why Your Skin Needs It
Updated: Apr 8
It’s no secret that collagen is the key to a youthful-looking complexion. At Pretty Please, we work hard to ensure our clients maintain their collagen levels with private skin consultations, facial treatments, and recommending collagen-boosting products.
Collagen is the structural protein that provides support and stability to keep the skin firm, plump, and bouncy. Unfortunately, as we age, the natural reproduction of collagen diminishes, so we have to replenish our skin with products that have collagen as an ingredient. This article will break down what collagen is and why it’s needed.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, accounting for about one-third of its protein composition. It’s the building block of many of our tissues and organs, including our bones, muscles, skin, and even teeth. Basically, collagen is what binds our cells and tissues together, helping them maintain their shape, elasticity, and strength. The majority of our collagen is found and produced in the dermis which is the skin’s second layer.
3 Types of Collagen
There are 28 types of collagen found in the body, but Type I, II, and III are the most plentiful. These three types make up to 90 percent of the body’s total collagen supply. Here’s a breakdown of how they differ:
Type I is the most common type of collagen and provides structural support for our bones, organs, and connective tissues (including the skin). It is incredibly elastic and can stretch considerably without breaking.
Type II collagen is the building block of cartilage. Unlike Type I collagen which is neatly arranged, Type II forms more of a jumble. This arrangement gives cartilage its flexible, bouncy quality which allows it to easily compress and cushion our joints.
Type III collagen is most concentrated in the bone marrow and lymph tissues. Its narrow fibers are arranged in branches that provide support for specialized cells involved in blood cell generation. It is often found alongside Type I collagen in the skin and plays a key role in wound repair.
What Does Collagen Do For Skin?
As we stated earlier, collagen is the most abundant protein in the skin and it’s needed for all positive reasons. Collagen works as a structural protein that provides strength, support, and elasticity to keep the skin firm, plump and youthful. But just to make things clear, here’s a closer look at what collagen does for the skin.
Provides Support & Structure
Collagen fibers bind tissue together. With their strong, braid-like composition, they function much like sturdy columns that hold up and support the top layer of skin. When you’re young, these columns provide the stability and rigidity that keep your skin tight and lifted. This strong foundation keeps your skin’s youthful shape intact.
Keeps Skin Firm & Plump
Along with elastin and hyaluronic acid, collagen is also found in the dermis. That combination gives skin its volume, density, and bounce. Together, these materials form a tight, flexible barrier that keeps skin firm, plump, and supple. When plentiful, collagen keeps the skin from sagging and prevents the folding and creasing that contributes to fine lines and wrinkles.
That spring and bounce you see in youthful skin? Credit that to collagen. In addition to keeping your complexion firm and plump, collagen improves the skin’s flexibility and elasticity. This not only helps prevent the formation of wrinkles, but it also reduces the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite.
Why Do We Lose Collagen?
The skin contains an abundance of collagen when we’re young, but over time it starts to decline. The skin has a fine balance between collagen production and collagen breakdown. As we get older, corticosteroids tend to halt the production of new collagen and accelerate the breakdown of new collagen.
The Result of a Lack of Collagen
Visible Signs of Aging
When we lose more collagen than we produce, the visible signs of aging quickly start to emerge. Weakened collagen cannot provide much-needed structural support and as collagen levels drop, our skin becomes thinner, starts to droop, and develops fine lines and wrinkles.
Ingredients That Stimulate Collagen Production
With collagen’s numerous benefits for the skin, it’s no wonder it’s an ingredient that has begun to pop up in skincare.
Many topical treatments contain collagen peptides. These smaller chains of amino acids are more easily absorbed by the skin. When they reach the dermis, peptides provide the skin with the building blocks they need to produce new collagen. By applying peptides through skincare, we can actually trick the skin into making more of this essential protein.
Retinol is another topical ingredient that stimulates collagen synthesis in the skin. You can reap the benefits of retinol - and skip its side effects - by opting for a botanical-based version like our Natural Retinol Alternative.
Antioxidants like Vitamin C pull double duty and stimulate collagen production as well as protect it. Vitamin C not only activates the skin’s fibroblasts to produce new collagen, but it also stabilizes the collagen you already have, helping the skin stay firm, plump, and youthful-looking for longer.
Collagen-Boosting Facial Treatments
You can also boost your skin’s collagen production with spa treatments. Here are a few of the most popular collagen regenerating treatments available.
LED Red Light Therapy
Red light Therapy has been shown to stimulate natural collagen production. The use of red-light therapy increases collagen density, reduces wrinkles, and improves complexion, and improves the skin overall appearance.
Pretty Please offers LED light Therapy as an add-on for all our facials.
If your skin is in the early stages of the aging process, microcurrent treatments can be beneficial. This type of treatment is best for skin that is showing the earliest signs of aging, as it conditions the skin’s fibroblasts to function optimally and continue to produce healthy, high-quality collagen. Pretty Please includes Microcurrent treatment in our Blueberry Detox Firming facial & Triple Layer facial.
Skin Care Products That Help with Collagen Loss
Now that you have all the details on what collagen is, why your skin needs, and how to treat your skin professionally, we can now get into products that you can use from home to replenish your skin with collagen-boosting ingredients.
This skincare duo features Eminence Organics Smart Collagen+ Complex which combines botanical collagen, natural plant peptides, and algae extracts. Together, these ingredients leave the skin looking strong and elastic. The Marine Flower Peptide Serum and Marine Flower Peptide Eye Cream can be added to any skincare routine to deliver significantly smoother, plumper, and more youthful-looking skin.
Eminence Organics Arctic Berry Peel & Peptide Illuminating System
This three-step peel and peptide system includes a Peptide Illuminating Complex derived from an antioxidant-rich mix of hibiscus seed peptides, gardenia stem cells, and yellow plum extract. This blend of antioxidants, botanical peptides, and stem cells minimizes the visible signs of aging and gives skin a firmer and smoother appearance.
This silky concentrate is formulated with our Natural Retinol Alternative. This botanical-based complex mimics the effects of conventional retinol by appearing to lift and tighten the skin. Derived from chicory root and tara tree extract, it provides the same firming and smoothing results without the risk of irritation and downtime.
This antioxidant-rich serum combines potent Vitamin C with Vitamin E and ferulic acid. Together, these ingredients help the skin look firm and plump with the visible signs of aging reduced. Eminence Organics Lead Skin Care Trainer Natalie Pergar tells us: “We formulated the Vitamin C concentration to the optimal amount to be non-irritating and still provide powerful antioxidant benefits.”
We hope we answered all your questions and gave you a few products to use in the comfort of your home. When you’re ready for a professional’s touch, book a facial with one of our Skin Experts at our New York City Facial Spa.