How to stop skin from aging: using collagen effectively

Beauty Corner: Bring Back Smooth, Beautiful Skin

I wouldn't want to be 18 again, but I do love looking younger than I am. Unfortunately, for many women, the face is the earliest indicator of the aging process and can show whether your skin care program is or is not working to your best advantage.

Why Skin Ages

Stretched across the collagen scaffolding that supports your skin are cells called fibroblasts, which have two jobs:

They produce collagen to keep the skin nicely plumped and supported, and they produce enzymes that break collagen down. In youth, these two processes are perfectly balanced by the skin's elasticity, which keeps the fibroblasts stretched across the scaffolding. That stretch is necessary to stimulate fibroblasts to maintain their optimal collagen output.

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As the skin becomes less elastic with age and gravity, that important stretch diminishes. The fibroblasts respond with decreased collagen output, while their destructive enzyme output remains unchanged. Collagen breakdown starts overtaking collagen replacement, and the skin's scaffolding begins to collapse. In addition to visible skin thinning, this results in the development of creases and wrinkles.

Because of the imbalance between collagen production and break-down, once this process starts, it gathers speed.

Thankfully, research has unearthed new therapies that can revive sleeping fibroblasts at the molecular level and get them producing new, unfragmented collagen again for a dramatic improvement in the health and appearance of aging skin.

However, it's important to understand that skin aging isn't just a matter of years; it's years plus sun. The more sun exposure your skin accumulates, and the paler your skin naturally is, the more it will age.

That's because the collapsing of the scaffold and the fracture of elastin fibers in the skin both contribute to the loss of stretch, and both accelerate with UV irradiation. And I don't just mean sunburn.

In studies of fibroblast activity, moderate sun exposure that leads to just a mild pinking-up of the skin causes destructive enzyme levels to increase by more than 100-fold (Nature Magazine), while collagen production decreases by about 80 percent (New England Journal of Medicine). No matter how high-tech your skin care program, if you don't protect your skin from the sun, it's all for naught.

Does laser resurfacing really work to fight aging skin?

Cosmetic surgeons inject "fillers" into the folds created by the collapsing collagen scaffold. They try to slow the deepening of those folds by paralyzing facial muscles with Botox. They claim that, to be effective, laser "resurfacing" of the face has to be damaging enough to set a serious inflammatory fire under the collapsing scaffold, forcing fibroblasts to flood the dermis with their collagen-melting enzymes.

These procedures are expensive and painful. I'd rather work gently with, rather than aggressively and painfully against, the skin's built-in rejuvenation system.

The good news is that the fibroblasts in aging skin are almost fully functional, no matter how much sun they've seen and no matter how old they are.

In laboratory comparisons of collagen-producing capabilities, fibroblasts from severely sun-damaged, 80-year-old skin produce almost as much collagen as those cultured from sun-protected skin that's younger than 30 years ( Journal of Investigative Dermatology; American Journal of Pathology).

Three serious options we can turn to from nature

The difference is that they're no longer being stretched, so they've shut down—but they're not dead. The key is to turn them back on.

Here are the latest, greatest, noninvasive ways to do that—without pain, huge expense, or having to hide in a cave until you heal from the therapy. They don't work overnight, but within about six weeks, the results are pretty exciting.

1. Be Generous with Collagen.

It takes more than moisturizers to renew aging skin. It takes collagen. Studies show that the topical use of marine collagen can cause immediate firmness and hydration of the skin.

It can also create a significant increase in overall thickness, thanks to increased fibroblast activity and increased antioxidant protection

The key is concentrated collagen that's formulated for optimal absorption, which you can find in a product called Amandeen Wild Caught Marine collagen.  It is from 100% wild-caught fish from the pristine deep waters of the North Atlantic. Also I like that it is Non-GMO, contains no gluten, wheat, corn, eggs, dairy, soy, or yeast and has been tested for purity and packaged in the USA.

2. Bring back the stretch.

Twice a day, gently work half a teaspoon of pure jojoba oil or Squalane into the tissues of your face with a lifting, circular, fingertip mini-massage to stretch and stimulate "comatose" fibroblasts introducing collagen on their own again.

3. Rave about red light.

Red light therapy improves blood flow and the thickness, tone, elasticity, and smoothness of facial and neck skin through stimulation of fibroblasts, which increase collagen output

Infrared/laser light therapy devices have been shown to stimulate the repair of the collapsing collagen scaffold by helping to remove broken-down collagen debris and increase collagen production

I recommend a handheld device called Baby Quasar available at fine beauty shops and also on Amazon. The patented technology bathes the skin in near infrared light.

Clinical studies have also demonstrated improvements in skin tone and clarity.

That's all for today.

Until next time, love and blessings,

Dr Susan 

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About the Author

Best selling author and national speaker Dr. Susan has sold over 2 million books on health & wellness. She has appeared on numerous national and regional radio and television shows and has been featured in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. She has Served on the clinical faculty of Stanford University School of Medicine and taught in their Division of Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Richards became an ordained Christian minister in 2009 and, within a year, she began doing hospital ministry in the ICU's, critical care and rehabilitation units in the San Francisco area community three times a week. Her ministry is based on the supernatural healing power of God and Jesus Christ and she has seen many miraculous healings of seriously ill patients. The ministry receives over 20,000 prayer requests for healing each week which are answered by their faithful and devoted prayer team. She is currently developing the first Medical and Health Ministry Training Program of Supernatural Healing in the United States. Her medical ministry is at