These days, everyone is searching for the elusive Fountain of Youth. But dermatologists know what the real secret to youthful skin is-- collagen! Collagen is one of the main proteins that makes up the connective tissue in our bodies. It's found in our cartilage, bones, tendons, ligaments, and SKIN! Collagen is what makes skin look smooth, tight, and healthy. But over time, collagen starts to degrade. And environmental factors like too much sun exposure, an unhealthy diet, smoking, and pollution all contribute to its demise. So what can be done to stimulate collagen? Turns out, quite a bit. At Premier Dermatology, MD, Dr. Bilu Martin uses a variety of procedures to amp up production of this precious protein.
Dr. Bilu Martin loves her Cynosure Icon non-ablative fractional laser, which uses a 1540 wavelength to create tiny controlled zones of thermal damage. The surrounding normal skin sends in fibroblasts, which create collagen to repair the tissue. The result? Improvement of fine lines, texture, acne scars, and surgical scars. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) can be applied while channels in the skin are open and injected into the skin after the laser. PRP contains growth factors to further stimulate collagen. Laser treatments are recommended 4-6 weeks apart and have minimal downtime.
SkinPen microneedling is an amazing treatment done by Dr. Bilu Martin. Social media calls this procedure "the Vampire Facial." Small needles enter in and out of the skin very quickly to create microchannels that foster collagen production. The depth of the needles can be adjusted according to what is being treated. Acne scarring or deep lines will require more depth. This treatment can be done with or without PRP, although adding the PRP results in a more effective treatment. Treatments can be performed every 4-6 weeks and have minimal downtime.
Aquagold microneedling is another fantastic treatment performed at Premier Dermatology, MD to stimulate collagen. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) and neurotoxin (Botox, Dysport, and Jeuveau) are put in the Aquagold and Dr. Bilu Martin microneedles on the face, neck, and chest. The 24 karat microneedles penetrate the skin, depositing PRP and microdoses of toxin. PRP can also be injected afterwards. Immediately post procedure, the skin looks taut and glow-y. One week later, when the toxin kicks in, pores appear smaller and skin looks fresh. Treatments can be performed every 4-6 weeks and have minimal downtime.
Sculptra is a biostimulatory injectable made of poly-L-lactic acid. Dr. Bilu Martin injects Sculptra in the temples, cheeks, jawline, and chest. 1-2 vials are injected 6-8 weeks apart in 2-3 sessions. Unlike hyaluronic acids that fill and lift with immediate results, the visible effects of Sculptra take time because it stimulates the body to create collagen in the areas injected. This is an especially great option for the wrinkles in the decolletage (often in combination with laser treatments).
Finally, the right skincare is essential. UV rays from the sun degrade collagen, causing sun exposed skin to appear dull and wrinkled. A broad spectrum sunblock that blocks both UVA and UVB rays should contain ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Applying enough and frequently are key. A retinol cream at night helps to lighten sun spots, increase cell turnover, and stimulate collagen. Ask us about it at pdmd.
Ultimately, the battle to keep and stimulate collagen is an everyday one. Luckily, we have a variety of treatments available to keep skin looking healthy and youthful!