There’s a lot of confusion and misinformation around collagen and the use of supplements. This blog post is the second installation of a three-part series in which we explain the basic fundamentals and clear up some common misconceptions about this important protein. If you have specific questions about collagen, or any other skin health question, please submit them to us (click here) and we will try to answer them in a future blog post.
To read Part 1, please click here.
And now to continue:
Are there Collagen Boosting Treatments?
I’m glad you asked! YES! There are many in-office treatments that really do boost your collagen, all with varying degrees of downtime and discomfort. These treatments work because they provide a stimulus for collagen formation.
Let’s start with PRP, short for Platelet Rich Plasma.
Also known as the “Vampire Facial”, PRP is a treatment using your own blood, hence the nickname. A certified Nurse or Doctor takes a vial or two of your blood, depending which area is to be treated, and this vial then gets spun in a small centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the PRP. PRP is what we’re interested in harvesting because this is the component of blood that stimulates repair and regeneration of tissues. The PRP is then injected back into your skin, using either an injecting device or manually. This treatment stimulates collagen production, improves moisture retention and enhances skin tone and texture, resulting in fewer wrinkles and tighter and firmer skin overtime. There is very little to no downtime associated with this treatment, although small localized bruising is possible. All skin types can benefit from this treatment. However, cancer patients, people with bleeding disorders, those who are on blood thinners, have low white blood cell counts or have bad veins are not candidates for this treatment.
Next, let’s take a look at Collagen Induction Therapy.
Also known as micro needling, Collagen Induction Therapy uses tiny needles to puncture your skin to stimulate your own collagen production. It is based on the same premise as PRP, but without the need for a blood draw. Collagen Induction Therapy creates micro injuries to the skin, and your internal PRP rushes to the injury and promotes healing and collagen production. So instead of injecting your harvested PRP into your skin, this treatment simply draws PRP to the targeted area.
There are different methods of micro needling, from a device similar to a pen that glides across your skin while the needles oscillate creating thousands of micro punctures at controlled depths, to a larger handheld device that uses a gentle stamping motion and the retractable needles conduct radio frequency waves creating heat below the surface of your skin. Both forms of micro needling are very effective but can be more painful as compared to PRP injections and can require the application of numbing creams prior to treatment. The immediate results of a micro needling treatment yield a very smooth, taught skin surface with mild to moderate redness that feels like a sunburn that should last no longer than a few days. For the first 24-48 hours after treatment, you must be very careful to avoid rubbing, scratching, and exposing your skin to sun, dust, pollution or any harsh cleansers or creams. The treated skin must be protected, otherwise a chance of infection or granulomas (bumps under the skin) can form. Like PRP, micro needling is, approved for all skin types, but not recommended for people who are pregnant, have certain skin diseases such as psoriasis or eczema, have open wounds in the area to be treated, who have recently had radiation therapy, have a history of scarring, or are prone to hyperpigmentation.
Now, you may be wondering… do all collagen boosting treatments use needles? What happens if I hate, or am afraid of needles? Well, you are in luck – there is an alternative! Light therapy, specifically IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light, is another great option – and no needles required.
Stay tuned for Part 3!