What if I told you we don’t have to wait until signs of ageing have started to creep in before booking our first anti-ageing treatment? Yep, that’s right - some doctors are pushing a new trend in the beauty world known as collagen banking and it’s all about preserving our youthful looks, rather than trying to reverse wrinkles. So, what is this collagen banking craze, exactly?
Collagen Banking: What It Is and How to Do It
What is collagen?
For the uninitiated, collagen is the MVP for plump, bouncy and firm skin - it’s the key to almost all of our skin goals (no joke). And, as the most abundant protein in our bodies, it has an important role - specifically, it provides the structure and scaffolding in our skin, meaning it helps ward off wrinkles, skin laxity and loads of other things we have to look forward to as the years go by. Sounds like pretty great stuff - and it is. But, unfortunately, our collagen levels plummet as we age.
Even those of us in our twenties aren’t safe from the collagen decline - I know, it’s not fair. From around the age of 25, our bodies stop producing as much collagen as they used to and we start to lose about 1% of it a year. And whilst that might not sound like a lot, each 1% adds up (and then it suddenly feels like a lot!). So, let me introduce you to collagen banking, a new habit in the aesthetics sphere that’s proving popular among younger generations.
What is collagen banking?
Collagen banking falls into the prejuvenation category of non-invasive aesthetic treatments. Put simply, it’s about taking hold of signs of ageing before they’ve even appeared, so it’s like being really ahead of the anti-ageing game. And, although collagen banking is not unanimously backed by all doctors (some aren’t convinced it’s necessary or helpful), those who do support it say it’s got huge benefits for the skin. So, if you’re in your late twenties or thirties, you might want to listen up - this one’s for you.
The aim of collagen banking is to maintain and grow our collagen supply whilst we’re still in our prime collagen-producing years. Why, you ask? Good question. According to some doctors, collagen banking is a sure-fire way of preparing our skin for when our collagen supply inevitably depletes in later years (roughly around the forties). Basically, if we build up a ‘bank’ of collagen while our bodies are still efficient at making it, then it will soften the blow when our natural supply starts to dwindle - and we’ll keep our firm, plump, young-looking skin for longer. It’s a bit like a squirrel saving up their acorns for the winter, but with tons more anti-ageing benefits!
Treatments for collagen banking
So, what sorts of treatments supposedly help us bank our collagen? Basically, any treatment that kickstarts collagen synthesis - makes sense, really - and I’ll talk you through a few here.
Using ultrasound technology, Ultherapy lifts and tightens the skin, particularly in the chin, neck and eyebrow areas. The focused ultrasound energy initiates collagen and elastin production and is a popular choice for collagen banking.
For a trusty collagen-inducing treatment, microneedling is where it’s at. It involves lots of microneedles gently pricking the skin to cause controlled injury which the body responds to by producing growth factors and stimulating collagen.
For an extra collagen boost, RF microneedling uses radiofrequency and collagen induction therapy to really ramp up the results.
LED light therapy
There’s a whole rainbow of LED light therapy colours to choose from to treat lots of different skin concerns but, when we’re talking ageing, it’s all about red. When red LED light is applied to the skin, it not only protects existing collagen, but also encourages the formation of new collagen - yes, please!
In a nutshell, chemical peels increase collagen by causing intentional trauma to the skin with the use of acid solutions which are applied to the face. This triggers the body’s natural healing process and new skin tissue and lots of healthy collagen are produced.
PRP therapy requires taking blood from your body, spinning it around a centrifuge (totally as SCI-FI as it sounds) and then injecting it back into points of the skin to - you guessed it! - skyrocket collagen levels. PRP is sometimes paired with microneedling for an even bigger boost.
There's also plenty you can do with a solid at home skincare routine to really protect your collagen.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps protect the skin against free radical damage. It's also essential for collagen formation.
Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that are clinically proven to stimulate the fibroblasts (collagen-producing cells) in your skin to really ramp up collagen production.
Not forgetting the trusty SPF! UV is one of the main culprits for collagen destruction, even on cloudy days. So regularly applying SPF and avoiding UV are phenomenal anti-ageing, collagen-banking behaviours.
So, what do you think - fancy banking yourself some collagen? Future you will likely thank you for it!