Building Collagen and Elastin: How to Keep Your Skin Tight and Springy

by Kate Dee, MD

Here’s the most important thing I have to share with you: keep your fibroblasts awake!

OK, what do I mean? By the time you turn 30, the cells in your skin that make collagen and elastin go dormant. Collagen and Elastin are what keep your skin thick and springy-- and resistant to gravity. And the fibroblasts that make them-- they fall asleep and STOP making it. By age 30! And your body breaks down collagen 1-2% per year. So, for the rest of your adult life, the skin is thinning out. Often, by age 80, the skin is completely see-through. That’s because the dermis is gone.

This is why we suddenly notice in our late 30’s or early 40’s that our skin just does not look the same. It almost feels like it happened overnight. But in fact, by that time, it has been going on for a decade or more. You just don’t notice in the beginning because when you’ve only lost a few percent, it is hard to detect.

This is why it is so important-- to Keep Your Fibroblasts Awake! This is totally possible. There are several easy treatments that poke at your fibroblasts and wake them up and stimulate collagen. Each time the fibroblasts respond with 4-6 months of collagen, and then they peter out. So the idea is to poke at them every 3-4 months to keep them awake and productive all year. You must at least make up for the 1-2% loss. That will preserve the thick, springy skin you already have. If your skin is already thin and starting to fall, you need more powerful treatments to thicken and tighten the skin. These treatments range in cost, benefits and downtime.

Microneedling with Growth Factor Serum or PRP

  • Multiple channels are created into the dermis with tiny needles, and growth factors stimulate fibroblast activity to make collagen
  • Benefits: Decreases fine lines and pore size, decreases acne
  • Downtime: 1-2 days of redness
  • Cost: $

LaseMD Fractional Laser

  • Fractional non-ablative laser resurfaces the skin and heats the dermis to stimulate collagen
  • Benefits: Decreases fine lines, wrinkles and pores, decreases pigment/sun spots
  • Downtime: 1-2 days of redness, 1 day of mild swelling, 3-7 days of sandpaper skin (not visible)
  • Cost: $$

Exilis Ultra

  • RF and Ultrasound combine to heat the dermis and stimulate collagen and elastin
  • Benefits: Thickens and tightens skin, decreases wrinkles and sagging skin
  • Downtime: none
  • Cost: $$

Infini

  • Combines insulated microneedles and RF to cause coagulation and massive collagen remodeling of the dermis, also stimulates elastin production
  • Benefits: Most powerful tool to thicken and tighten skin, decreases wrinkles and sagginess, reverses acne scarring
  • Downtime: 1-2 days of swelling, 3-5 days of redness
  • Cost: $$$
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