QUESTION: I was wondering how collagen production changes with age, or do it simply stop being produced after like age 30? I want to avoid losing the collagen in my face so I don't look like skelator.

ANSWER: Collagen loss is far from the only cause of wrinkles. With age also comes decreased fat under the skin, loss of moisture, and the accumulation of years of ultraviolet light exposure from the sun. However, maintaining your levels of collagen can help keep your skin and bones healthy and strong. The most important step you can take in this regard is to ensure you get adequate levels of vitamin C in your diet. In addition, moisturizing your skin regularly helps keep the collagen already present intact. Taking care of your collagen provides benefits for your appearance and overall health.

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QUESTION: Numerically how does collagen replenishment change between say age 20 and age 30? I'd be curious to know what the typical decline looks like in numbers.

There are no good studies in this age group. However, These past findings are also consistent with the direct measurements of type I procollagen in young and old skin presented here (ie, 68% reduction in old versus young skin; . If the number of fibroblasts in skin from 80+-year-old individuals is reduced by approximately 35% relative to the number in skin of 18- to 29-year-old individuals as indicated by morphometric analysis15 and if type I procollagen synthesis is reduced by an average of 30% in fibroblasts from old skin as indicated in the present study, then it is reasonable to suggest that age-dependent differences in fibroblast biosynthetic activity account for approximately 45% of the total decrease.
Sun Damage and the Face
If skin is protected from the sun's damaging rays, it is very hard to distinguish 20 year old skin from 30 or 40 year old skin. The problem with facial skin is that it is the skin most often exposed to the sun. As our face receives more and more sun damage, our facial skin begins to show all the signs of aging. We begin seeing brown spotting, spider veins, sagging skin, enlarged pores and fines lines & wrinkles. As the sun damages our facial skin the collagen, which makes up over 80% of our healthy facial skin, begins to degrade and look old and less healthy. There is also the risk of skin cancer, the most dangerous effect of sun damage.
Normally adult skin is 80% (dry weight) collagen and 4% elastic fibers. In sun damaged skin the normal fibers get replaced with clumps of abnormal elastic tissue which does not function properly, limiting the skin's ability to stretch and recoil. It fills up the skin, takes the place of the normal structures, resulting in wrinkling and sagging.

Sagging Skin
One of the problems with sagging skin on the face is that it allows the fat pads under our eyes to protrude and cause puffiness or bags under the eyes. People with allergies also get a lot more congestion of the veins called 'allergic shiners' making us look tired.
Treatment is Available
There are a wide variety of treatment options available today to help induce collagen creation in our face. From laser treatment to dermal fillers, chemical peels to microdermabrasion, modern science has developed techniques to fight back the signs of aging. Each method has its own merits and varies in terms of its effectiveness.
Consult with an Experienced Physician
Consulting with a doctor to discuss your aging skin is ideal. They are the ones most qualified to explain the latest technologies available to treat aging skin and can look over your condition to see what will bring the best results.


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Michael S. Fisher, <B>Ph.D., M.D.</B>


published over 50 articles on the subject.

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