Frequently Asked Question's 

Collagen! Why do you need it? Are there different types I should know about?

Collagen is the main protein that gives strength and structure to the connective tissues-skin, tendons, bones and cartilage-throughout our bodies. Twenty-eight different types of collagen in total, and each has a different shape and structure. The strength and types of interconnections between collagen fibers within a network determine how long strong or malleable the skin is. Type 1 collagen makes up approximately 70 percent of the dermis, a deep layer of skin that's also rich in collagen type 3, which is the first type of collagen that forms as the skin heals itself from wounds. 

Joshua Zeichner, MD New York Dermatologist 


So, What's my time line?

We lose 1 percent of our collagen per year starting in our late 20's, and then there is a precipitous drop during menopause. In fact, during the first five years of menopause, the skin looses up tp one-third of its total collagen. After that, the decline in collagen stabilizes at around a loss of 2 percent per year, evolving into deeper wrinkles and sagging skin in the form of jowls over time. Whiteney Bowe, MD New York Dermatologist 


Why I am loosing Collagen?

Over time, UV radiation and aging factors cause collagen to become damaged, which is why wearing sunscreen is so critical, and the repair and production of collagen slows down with aging.  Hormones play a role in collagen degradation, too.  As we approach menopause, estrogen levels decrease, which slows the renewal of collagen and accelerates aging.  We can see the prematurely in those who have had their ovaries removed at a younger age, experienced early menopause, or had to take hormone suppression for medical necessity.  Diets also play a role in how we age. High-glycemic diets are high in sugar and refined carbs and can result in the glycation or chemical alteration of proteins in the body and skin, which also leads to damaged collagen.  Smoking is a culprit, too, exposing skin to free radicals that damage cells and collagen fibrils, accelerating collagen breakdown.  It can be seen in those who have smoked for many years-their skin tends to show signs of this unhealthy habit.

Kally Papantoniou, MD Melville, NY Dermatologist  


Is there anything I can do to save the collagen I already have? Do I need a good moisturizer?

"Skin hydration is important to maintain a healthy skin barrier. Our skin barrier functions to keep moisture in and protect against free radicals and infection. An impaired skin barrier can lead to inflammation, which may cause an increase in matrix metalloproteinases that break down collagen.  But, the biggest extrinsic factor that leads to collagen breakdown is still UV exposure from the sun that causes about 80% of the damage."

Kathleen Behr, MD Fresno, CA Dermatologist


What if I want to boost collagen? What ingredients do I want to look for in my skin care?

"Cooper peptides, when applied topically, appear to activate a wide range of skin functions, including wound healing, an an anti-inflammatory response, antioxidant immune functions, collagen synthesis, and pro-collagen support.  As copper peptides are small molecules and important in several of our bodily functions, if applied to the skin topically, they can make it look more youthful and refreshed."

WM. Philip Welscher, MD Spokane, WA Dermatologist 


Anything else?

"Collagen itself is far too large a molecule to penetrate human skin, so we have to turn to other ingredients that can put collagen production into overdrive, such a retinol, vitamin C, alphahydroxy acids, peptides and growth factors.  Most anti-aging products on the market today contain a cocktail of these ingredients to provide added benefits."

Patricia K. Farris, MD Metairie, LA Dermatologist


Microneedling was originally known as collagen induction therapy (CIT). How does it work to amp up collagen? 

"Microneedling uses tiny needles to puncture the skin, creating microtrauma.  When this microtrauma occurs, small inflammatory and vascular compounds are released in the dermis, which attracts repair cells to the area. In the process of wound healing, the fibroblasts skin's collagen making cells reactivate and regenerate new collagen in the area. Radio frequency microneedling works even better because of the addition of energy, but both types work to improve fine lines and other surface skin imperfections we can see."

Gilly Munavalli, MD Charlotte, NC Dermatologist 


Why is the Plasma Pen treatment ground breaking for my skin and body?

Over time, the structure of our skin breaks down and the scaffolding elements (the deeper layers) that once supported the surface of the skin no longer do. This means that we develop sagging and wrinkling as art of a slow degenerative process. Plasma treatment for the face and body uses plasma gas to create micro trauma to the upper and deeper layers of the skin, resulting in improved collagen production and renewed appearance to the skin. This treatment is well known for Skin tightening procedures around the face and body, Acne scar treatment and smoothing. It has very remarkable results. 


How does seeing an Esthetician save you money?

Going to a Medical Esthetician can help save you money on purchasing products and skin care services that don’t work or are not right for your skin. Over-the-counter products won’t reverse aging, Correct skin issues or change the way the skin acts as the ingredients that might help aren’t strong enough within the product. On the other hand, advanced medical treatments, cosmeceutical products and proper skin care products address live tissue and will therefore give; lasting, visible changes to the skin. If you combine treatments from an expert medical skin therapist with a customized home-care routine using effective products, you can make positive, lasting changes to your skin. 


Why is it important to choose a good medical esthetician?

All estheticians should have a solid education focused on the skin, product knowledge and sanitation procedures. Although it is important to know the basics first, an advanced education will set an esthetician apart from those who are limited by only knowing the fundamentals. The medical esthetician must be trained on the legalities of working in a medical office, as well as advanced techniques, medical procedures and strict medical guidelines. 


First things first, why retinol?

Good question! Glad you asked. Retinol is a topical derivative of vitamin A that promotes skin cell turnover and enhances collagen production. You can find it in a variety of skincare products—from creams to serums to oils—and in a variety of potencies (from .25-percent concentration to 2-percent). Don’t confuse it with the faster-acting stuff that requires a prescription. That’s pure retinoic acid—Retin-A, Renova—to name a few brands. Retinoic acid is retinol’s bigger sister that works more effectively, however it’s coupled with more potential side effects like flaky skin and redness.


What makes it better than say...salicylic acid or vitamin C?

"All three are amazing ingredients, but retinol is one of my favorite ingredients because it works deep below the skin at the cellular level to encourage turnover and reveal fresh, bright skin," Unlike salicylic acid and vitamin C—which work by sloughing off the dead cells that otherwise build up—retinol promotes healing and cellular repair on a more detail-oriented, microscopic scale. Like scrubbing a room with a toothbrush versus a Swiffer—both get the job done, although one more precisely so than the other. It’s a true multi-tasker and has so many amazing benefits. It boosts collagen in the skin, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, smoothes the texture of the skin, reduces pigmentation, and it can also help with acne. But it’s not an exfoliant! It is often mistaken for one because it helps speed up the rate that new skin comes to the surface.


How do I get started?

Because using a retinol at night is best, Bethany recommends that you "Start with one night a week and build up slowly, tacking on an additional night each subsequent week. It’s important to build up to whatever works best for your skin. Some are able to use it every single night. Others, like people with sensitive skin, may only be able to use it every other night or even less."


What other beauty products can I pair my retinol with?

"Lactic acid pairs really well with retinol!  On nights when I use retinol, I might also follow up with a hyaluronic acid serum and then a moisturizer if I need it. That’s it!"


On the other hand...what should retinol not be mixed with?

"Generally, I feel it is best to not layer too many products at once, whether you are using a retinol or not. It can reduce how well the products work in general. It may also cause chemical burns. Avoid chemical peels while using retinol, unless you have consulted with an esthetician or doctor first."


What's the best way to start using retinol to avoid the "uglies" (potential side effects like dermatitis, rashes, bumps, etc.)?

"The best way to mitigate the side effects is by building up slowly to allow your skin time to acclimate. Always wear sunscreen in the daytime, as retinol makes your skin more sensitive to the sun.


Once I'm on retinol, can I ever stop? Will it fix my skin like Accutane?

"There are no side effects to simply stopping, so you can stop anytime you like. However, retinol does slow down the aging process. It will make a big difference for your skin, but you have to keep using it regularly for the long-term benefits. You know I’ll be using retinol for the rest of my life!"


Lastly, how can I maximize the results?

"Long term use of retinol is the best way to maximize the results. It takes about six to eight weeks for your skin to turn over. Retinol will speed up the process of cellular turnover, but it is still going to take multiple weeks to see results."