Collagen is the most plentiful protein in the human body. It plays a role in a number of important processes, but the one most talked about is providing structure to your skin. As you age, your body produces collagen of reduced quality, often resulting in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. If you’re dissatisfied with the effects of aging on your face, they can be addressed with Ultherapy at Peachtree Dermatology in Atlanta, GA.
What Is Collagen?
As the most common protein found in the human body, collagen accounts for about one-third of its total protein composition. It’s a major building block of your bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It also makes an appearance in other body parts, such as blood vessels, the corneas of your eyes, and even in your teeth!
In a nutshell, collagen can be viewed as the glue that holds these tissues together. The word collagen is even derived from the Greek word for glue: kólla.
What Does Collagen Do in Your Body?
Researchers have identified at least sixteen different types of collagen found in the human body. The four most common variations are types I, II, III, and IV.
Type I Collagen
Most of the collagen in your body is of the Type I variety. As a matter of fact, this particular type of collagen makes up about 90% of the total collagen in your body. It’s made of densely packed fibers and provides structure to your skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissues, and teeth.
Type II Collagen
This type of collagen is found in the parts of your body where cartilage needs to be more elastic, such as the cushioning of joints. Type II collagen is comprised of more loosely packed fibers and, therefore, generally doesn’t appear in areas where a stiffer, more rigid structure is necessary.
Type III Collagen
Type III collagen is used to support the structure of your muscles, organs, and arteries.
Type IV Collagen
Type IV collagen works a little differently than the preceding types. Its primary role is in filtration, and it can be found in various layers of your skin.
As you can see, collagen plays a critical role in maintaining the shape and contour of the various structures and tissues in your body. Unfortunately, as the body ages, the amount and quality of the collagen it produces goes down, leading to many of the visible effects of aging, such as wrinkles, sagging skin, loose skin, etc.
Can Your Diet Influence Healthy Collagen Generation?
As the old adage goes, “you are what you eat,” and when it comes to collagen production, that couldn’t be truer. All the collagen in your body begins as a substance known as procollagen. Your body creates procollagen by utilizing vitamin C to combine the amino acids glycine and proline. Eating certain foods can help ensure your body has enough of the building blocks necessary to produce strong collagen.
Proline and Glycine
Both of these amino acids are necessary for your body to create the collagen precursor procollagen. Proline can be obtained in large amounts when you eat egg whites, wheat germ, dairy, cabbage, asparagus, and mushrooms. Glycine is found in pork skin, chicken skin, gelatin, and in many other protein-containing foods.
Like proline and glycine, vitamin C is essential in creating healthy amounts of procollagen. It can be commonly found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, and strawberries among many other fresh fruits and vegetables.
Other Amino Acids
Proline and glycine are necessary to create procollagen, but your body needs other amino acids to be able to make new proteins used in your body’s tissues. You can get the amino acids you need from meats, legumes, tofu, seafood, and poultry.
What Damages Collagen?
While a healthy diet can help ensure your body has the nutrients it needs to produce the healthiest collagen it can, there are certain foods, as well as environmental factors and lifestyle choices, that can have the opposite effect.
Avoid Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates
Sugar, whether the sweet kind or not, interferes with collagen’s ability to repair itself. Over time, eating too many refined carbohydrates (sweets, white rice, white bread, potatoes, etc.) can have negative effects on your skin because the collagen that holds it in place is unable to repair itself and keep itself healthy.
Avoid Sun Exposure
The sun is the #1 source of premature aging among the vast majority of the population. Too much UV radiation can reduce collagen production and lead to the appearance of aging well before your genetics dictates that it should. Be careful with prolonged exposure to the sun and always wear sunscreen–even on cloudy days.
Quitting is tough, there’s no getting around that, but doing so will benefit your body inside and out. Aside from the damage smoking does internally, it also reduces collagen production in your skin, causing wounds to heal slower and wrinkles to form sooner.
Repairing Your Skin With Ultherapy
Implementing the lifestyle and dietary changes listed above can help your body produce stronger, healthier collagen. However, for faster, more significant results, you can turn back the clock on the effects of aging with Ultherapy treatments.
What Is Ultherapy?
This is the only FDA-approved, non-invasive treatment for lifting the skin on your neck, chin, and brow and diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the décolletage. It uses micro-focused ultrasound to lift and tighten loose skin over time.
How Does It Work?
Researchers have found that the best way to get your body to produce more collagen isn’t by lifestyle alone. Instead, it is by subjecting your skin to a minuscule amount of damage in a focused area. The process shocks your body into producing stronger, healthier collagen to repair the “damage” done by the treatment.
The treatment utilizes ultrasound technology to send energy pulses, which penetrate about 4mm below the surface of your skin. The energy bypasses the top layers, doing no damage and leaving no marks. The target of the treatment is the collagen deep in the foundational layers of your skin. It is here that the type I collagen responsible for your skin’s tone and elasticity is located.
Tricking Your Body into Neocollagenesis
When ultrasound energy hits the deeper layers of your skin, it jump-starts the process of Neocollagenesis, that is, the process by which your body makes new collagen. The process continues for weeks after treatment, and after a few months, you’ll notice a significant improvement and lifting of your skin.
Treatment delivers ultrasound energy in such a way that it tricks your body into regenerating more collagen than is actually needed to replace what is damaged. Collagen generally takes between four and ten weeks to fully grow, and when stimulated via Ultherapy, the process can be extended by between three and six months.
How Is It Different From Other Cosmetic Options?
This treatment targets tissue deep below the skin, which is an area generally only reachable with cosmetic surgery. It also provides ultrasound imaging, allowing a medical professional to actually see the layers of tissue being targeted during treatment, and ensuring that it’s being delivered to the area where it will be most effective.
Unlike other cosmetic options, Ultherapy is completely non-invasive and does not require any downtime at all. You will not have to stay home from work or school or refrain from any activities that you normally enjoy on a daily basis.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Treatment?
Thia treatment can be beneficial for anyone who is experiencing a degree of skin laxity and dissatisfaction with the effects of aging. The best time to undergo treatment, though, is when your skin is “relaxed” to the point where it looks less firm. Some of the first signs of aging that you’ll notice are a lowered eyebrow line, sagging skin on your neck, or jowls.
Generally speaking, individuals in their 30s or older who are experiencing mild-to-moderate skin laxity make the best candidates for treatment. It’s also highly beneficial for those looking to undergo treatment early on in an effort to stave off the effects of aging for as long as possible.
What If You Have Significant Sagging?
For patients who are experiencing significant amounts of loose, sagging skin, the treatment alone may not be enough, depending on the results you’re looking to achieve. If that’s the case, our office provides a variety of services designed to help you meet your goal of a youthful, rejuvenated appearance.
What Results Can You Expect?
This treatment effectively addresses mild to moderate loose or sagging skin. It does so by renewing and reconditioning existing collagen in the deeper layers of your skin. It can lift your brow, reducing excess skin over your eyelids and resulting in more “open” eyes. It can also tighten the loose skin around your neck and jowls, leading to a rejuvenated, more youthful appearance.
How Long Does It Take to See Results?
Patients will sometimes notice some initial effect shortly after undergoing treatment, but the majority of the lifting effect will take time to appear as your body rebuilds the collagen beneath your skin. As the collagen rebuilding process continues over the ensuing two to three months, you’ll begin to notice a much more striking improvement.
As mentioned, it takes time for your body to naturally rebuild and repair itself. As a result, you may continue to notice improvements in your skin for up to six months following your treatment.
How Long Will Results Last?
You will have fresh, young collagen in your skin a year after undergoing treatment. The ability of the treatment to turn back the clock on aging is not in question. What it cannot do, though, is stop the aging process altogether. There are no treatments that can do that (yet).
That being said, your skin will continue to age from the newer, younger-looking shape that it is in after treatment. Touch-ups in the future can be beneficial, but the frequency with which they should be undergone will vary from patient-to-patient.
Can This Treatment Replace a Facelift?
Ultherapy is considered an “uplift” because it works to reduce loose, sagging skin. However, an “uplift” is not the same thing as a “facelift.” The latter is a surgical procedure designed to address the severe effects of aging.
This treatment is an excellent option for patients who are either not ready for a full facelift or who are looking to prolong the results of other cosmetic surgeries.
Can It Treat Other Areas of the Body?
Much of the previous research regarding the effectiveness of treatment was done on the face. However, recent clinical research suggests that the treatment can be effective in tightening skin in other areas of your body, too, such as the chest, abdomen, underarms, and knees.
If you have issues with loose, sagging skin in these areas, speak with your provider about treatment. It’s possible the treatment could be a good approach to addressing these areas.
How Is This Different From Lasers?
Lasers are often used to address the signs of aging that exist in the uppermost layers of skin. They’re adept at treating fine lines and wrinkles as well as issues with coloration. The way Ultherapy works is a bit different. It doesn’t address issues on the surface of the skin. Instead, it addresses issues in the deeper layers of the skin and improves your skin’s support structure.
Since both treatments work on different areas of the skin to address similar issues, they can be used in tandem to achieve your cosmetic goals.
Why Choose Us?
The physicians working at our office in Atlanta, GA are some of the most well-respected skincare professionals in the region. We believe that everyone deserves healthy, beautiful skin. The professionals on our team are well-versed in diagnosing and treating medical conditions related to your skin, such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
We’re also experts on treating cosmetic conditions, and if you’re experiencing dissatisfaction with the effects of aging, we can provide you with invaluable advice and treatments that help you achieve the results you want and leave you looking and feeling great.
What Sets Us Apart
What makes us exceptional begins with the unique skills of our board-certified dermatologists and our ability to provide advanced, up-to-date skincare for both cosmetic and medical concerns. At our office, our dermatologists work with each other and our highly qualified physician’s assistants and aesthetic specialists to provide you with a comprehensive skincare plan that far exceeds what you’ll find at other clinics.
Get Healthier Collagen and Healthier Skin
The health of your collagen plays a critical role in the appearance of your skin. Collagen is the scaffolding that lifts your skin and holds it in place. As time goes on, your body is unable to produce collagen in the necessary quantities and quality to keep your skin looking young and healthy. The result of this natural effect of aging can be first noticed in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and later with loose, sagging skin.
Ultherapy is a non-invasive, FDA-approved treatment that can trigger your body into producing large amounts of fresh, new collagen in the deeper layers of your skin. The rejuvenation process results in a “lifting” effect as new collagen is created, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and helping to reverse some of the effects of aging.
If you’re dissatisfied with your skin’s appearance and you think Ultherapy may be right for you, call Peachtree Dermatology in Atlanta, GA today to schedule an appointment and get started.