Why does skin age

Collagen is a natural type of protein which makes up over 80% of a person’s skin. It is one of three major components of skin, the other two being elastin and glycosaminoglycans.

As a baby, our skin is plump, firm, smooth and rosy in colour – thanks to all of that collagen in our dermis.
As we age our collagen production begins a long, unyielding decline – right around the time those first fine lines and wrinkles appear on our face.
After the age of 20, one percent less of collagen is produced in the dermis each year. The collagen and elastin fibres become thicker, more clumped, and looser, resulting in inelastic and brittle skin and eventually in wrinkling and sagging. In our twenties, the skin’s exfoliation process decreases by 28% as well, causing dead skin cells to accumulate and stick together for longer periods of time.
After age 30, our collagen level drops 1%-2% every year. The transfer of moisture from the dermis to the epidermis is slowed and fat cells start to shrink. These effects make the skin look dull and thin.

By age 40, we have lost 10%-20% of our collagen. During this age collagen production ceases. The collagen and elastin fibres break, thicken, stiffen, clump together, and lose their elasticity. This results in wrinkles and ageing lines.

Finally, in our fifties, the skin becomes dry and is easily bruised, damaged, or broken because the sebaceous (oil) glands have decreased in size

Men have a very gradual decline in testosterone (also a collagen supporter) as their gonads do not have a programmed retirement; this helps them maintain their bone density, muscle strength, even experiencing less wrinkling compare to same-aged women for whom Mother Nature has relieved reproductive duty. It’s an unfair advantage, and it can put women out of sync with men… a potential problem on many levels.

What can be done?

  • Avoid collagen killers: Smoking, too much sun, diabetes, poor nutrition, stress (from excess cortisol), and poor hydration.
    Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oils and flax seed oils) are excellent “lubricators” of joints (to help with flexibility), improve dry eye, and a host of other metabolic and mood elevating properties.
  • Vitamin D: (at least 1000 IU a day) now being thought of as a hormone as it has so many varied effects on body systems, can contribute to a healthy, flexible, bone matrix…and has positive effects on the skin as well.
  • Using Sunscreen: Prevention is the key to minimizing wrinkles. An SPF of at least 35 is necessary for sun protection against UVA and UVB. After the age of 25, it is recommended to us an anti-ageing cream. Chemical peels and non-invasive lasers can build collagen and improve the skin’s appearance too.
  • Calcium: 1000mg prior to, and 1500 mg a day, after menopause through diet or supplements; best spread out through the day, as the body cannot absorb more than 500 to 600mg at once.
  • Vitamin C: 400mg day can help support healthy collagen.
  • Exercise: Muscle development can stimulate new growth of collagen and prevent atrophy, or loss of muscle mass that can contribute to sagging tissues and declining bone density.


    Dr Spiegel
    Renew Alliance

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