Dr. Kirby's Blog

Can Exercise Boost Collagen Production?

Woman Running as Exercise to Boost Collagen ProductionFrom burning fat and building muscle to improving mood and reducing stress, most of the benefits of exercise are well-known. But, if you need yet another reason to hit the gym, research suggests that exercise can boost collagen levels, helping you tone not only your muscles but also your skin.

What is collagen and how does it support the skin?

Collagen is a naturally occurring protein responsible for supporting our skin’s structure, keeping skin firm, supple, and elastic. But while our bodies naturally produce collagen, these reserves start to decrease by 1-2% per year beginning in our twenties, causing our skin to lose volume and elasticity.

In addition to collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid are also key molecules naturally found in the skin. Elastin helps skin stay tight yet pliable, allowing it to “bounce back” after being stretched; hyaluronic acid provides volume and keeps skin hydrated.

Can exercise boost collagen levels?

While collagen is produced in the body by consuming amino acids found in certain foods, it can be increased through physical exercise—this is remarkable, considering it is very hard to naturally restore collagen after it has been depleted

There are a few ways that exercise can boost collagen levels:

  • Exercise delivers nutrients, like vitamins and oxygen, to skin cells, helping them repair and multiply. Specifically, these nutrients feed the fibroblast cells in your skin that produce collagen.

Exercise nourishes the fibroblast cells in your skin that produce collagen.

  • Exercise reduces stress, which prevents skin damage and aging. Stress decreases collagen and hyaluronic acid production and causes existing collagen fibers to break down. Exercise decreases stress, which increases oxytocin and lowers cortisol—key hormones that affect skin aging. The result is fewer wrinkles, tighter skin, and less acne.
  • Exercise—specifically heavy lifting—releases a growth hormone produced by the pituitary gland, which stimulates your fibroblast cells, resulting in collagen production.

So, whether you are lifting weights or sweating it out on a run, you can reap the collagen-stimulating benefits of exercise.

Are there any other ways to increase collagen?

While exercise is a natural way to increase collagen production in our bodies, it can take quite a bit of time and effort to see this specific benefit reflected in our skin. For quicker, more substantial results, non-surgical cosmetic treatments can be used to directly target areas of concern by increasing collagen, elastin, and other age-defying molecules:

  • SkinPen® microneedling is also referred to as collagen induction therapy for good reason: by creating a series of microscopic openings along your skin’s surface, SkinPen microneedling triggers your body to increase the production of collagen and elastin, gradually thickening and smoothing your skin. This beloved treatment can also improve the appearance of acne scars, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation.

SkinPen microneedling triggers collagen and elastin production, gradually thickening and smoothing your skin.

  • Laser skin resurfacing improves the appearance of skin in two ways: 1) it removes old, dead skin cells and 2) stimulates collagen production below the surface of the skin, prompting the body to create healthy, new skin cells. At Kalos Medical Spa at Kirby Plastic Surgery, we prefer to use the AcuPulse™ CO₂ laser by Lumenis because it delivers beautiful results without the invasiveness and associated downtime of other ablative lasers.
  • Ultherapy® is a non-surgical treatment that delivers ultrasound energy directly to sagging tissues. Ultrasound energy has been shown to bypass the skin’s surface and stimulate collagen synthesis in its deepest layers, providing support for your body’s largest organ from the inside out.
  • Dermal fillers are gel-like substances that are injected under the skin to lift tissues, improve static lines and wrinkles, and restore lost volume. At Kalos, we offer Juvéderm®, Restylane®, Sculptra​​®, and the Revance® collection of RHA fillers. While Juvéderm, Restylane, and RHA fillers utilize hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring molecule that helps keep our skin looking plump, hydrated, and youthful, Sculptra relies on poly-L-lactic acid to replace lost collagen and reinforce skin’s structure.
  • Medical-grade skincare products use quality ingredients like collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid to firm the skin, improve its elasticity, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Medical-grade skincare products often contain alpha-hydroxy acids, peptides, and retinol, which can all encourage collagen formation. Unlike OTC brands, physician-only skincare products contain superior ingredients in more effective concentrations, wrapped in superior packaging to preserve the delicate ingredients.

Improve your glow effortlessly at Fort Worth’s Kirby Plastic Surgery

Kirby Plastic Surgery is home to Kalos Medical Spa, a premier Fort Worth medical spa owned and operated by Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Emily J. Kirby. At Kalos, our licensed aestheticians offer the above cosmetic treatments and products under Dr. Kirby’s direction, helping their patients achieve smoother, tighter, more youthful-looking skin. While microneedling, ultherapy, and fillers are not a substitute for physical exercise, they can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Contact us online or call (817) 292-4200 to schedule your skincare consultation with Dr. Kirby.

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