Collagen Banking: What Is It and Why Start in Your 20s?

what is collagen banking

Millennials have been proactive when it comes to staving off obvious signs of aging. A 2018 survey from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that cosmetic surgery or injectables in patients under age 30 had increased 24 percentage points since 2013.

Popular among millennials is “collagen banking” which isn’t exactly what it sounds like. In a HuffPost article, What is Collagen Banking? And Do We Need To Start in Our 20s? Annie Chiu, a cosmetic and general dermatologist in Redondo Beach, California states:

“Using the term ‘banking collagen’ is really just catchy wording to grab attention. The idea is based off of the trend towards ‘prejuvenation’ vs. rejuvenation.”

Collagen-chasing isn’t only something for the middle aged any longer. Due to the mind-blowing advice of a few dermatologists, people in their 20s and early 30s are starting to pay attention to treatments that stimulate collagen production.

What is Collagen Banking?

It’s not actually what it sounds like. Collagen banking isn’t removing collagen from your body to save for later use. Instead, collagen banking refers to the idea of boosting collagen production now (in your 20s and early 30s) so your body will have more of it later – when your skin begins to show signs of aging.

“We have a finite amount of elastin, and largely this can’t be stimulated to regrow,” notes Dr. Melanie Palm, a San Diego–area dermatologist and assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego. “It’s about investing in your skin now—doing things to encourage collagen growth and protecting against UV damage.”

It’s a good idea to start collagen-stimulating treatments in your 20s to mitigate future collagen loss as your body starts losing more collagen during the late 20s. You want to create the strongest skin foundation possible while your skin cells are still functioning optimally. The sooner this process starts the less damage there is that has to be undone and the more these treatments can work toward building and maintaining collagen.

Why is Collagen Important?

Collagen, according to dermatologist Dr. Anna Palabyab-Rufino, is the building block of protein that gives one baby skin. But due to pollution, stress, sun exposure and other toxins, the body’s capacity to produce collagen starts to deplete at age 30. Production starts to dwindle in our mid-to-late 20s and early 30s and we start losing 1% of our collagen per year after that. By 40, collagen drops dramatically, leading to signs of aging such as wrinkles, skin sagging, skin drying and loss of energy.

While collagen can be found in one’s daily diet such as fish and vegetables, it is not enough to compensate for what is lost as you age. Having enough collagen in the body keeps skin, hair and nails healthy with a high level of energy and vitality.

Treatments Used for Collagen Banking

Instead of reactively treating your skin to recover lost elasticity and collagen, it may be best to treat your skin in its prime – which is in your 20s and 30s for most people.

Some of the most popular treatments used for “collagen banking” include:

  • ultherapy
  • microneedling
  • dermal fillers like Sculptra and Radiesse
  • radiofrequency treatments such as thermage, chemical peels and LED light therapy

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Gould to learn if collagen stimulating treatments are the right option for you and your aesthetic goals.