Skin Aging papers- Collagen, elastin, AGE etc ( a general rant about aging is also included as a Bonus)


Im very new to the forum. Female in my early 30s finishing a degree in Chemistry. I am looking at starting Rapamycin soonish to delay aging and hopefully also preserve fertility. I got a bit of research to do and I live in the UK so that might make it a bit more challenging.

Now a very short rant:
I am so sick of aging.
I am sick of how everybody sees it as “something natural”, it happens theres nothing you can do about it, “dont think about it”
I am sick of peoples artificial timelines. Finish School. Be married before 30. Have kids before a certain age. Get a mortage and retire by 65. Life feels like a prision where you have people saying they’re too old to do something.
Our lives and expectations have changed but we continue to be chain by our biological limitations in regards to aging!
I am sick of “aging gracefully bullshit”. The way people seem to put not having any work or efforts done (but still look good of course) in a depestal and I am also sick of the useless advice.
Yes, eating well, low sugar, using SPF and tretinoin etc is going to help but it is NOT going to stop or reverse aging.
Face yoga and pilates isn’t going to give you the skin you had at 20… We need drugs and therapies.
This problem needs a radical solution.
Now to my question. I’m hoping to work in aging research as a PhD student or in a Biotech, I am not sure how but I am really interested in Skin aging, collagen and reprograming.
Basically How and Why our skin ages. I know there are a lot of papers out there in the topic, (I have “the Hallmarks of Aging” in my reading list) but if theres anything in particular, any clinical trials as well as any companies conducting any trials please comment.
Also happy to have a discussion about best aging/skin aging strategies or the general landscape of aging in the UK.


One of our biggest problems is the loss of elastin over time which we can’t reverse yet.


One excellent skincare routine is described by Bryan Johnson in his ‘Blueprint’. Peptides, lasers, vitamin C, and ingesting a great diet along with Collagen and Hylauronic acid. He has a few videos on the subject and I’d be curious to hear what you have to say about his routine, since you seem to know more than most already.

Pick the right parents. First choice would be sub-saharan african, second choice would be southeast asian, last choice would be northwest european. Some people have built-in SPF 30 combined with a very thick layer of collagen and very dense, prominent facial bones. These are the best facial agers.

Use a sunscreen with high UVA protection in 380-400 nm. Currently that’s only Anthelios UVmune. It’s not cheap. Affordable alternatives would be Riemann P20 and Gruume. They have very high UVA protection, too, but not as high in 380-400 nm. The longer UV rays penetrate to the dermis and contribute the most towards skin aging. Reapply and avoid exposure on high UV index days. Also wear a hat/visor and sunglasses.

Use tretinoin or tazarotene as often as you can stand it. There is a 30-fold (or maybe more) variation in what people tolerate so it will take some experimentation to find a routine that works for you. Most people use a moisturizer on top (or make a moisturizer sandwich with tret in the middle).

Just about any other regular use topical will pale in comparison to a good sunscreen and rx retinoid so don’t expect much. Everyone wants to make a buck and academicians need to publish so there is a ton of junk out there that that doesn’t do much but is highly touted.

Don’t make babies. During pregnancy, there is upregulation of the matrix metalloproteinases that break down collagen so as to accommodate the growing fetus. This process takes place all over the body and is more evident in north european women who have many children. Also, if calcium intake is not adequate, the fetus will take it from the mother’s bones.

Maintain a stable, healthy body weight throughout life. Don’t lose or gain too much.I don’t think there is any clinical reason why people should have to gain weight after early adulthood unless they are far too thin.

Don’t eat highly processed/refined foods. I eat a whole foods, plant-based diet. My biggest meal of the day is an enormous salad with the rainbow of colors. I can tell that people over 35 don’t eat like I do by looking at them.

When you reach a certain age you might want to make judicious use of fillers (only very sparingly) and botox.

Exercise. You need to include both cardio and resistance training. No need to go crazy but it won’t be the same if you skip these.

Take HRT when you can. There is accelerated bone loss in the first five years of menopause. You will want to do everything you can to minimize these accelerated losses.

Somewhere between your late 40s and early 50s (for most women) you might want your first facelift. No matter how pristine your skin surface is, you will have started losing bone and no feasible amount of collagen production in your dermis, injected fat, filler, or biostimulator will truly correct for that. You will continue to lose bone as you age and if you have money you will want to get another every 7-10 years. The second one is harder to pull off, no matter how talented the surgeon, and by the third or fourth you will be entering uncanny valley no matter how talented your surgeon is. I was advised to wait as long as possible and to get only one good one. But you don’t want to wait too long. Do it while you still have good elasticity for the best, longest-lasting results. Randal Haworth proposes another trajectory: midface lift in mid 40s, full high SMAS facelift in early-mid 50s, one and only one revision 7-10 years later.

Regarding procedures like lasers, stronger peels, RF, ulthera, etc. my suggestion is don’t. They do build collagen but it’s in response to a controlled wound. The new collagen is not in the same proportion of subtypes and most of these damaging mechanisms don’t build elastin as well. The new collagen fiber bundles have smaller diameter and lower tensile strength than the collagen of the original skin. Better not to wound it in the first place. Prevention is always better than the “cure” which goes back to using the best sunscreen available as often as you can. I’ve learned the hard way. If you feel that you must do something, try periodic shallow microneedling with a skin booster. Some people meso with boosters, too, it increases luminance and reflectance of the skin surface but it’s a temporary fix.

Hi @arugula do you have expertise in dermatology or are you a lay-person like most of us? I’ve read about many of these approaches increasing collagen, but had not heard of the negatives you cite. How much have you researched these issues?

Are you saying that the Bryan Johnson protocol on skin is ill-advised? Brian Johnson Skin Protocol

Advanced layperson with 30 years of reading papers. I got burned pretty badly in 1993 by phenol by a board certified plastic surgeon. I was too trusting. Started reading papers after that.

Yes, I have stated elsewhere that Bryan’s BBL frequency is too high. I’m not overly impressed by his medical advisory group.

There are lots of laser/other procedure damage support groups where you can find many regrets and ruined lives, Check Facebook and Reddit for starters.

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IMO, Bryan is already starting to get that over-makeover look that many celebrities have.
His general skin tone looks artificial, maybe it’s just the lighting.
I am not impressed that his very expensive interventions are going to be any better than many of the routines and interventions used by members of this forum that are so much cheaper.
Is it just me or does anyone think he looks like Data from the earlier Star Trek episodes?



I think he looks really good in some of his promotionals. In others, depending on the lighting and filtering, you can see more flaws and reality.

It may be that people are not used to seeing redheads in their unexposed (to UV radiation) state which can be a pale that approaches paper-white. I kind of like that part and I wish that more people would take pains to achieve it. It makes the skin more babyish and healthier.

But in some of his pics he conveys something radical. I suspect that he is not averse to doing really out there stuff, like eventually deciding that he wants to transition because women live longer. It wouldn’t surprise me.


Oh, noooooo! It wouldn’t surprise me either.
Though I admire aspirations, I have no interest in living like him.
Another person, I deeply respect and follow is Michael Lustgarten, Ph.D., but I couldn’t, and have no desire to, follow his diet. The obsession with counting calories, photographing, and weighing food is just something that would drive me batsh*t crazy.
To paraphrase Auntie Mame, from the movie of the same name: Life is a smorgasbord, but most fools are just starving.

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Yes, I like MIke’s approach and especially that he provides his analyses.

I don’t weigh my food, either. I have a 12-cup bowl and fill it halfway with romaine. Everything else, a handful of this and that, is eyeballed. The only thing I try to be careful with, measurement-wise, is the oil because of the 9 calories per gram thing.

But I confess to obsessing over nutrient database info in the past. It’s more or less internalized now.