I like to think of collagen as the skin’s essential scaffolding: it holds the body together while keeping your skin youthful and resistant to external damage. Unfortunately, collagen production slows down with age, along with it our immunity to aging and skin damage. In this article, I’m going to explain my top recommendations on how to naturally increase collagen production, so your skin can better resist aging, wrinkles, and remain healthy and supple for longer.
Collagen is the largest and one of the most essential natural proteins in the body, but as we all know, this collagen depletes and decreases with age. Luckily, there are a number of ways to naturally increase or stimulate collagen production in the body, although certain methods report better results than others. In my view, it can be a good idea to mix these methods up, rather than depend solely on one product, lifestyle choice, or skincare ingredient. Here are my top three recommendations on how to naturally increase collagen production on:
1. Diet and Lifestyle Changes To Increase Collagen Production
We’re all familiar with the adage: we are what we eat! This happens to hold some weight when it comes to taking care of our skin: what we put in our bodies will undoubtedly reflect the condition of our skin and its external appearance. However, when it comes to collagen, diet truly is a vital component in maintaining a healthy level of collagen production. If you’re wondering how to increase natural collagen production, it starts with a diet rich in nutritious foods, especially Vitamin C and amino acids.
Best Foods to Boost Collagen Production:
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy greens
- Egg whites
- Tropical fruits
Does Exercise Increase Collagen Production?
Yes! Engaging in frequent exercise helps support the body’s natural production of collagen, which helps your skin remain resistant and elastic as you age. Exercise is also a natural stress reliever, and keeping stress to a minimum is great for the skin: the endorphin boosts from regular workouts can prevent cortisol (the stress hormone) from breaking down the collagen in the skin.
Does Vitamin C Stimulate Collagen Production?
Vitamin C plays a vital role in synthesizing collagen in the body, but the body itself cannot produce Vitamin C – that’s why I recommend obtaining it through Vitamin C-enriched foods such as citrus fruits, red and green peppers, kiwi fruits, and strawberries.
2. Take Collagen Supplements
Collagen supplements are great if you’re wondering how to stimulate collagen production in skin – these supplements, known as collagen peptides, can be taken orally and deliver collagen support everywhere in the body. Collagen supplements are also safe and pose a minimal risk when ingested, although as I explained in my previous blog post, always be careful taking new supplements if you have certain allergies.
The benefits of ingesting collagen supplements (also known as hydrolyzed collagen, or collagen peptides) are also scientifically supported, having been proven to help to improve skin texture and elasticity, hair, nails, and even the joints. If ingesting collagen isn’t your thing, you always have the option of adding a collagen serum to your skincare routine to give your complexion a boost.
Both oral collagen supplements (collagen peptides) and topical serums provide a variety of benefits for the skin:
Benefits of Collagen Peptides:
- The collagen used in oral supplements is “hydrolyzed”, which means the collagen has been broken down: this is more easily absorbed by the body, and offers improved results than other forms of collagen (gelatin, raw)
- Various studies have proven that orally ingesting collagen can offer visible improvement in the skin’s elasticity, with these results often visible in just a few months
- Collagen peptides deliver collagen support to the whole body, whereas serum is limited to the face or neck
- Collagen peptides reduce dryness, which improves the appearance of existing lines and wrinkles, as well as offering hydration to acne-prone skin in order to prevent breakouts
Benefits of Collagen Serum:
- Deep hydration, leading to fewer acne breakouts and smoother skin
- Reduce the appearance of fine lines
- Protect and strengthen the skin’s barrier, preventing external skin damage and collagen breakdown
- Improved skin texture
- Protects the skin from pathogens: certain collagen serums can stabilize your pH balance, making your skin less attractive for bacteria to settle
As I pointed out in my previous article about collagen serum, any serum containing collagen won’t be able to directly penetrate the skin’s dermis layer – the collagen molecules are simply too large. I’d recommend opting for a collagen serum that combines collagen with other active ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, retinol, or salicylic acid for the best results.
My current favorite is CELLRENEW’s Collagen Infusion Serum, as its mix of collagen, palmetto, and hyaluronic acid works wonders in re-texturizing my previously acne-prone skin. The fatty acids in the palmetto, combined with the natural benefits of hyaluronic acid, have also worked wonders for my acne scars.
- Ingredients That Target Breakouts & Wrinkles
- Reduce active breakouts
- Reduce redness and inflammation while simultaneously increasing collagen and skin elasticity
If you want to supercharge your results, you could combine your collagen serum with micro-needling: micro-needling is a great option if you’re wondering how to increase collagen production on face naturally, without adding any supplementary skincare products. Micro-needling is a beauty treatment that involves piercing small holes in the skin and kickstarting the skin’s collagen production, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scars over time. Micro-needling proves just how effective collagen is when stimulated on the body: even stretch marks – which tend to be significantly deeper scars – have shown incredible results from micro-needling.
3. Add Retinol To Your Skincare Routine
While diet and supplements are important, you want to also support your body’s collagen production through your skincare routine: what you put on your skin is as important as what you put into your body. If you’re trying to figure out how to increase natural collagen production with a skincare product, I’d highly recommend incorporating retinol into your skincare routine if you do not have sensitive skin.
What Is Retinol?
Retinol is a pure form of Vitamin A and is one of the only products capable of stimulating skin cell turnover when applied topically. Retinol stimulates collagen production and is scientifically proven to improve the appearance of fine lines, acne scars, and even deeper wrinkles.
Does Retinol Help Collagen Production?
Retinol helps collagen production by triggering skin cell renewal: retinol also helps the skin by increasing blood flow to your complexion, in turn improving skin texture, targeting and remedying dryness, while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol can also be used as an anti-acne treatment, but these typically require a prescription.
While retinol boasts numerous benefits for the skin, it’s important to use it safely – retinol is strong and can damage the skin when used incorrectly or too liberally, so make sure to read up on using retinol safely before adding it into your skincare routine. It’s important, to begin with lower concentrations of retinol and use it just once a week, to begin with.
When Does Collagen Production Slow Down?
Unfortunately, collagen production slows down around your mid-twenties and continues to decrease over time. In your mid to late twenties, you’ll begin to notice small changes in your skin’s texture: fine lines (such as frown lines and crow’s feet) will appear more pronounced with time, and your skin will progressively lose its resistance to the natural and unavoidable forces of aging.
While there are no miracle solutions against the inevitable – by which I mean aging, wrinkles, and the loss of collagen – the methods I’ve listed above should help to support your body’s collagen production and keep your skin in optimal condition for as long as possible. As I always try to emphasize, a good diet combined with healthy lifestyle choices makes all the difference when it comes to the condition of our skin. Before splurging on skincare products, make sure that you’re first addressing your skin from within.