As your beauty obsessed editors, finding ways on how to increase collagen is a much-determined pursuit of ours.
Well, collagen loss with aging is no joke. In fact, we lose collagen every year starting at the age of 20, which in turn creates deep wrinkles, fine lines, hair loss and even, brittle fingernails — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Sure, there are skin care products that carry collagen as a key ingredient, such as eye creams and facial fillers, but are they the most sustainable and enduring ways of boosting collagen?
According to the Academy of Dermatology, they’re not — that is if used by themselves. Instead, experts recommend such products to be used with a more natural and lifestyle approach when it comes to rebuilding collagen in the face, hair and throughout the rest of our body.
And here, we’ve done just that by focusing on the best ways of how to increase collagen, from a lifestyle, diet and skin care approach, for all your beauty goals.
But first, let’s quickly refresh ourselves of what collagen is in the first place.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up 25% to 35% of all our protein content. You’ll find it in the middle layer of our skin, giving it its firmness, plumpness and elasticity.
Just as important, you’ll also find it as the connective tissue in-between our bones, tendons, ligaments, hair roots and such. Find a more detailed breakdown of what collagen can do for your skin in our guide “Collagen for Skin, Hair and Beauty Guide: Is It the Anti-aging Miracle?”.
Fortunately for us wellness and beauty seekers, the pursuit in finding ways of how to increase collagen is becoming easier and easier. Now, let’s unpack every one of them!
How to Increase Collagen for Healthy Skin
1. Vitamin A Can Restore Collagen
Vitamin A goes by many different names and comes in many different variations in the skincare world, including Retinol, Retinoids, Retin A and Tretinoin. If it’s Retinol that you’re after, look for retinol concentrations of 0.25% or higher if you want the best collagen-boosting results.
Alternatively, retinoids are also very effective, but they’re a more hardcore option which might seem too drying an option for your face’s delicate skin. If that’s the case, turning to Vitamin C serum products can be a solution. If you didn’t know, vitamin C is an effective antioxidant that brightens your skin tone and reduces the appearance of aging.
2. The Exfoliating Properties of Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid found in your moisturizer, toner or exfoliator, dissolves excess sebum and dead skin cells, to reveal smoother, brighter and younger-looking skin. Applying it can be a gentle solution that hydrates, exfoliates, fades pigmentation, while stimulating collagen production all at the same time!
Also, if you apply a healthy concentration of glycolic acid regularly, it can also improve your skin texture by accelerating the healing process and reducing its discoloration!
Find a more detailed breakdown of how glycolic acid can benefit your face’s delicate skin in this our “How Glycolic Acid Benefits Your Skin with a Fresh Start” guide.
3. Use a Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
Sunscreen is really the most important product of all, as it’s single-handedly the most effective way to prevent and combat the signs of premature aging, thus restoring collagen in the face. After all, one recent study found that UV-light exposure accounts for 80% of visible facial aging. Now, that’s excessive!
But not all sunscreens are created equal. Rather than making a final sunscreen choice based entirely off SPF numbers, choose a broad spectrum (or full-spectrum) sunscreen. With a broad spectrum sunscreen, your skin will be protected from both UVA and UVB light rays. UVA rays are known to burn your skin, while UVB rays create sunspots and wrinkles.
And, what’s the downside if you don’t protect your skin? Well, prolonged skin exposure to either kind of light ray can increase your chances of skin cancer.
4. Drinking Collagen Supplements
Collagen peptide supplements are making waves as the latest way of stimulating collagen production in the skin. Collagen peptides are usually derived from animals like chickens, cows, pigs and fish, while being sold as loose powder.
If you’re wondering about the science, a few studies have suggested exciting skin health benefits after consuming collagen supplements, but there’s still much research to be done.
For instance, one study found improvements in skin elasticity, moisture and roughness, as well as eye wrinkle volume in women after regular intake, and another study found a reduction in cellulite in women after consuming collagen supplements of the cow variety for 6 months.
You find a more thorough guide in this article “What Types of Collagen are Best for Skin and Hair?”, you’d be surprised at what we’ve found.
5. Increase Collagen by Eating Animal Products and Dark, Leafy Greens
Arguably the most sustainable and enduring way to increase collagen is by eating a well-rounded diet that consists of whole animals, along with vegetables rich in Vitamin C and A.
There’s animal ligaments, skin and tendons that can be included in a homemade bone broth. Then, there are dark-green and orange vegetables like spinach, kale, carrots and sweet potatoes. When thinking of veggies, just add the colors of the rainbow onto your plate and you’re likely well on your way in boosting collagen production.
Check out “Our Favourite Collagen-rich Foods for Tackling Aging Skin” for more details.
6. Eat Your Way to Healthy Skin with Seafood and Red Vegetables
For anti-aging benefits, fish like tuna and salmon are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Red vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and beets can also help as they contain the antioxidant lycopene — an ingredient that protects against sun protection (our skin’s worst enemy). Remember, collagen production experiences rapid deterioration with repeated sun exposure!
Foods that are collagen-rich are always great, but other foods also serve huge anti-aging benefits. Here are our “8 Best Anti-aging Foods for Younger Looking Skin” list.
7. Beauty Products with Resveratrol for Antioxidants
Extracted from the skin of red grapes, Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant that will smooth out the look of wrinkles and defend your skin against oxidative damage that brings about the signs of aging.
Resveratrol essentially works as a defense system for your skin by fighting free radicals and preventing their formation in the first place, so anti-aging creams with this star ingredient are sure to help!
8. Facial Massages for a Natural Face Lift
Incorporating a regular massage into your daily skin care routine will not only feel amazing but will also help your face muscles relax. The more your skin tenses up, the more likely you harbor wrinkles.
Reserve a few minutes every day to unwind and make sure you massage your face with soft motions as it will increase blood circulation and allow your muscles to relax. Of course, be gentle with the delicate skin around your eyes!
9. Slather on the Snail Extract!
If you’re a K-beauty obsessive, you’ve most likely looked at your beauty products with snail mucin and asked yourself, “Why on earth is this on the ingredient list?”.
Proteins from snails give off signals to your dormant stem cells to reproduce and grow into collagen-making fibroblasts. Studies as recently as 2013 and 2015 concluded that the daily application of snail slime may result in a reduction of fine lines, possibly rebuilding collagen in the face.
Guided by the keen interests of the wellness and beauty communities in finding ways to boost collagen production, gelatin has become a popular dietary source for the naturally occurring protein. If you heat gelatin crystals or powder or boil down gelatinous meat by-products into a thick liquid, that gelatin you consume is one and the same as eating collagen derived from various animals.
How to Prevent Collagen Loss: Top Tips
All your hard work for boosting collagen with using anti-aging products and eating a healthy diet will be thwarted if you adopt unhealthy habits in other areas of your life.
When it comes to preventing collagen loss, avoid smoking, avoid lying out in the sun for hours and hours on end, keep your skin hydrated and lastly (yes, we’re pushing this again!), don’t skimp out on the sunscreen.
Your skin will thank you.
Now, check off the boxes on your ‘how to increase collagen’ list and get moving!
All images courtesy of ViChizh on Shutterstock