How to Boost Collagen in Your Skin, According to Dermatologists

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Written By Paklay Zablay

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If you’re wondering how to boost collagen in your skin, you should know that depleting collagen is natural. The truth is, as we get older, we bid farewell to the collagen stores we enjoyed in our youth.

“Collagen is the scaffolding that supports the skin,” explains dermatologist Emma Craythorne, founder of Klira. “It’s a protein. If you press a baby’s cheeks, the skin bounces back – that’s because of the collagen that’s present.” The less collagen we have – and it’s worth noting it degrades at a rate of around one per cent a year from our mid-20s onwards – the more laxity in the skin, and the larger pores and wrinkles appear.

As always, prevention is better than cure. The more we can inhibit collagen breakdown, the better our skin will fare as we age. It will come as no surprise that the “number-one accelerator is exposure to ultraviolet radiation or UV light”, says Craythorne. There’s a reason why every dermatologist worships at the altar of broad-spectrum SPF (of at least factor 30), because as well as preventing skin cancer and hyperpigmentation, it’s essential to preserve collagen levels.

When you’ve got the art of preservation nailed, it’s time to actively pump up your collagen stores. As for how to boost collagen in your skin? “An easy at-home route is to use a prescription-grade retinoid,” says Craythorne. “Vitamin A acts like a hormone and passes messages to the fibroblasts in the skin’s dermis, instructing them to switch on and start making more collagen and hyaluronic acid,” she says. But if retinoids aren’t for you, then vitamin C has also been proven to support collagen synthesis.

Diet is key, too. “Your body needs vitamin C, zinc, manganese and copper to produce collagen, so it’s important to have these in your diet,” says aesthetic doctor Sophie Shotter. As for collagen supplements: do they work? With so many different types on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start. Collagen is typically absorbed and distributed via the bloodstream, working its way to the dermis via other organs. “One there, it stimulates fibroblast proliferation, generating the production of fresh collagen,” explains Anna Lahey, founder of Vida Glow, who stresses the importance of ingesting a high-quality hydrolysed marine collagen product.

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