Skin Care
10 Ways to Boost Collagen and Stop Skin Aging
May 20, 2013 - 12:02:23 AM

( - Collagen is the main protein found in human skin. This all-important protein is responsible for giving skin the supple and elastic qualities associated with youth. Unfortunately, our natural supply of collagen dwindles with advancing age, and as a result, skin begins to sag and develop fine lines and wrinkles and other visible signs of aging.

"Think of collagen as the foundation of a house," says Heather C. Hausenblas, PhD, an associate professor of exercise science at the University of Jacksonville in Florida. "If you don't have a good foundation, your house will sag. The same is true for your skin."

But aging isn't the only reason that we lose collagen. Other factors that can affect our natural collagen stores include sun exposure, smoking and our diets, she says.

Here are 10 ways to rebuild your collagen from the outside in and the inside out:

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables -especially those rich in vitamin C such as oranges, strawberries and lemons. "This vital nutrient helps to promote collagen production in the body," Hausenblas says.

2. Drinking enough water and tapering off dehydrating substances such as alcohol and caffeine, can keep your body - and skin - hydrated.

3. Don't smoke and if you do, quit. Talk to your doctor about available smoking- cessation aids.

4. Slather sunscreen on your face and body and wear a wide-brimmed hat when in direct sunlight. Make sure your sunscreen has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 and contains physical blockers such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, such as Elta MD UV Physical Broad Spectrum SPF 41 Sunscreen and Fallene Total Block UVA/UVB Complete Full Spectrum Sun Protection SPF 65 Clear.

5. Use anti-aging moisturizers. Will they increase collagen production? No, but they can help hydrate and plump skin. Don't be fooled by products that tout collagen as an active ingredient. Most scientists and dermatologists have discredited claims that topical collagen can really get into the skin. The molecules are too large to penetrate so they sit on the surface of the skin until they get rubbed off or washed away. Some topical creams and supplements use partially hydrolyzed collagen that has chopped up into fragments small enough to penetrate the skin, but the fragments are often too small to properly integrate into the skin's own collagen framework. By contrast, hydrolyzed elastin - another structural protein in skin --  is able to penetrate the epidermis, improving the suppleness and moisture levels. Hydrolyzed elastin can be found in many skincare brands, including Yonka Elastine Nuit.

6. Choose products containing retinols. These vitamin A derivatives remain the gold standard for collagen enhancement. Look for potent retinol in ZO Skin Health Ossential® Radical Night Repair Plus or SkinMedica Tri-Retinol Complex .

7. Look for skincare replete with peptides, growth factors and DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol). These will give your skin and body the building blocks it needs to produce more collagen. Examples include Lucrece Physicians' Aesthetic Research, Inc.'s Collagen Peptide Complex and Nano-Peptide B5 Complex.

8. Take a daily supplement like ResVitále's Collagen EnhanceTM to build up collagen from the inside out, says Hausenblas.

9. Consider injectable therapies to boost new collagen in the skin's deeper layer called the dermis. Human- and animal-derived collagen injections were introduced in the 1980s, but new dermal fillers have been introduced that perform better and last longer. "Sculptra Aesthetic® does double duty by plumping up deep folds and hollows, as well as stimulating the skin to produce more collagen," says New York Plastic Surgeon Bryan G. Forley, M.D. Other injectable treatments that stimulate collagen include Radiesse® and Artefill®. 

10. Talk to your dermatologist or plastic surgeon about what treatments are available to kickstart new collagen production. For example, Pelleve Wrinkle Reduction System uses radiofrequency energy treatments to heat the dermis and stimulate the production of new collagen. Ultrasound therapy also helps boost our ability to produce more collagen. Sublative technology uses bi-polar radiofrequency (gentle energy currents) to penetrate the skin and stimulate collagen production beneath the surface while keeping the outer layer of skin intact. In addition, many lasers help spur the production of collagen.

-Additional reporting by Denise Mann

Wendy Lewis is President of Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd Global Aesthetics Consultancy, author of 11 books and Founder/Editor in Chief of


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