You never know how much you miss something until you lose it.
Take collagen. I had always taken it for granted. My skin was smooth, firm and bounced back immediately when you pinched it.
Yeah, yeah, I know it wouldn’t always be like that. One day I’d get old and wrinkly…. But that day was eons away. Why think about it now?
Then it happened. Around my late 20s, I’ve noticed my first few crow’s feet creeping up around my eyes. That was my wake up call. I had to do something to restore that collagen now or every year, it’d get worse and worse.
What Is Collagen And What Does It Do For Skin?
Collagen is the protein that keeps your skin elastic. When your skin loses it, it starts to sag. Wrinkle, even.
This is something that happens naturally as you age. And when I say as you age, I mean as you grow up. You start losing 1% collagen each year since you turn 21! 21, not 51 ladies!
If you want to keep those pesky wrinkles off your face, you need to keep that collagen in and rebuild the little you lose every year.
But, is that even possible? Can skincare give you your collagen back or is that science fiction?
You can’t use a cream with collagen and expect it to work. That’s science fiction. Collagen is too big to penetrate skin. *sighs*
But there’s plenty of stuff lurking in your skincare that can tell your skin to pump up its collagen production. Here are 8 science-proven ways to rebuild lost collagen for firmer, younger-looking skin:
Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):
Retinoids are the gold standard for anti aging. They’re forms of vitamin A that treat acne, fade away dark spots and reduce premature fine lines and wrinkles. They work in two ways:
- They slow down the depletion of collagen
- They stimulate the production of new collagen
Not all retinoids are the same. Prescription forms work much faster, but they’re super irritating. OTC forms like retinol work more slowly, but they’re more gentler on the skin.
Still, it’s best to start with a small (<1% concentration) twice a week and build up both dose and frequency gradually.
- Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution ($88.00): available at Dermstore, Nordstrom, Sephora and SpaceNK
- Paula’s Choice Resist 1% Retinol Booster ($52.00): available at Feel Unique and Paula’s Choice
- Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM ($65.00): available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty and Sephora
Related: Which Strength Of Retinol Should You Use?
2. Vitamin C
You probably know vitamin C because of its powerful antioxidant properties. But this antiaging superstar is also essential for collagen synthesis.
If you apply a high enough concentration of vitamin C to your skin, it’ll boost the production of collagen.
A vitamin C serum isn’t optional. So why not use one that has its BFFs vitamin E and ferulic acid, too? Together they boost collagen production AND your sun protection!
- Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum ($80.00/£67.00): available at Cult Beauty, Sephora and SpaceNK
- Paula’s Choice C15 Booster ($49.00): available at Feel Unique, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice
- Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($166.00): available at Blue Mercury and Dermstore
Related: Why You Should Add Vitamin C To Your Skincare Routine
3. Glycolic Acid
You know something else your skin needs? Exfoliation. Seriously, girl, those dead cells on your skin are roughing up its texture and stealing its glow.
But why opt for a scrub that only gets rid of them when glycolic acid does the exfoliating job fine AND boosts the production of collagen too?
P.S. If you have sensitive skin, glycolic acid may be too harsh for you. But all other skin types can use it safely.
P.P.S. Glycolic acid boosts collagen at 10% and higher concentrations. By all means, use your glycolic acid exfoliants if they work for you. But if you want it to boost collagen, consider going for chemical peels.
Related: The Complete Guide To Glycolic Acid
4. Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Collagen is a protein. It follows that feeding your skin amino acids can give it what it needs to make more collagen.
But not all amino acids are created equal. The best to boost collagen production are l-lysine, l-proline, and l-threonine. Use them generously!
- AminoGenesis Paranormal EFX Anti-Aging Super Serum ($69.99): available at Amazon
- The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA (£4.90): available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty and Feel Unique
Related: Why You Should Add Amino Acids To Your Skincare Routine
5. Copper Peptides
You know what else is essential for collagen synthesis? Copper. Give your skin more copper and collagen production shoots up.
But… here comes the catch: too much copper is toxic for you. I know, bummer!
Good news: scientists have found a workaround. When you bind copper to peptides, it becomes safe to use on the skin. Phew!
The most popular copper peptide is GHK-Cu. It boosts the production of collagen, elastin, and other components of the skin’s natural barrier; has anti-inflammatory properties; and helps heal wounds. Pretty awesome, isn’t it?
- Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream ($68.00): available at Sephora
- Niod Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 (£38.00): available at Cult Beauty
- The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% (£28.90): available at Asos, Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty and Look Fantastic
Related: Are Copper Peptides Better Than Retinoids?
6. Genesis Laser ($400)
Let’s face it. There’s only so much topical treatments can do. If you want something stronger (and your wallet can take the hit) try Genesis laser. A 2005 study shows it helps create new collagen.
The catch? You need at least 6 sessions. It’s expensive, but the results last up to 5 years.
7. Medlite Laser
Gensis isn’t the only laser that can boost your collagen. Medlite is giving it a good run for its money too. A series of six treatments (that number again!) can stimulate the production of new collagen. Its effects lasts for about 3 to 5 years.
8. LED Phototherapy
If you’re looking for another professional alternative, try LED Phototherapy. It helps repair sun damage and boost the production of both collagen and elastin.
The best part? It has fewer effects than laser and is safe for dark skin, too.
The Bottom Line
Lost collagen isn’t lost forever! With the right skincare products and treatments, your skin’ll look younger for longer. No one’ll be able to guess your real age.