What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein that gives structure to our bones, muscles, tendons and skin, often referred to as the building blocks or scaffolding of the face; the more collagen we produce the plumper and firmer skin appears. Peaking when we’re at our most fertile, as women reach their mid-to-late twenties collagen production begins to slow and declines as we age. It’s this loss of collagen that contributes to lack of firmness and volume, the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin. Fortunately there’s plenty we can do to remedy this, from building collagen from the inside out to applying it topically, or stimulating cells to produce new healthy collagen.
How skincare can boost your collagen levels
Take a multi-pronged attack on collagen loss by first focusing on preventing premature depletion. Free radicals from pollution, UV rays and certain chemicals can attach themselves to healthy skin cells and trigger our enzymes to break down collagen. Antioxidants help by preventing free radicals from attacking skin by neutralising the damaging effects.
Antioxidants are beneficial at every age, but particularly in your twenties while your collagen levels remain high, so try using a daily serum or moisturiser rich in antioxidants such as grapeseed oil, turmeric or vitamin E. We like the light gel-serum texture of Verso Antioxidant Turmeric Booster and the green tea laden Elemental Herbology Perfect Balance Facial Moisturiser SPF 12.
Retinol, retinoic acid and pro-retinol are some of the famed vitamin A derivatives available in skincare. Clinically proven to speed-up cell turnover and improve the skin’s own collagen synthesis, it can have dramatic effects – plumping skin and smoothing fine lines. Do start slowly as it can also aggravate sensitive skin causing redness and flaking, we recommend using every 2-3 evenings for 6 weeks continuously to start out.
Try Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil as the retinol infused oil also contains cold-pressed, antioxidant-rich avocado, chia and grape seed oils to nourish and calm. If you prefer a cream texture, look no further than Eve Lom Time Retreat Intensive Night Cream – its rich texture deeply hydrates, while liposome encapsulated retinol gives skin a powerful dose of vitamin A.
Exfoliation speeds up your skin’s renewal process bringing bouncier, newer cells to the forefront and simultaneously forcing skin to produce more collagen. For a bright, collagen efficient complexion try a daily at home peel product like DCL AHA Resurfacing Lotion 20 which utilises glycolic acid to resurface, rejuvenate and smooth away fine lines. If you prefer a weekly exfoliating product we like the Herbivore Brighten Pineapple + Gemstone Mask which contains fruit enzymes to exfoliate more gently.
From the inside out
Protein-rich bone broth is known to be a skin superfood thanks to its high levels of collagen, but if you’re vegetarian, vegan or just not into the idea then try The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost. This delicious daily supplement has been formulated to help build collagen and strengthen skin tissue from the gut with a blend of maqui berry, acai, papaya, blueberry, goji berry and pomegranate. In the same way that antioxidant skincare can help prevent premature collagen depletion, eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help to boost your skin too.
Vitamin C is particularly important in the formation of collagen, in fact it’s impossible for the body to produce its own collagen without vitamin C, so stock up your body’s supply by snacking on oranges, kiwi fruit, peppers and broccoli. MSM, a form of sulphur that we can ingest also helps to support the body’s internal collagen production while simultaneously improving nail health and hair growth – we’ve had great results including clearer, firmer skin from a daily dose of Oskia Pure MSM Beauty Supplement.
Give skin an intense collagen boost and you’ll see plumper, smoother skin sooner rather than later. If you’re ready to invest then we highly recommend the Tria Age-Defying Laser, an at-home laser that uses beams of light to penetrate the skin. It creates microscopic zones of disruption underneath the top layer of skin so there’s no visible damage, but the body’s natural healing process is stimulated and collagen is produced to heal the targeted areas- resulting in fuller, firmer skin.
Another option for an intense smoothing boost before a special event is Sarah Chapman Skinesis Stem Cell Collagen Activator Duo. This 28 day skin treatment contains stem cell collagen activators and 8 collagen-building line-smoothing peptides and in one month works to improve skin’s collagen levels leaving the complexion visibly plumper and smoother.
We are also great advocates of the benefits of facial massage – a daily massage can boost circulation and help improve muscle tone and collagen production, follow our guide here and try using collagen-rich products such as the luxurious textured, firming Sisley Night Cream With Collagen or the lighter Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen which contains a blend of plant collagen and microalgae.