It’s advice you’ve heard time and time again: if you want to prevent aging, collagen is key.
But it’s one thing to know that you need more collagen in your skin and another to actually get it.
After all, how much control do you really have over your skin’s collagen production?
The answer: more than you think.
Read on to learn how to rebuild collagen in your face and get the plump, youthful skin you desire.
What’s the Deal with Collagen, Anyway?
Collagen is a protein that’s produced by your skin and other organs.
Its purpose: to support the structure of your skin, helping it maintain its shape, smoothness and firmness.
In fact, your skin is around 80% collagen — this protein is literally the foundation of your face.
But as you age, your natural collagen production decreases. Starting at around age 25, your skin’s collagen production decreases by 1-2% a year.
As a result, your skin begins to lose its suppleness, becoming thinner, saggier and more wrinkly.
How to Rebuild Collagen in the Face at Home
So the solution to many of the mysteries of aging is clear: you need more collagen.
But how do you encourage your skin to produce more of it?
Try these six remedies for low collagen in the face. Be diligent and soon your skin will start to bounce back, regaining its forgotten youthfulness.
Try Facial Massage
Nothing relaxes and rejuvenates the body like a good massage.
But did you know that massage can have the same effects on your face?
And the best part is that you don’t need to go to a professional massage therapist. You can give yourself a collagen-boosting facial massage in your own home.
Studies have shown that facial massage increases your skin’s production of many different proteins, including collagen.
And those effects were even more pronounced when anti-aging facial creams were used in addition to the massage.
Incorporating facial massage into your life is easy.
While you’re performing your daily skincare routines, just take your time applying your serums and creams. Massage them slowly into your face using gentle, upwards circular motions to relax your face muscles and stimulate collagen production.
Eat Vitamin C — and Treat Your Skin to It, Too
If you don’t get enough vitamin C in your diet, your skin will suffer — there’s no avoiding that truth.
Vitamin C is a crucial component of collagen production. It also protects your skin from collagen-destroying UV rays.
So if you’re not already eating plenty of fresh fruits and veggies (or taking a daily supplement), now’s the time to start. You have lots of options: citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, leafy greens and squash all contain high amounts of vitamin C.
But even if you do get the recommended amount of vitamin C in your diet, your skin may be lacking in it.
That’s because the rest of your body also needs vitamin C, so there may not be enough of it to go around.
Thankfully, your skin readily absorbs topical vitamin C from serums, creams, and other topical sources. This delivers vitamin C directly to your skin cells, where it can be put to work creating more collagen.
Quit Smoking Cigarettes
We’re not here to lecture you about the dangers of cigarette smoking — there’s plenty of information out there on that subject already.
But smoking does have one side effect that’s often ignored: it significantly impacts your collagen levels.
Cigarettes damage your existing collagen and impair your ability to produce more. They also constrict your blood vessels, depriving your skin cells of oxygen and reducing their healing capabilities.
If you smoke, your collagen-rebuilding efforts will be fruitless. Quitting is the only way to stop the ongoing damage and repair your skin.
Drink Plenty of Water
Ever been so dehydrated that you can’t move, speak or think properly?
Well, dehydration has that same sort of effect on your skin.
Without water, your skin just doesn’t have enough energy to produce enough collagen. And the collagen it does produce is low-quality, unable to hold its shape or support itself.
If you want to boost collagen production, drink more water. The average adult needs eight glasses a day, but you may need more depending on your size and activity level.
And if you drink plenty of water but find that your skin is still thirsty, try using products that contain humectants like hyaluronic acid or panthenol to directly rehydrate your skin cells.
Incorporate Retinoids into Your Routine
Retinoids are special compounds derived from vitamin A that have wondrous effects on the skin.
They’re commonly found in anti-aging skincare products because they boost the production of collagen, elastin and other essential skin proteins.
Some varieties, like retinol, can be found in over-the-counter products. But for more drastic results, ask your dermatologist about tretinoin, a prescription-only retinoid that has been shown to increase collagen production by 80% over the course of a year.
Protect Yourself from the Sun
Even if you eat a healthy diet and take great care of your skin, it’ll all be for nothing if you don’t use sun protection.
The sun’s UV rays do more than cause cancer. They also damage your collagen and impair your skin cells’ ability to produce more, resulting in premature aging.
Without sun protection, you’ll just be destroying any new collagen you produce. That’s why it’s so important to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30.
Even if you’re not getting direct sun exposure, UV rays can still penetrate through clouds and windows. So wear sunscreen every day and make sure to reapply it every two hours.
Treatments for Low Collagen in the Face
If you’re looking for a quicker fix for low collagen in the face, try one of these professional treatments.
Try Dermal Fillers for Instant Results
When collagen is lost, your skin stretches out and sags because there isn’t enough padding behind it to fill it out.
Dermal fillers solve this problem by providing that extra padding, making your skin look tighter and smoother.
And dermal fillers also stimulate your natural collagen production, so even when they wear off, you skin will still look plumper and younger.
Typically consisting of hyaluronic acid or a similar compound, dermal fillers are injected into your desired location, providing instant results. They typically last for at least six months, with some lasting up to two years.
Consult with a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon to learn more about dermal fillers and find out if they’re suitable for your face.
Get Laser Treatment for Long-Term Collagen Regeneration
Laser collagen restoration is a high-tech, ultra-effective way to get your collagen levels up and keep them there for years to come.
During laser treatment, a special laser is aimed at your skin, creating microscopic wounds. This sounds bad, but it actually encourages your skin to produce more collagen to heal the wounds.
While repairing the laser holes, your skin also takes the opportunity to smooth out wrinkles, fade scars and heal sun damage with its newly-produced collagen.
Laser treatment for low collagen doesn’t produce instant results. It takes about 12 weeks of treatment for collagen production to fully start back up.
Some people also find laser treatment painful, especially those with darker skin.
Your dermatologist can tell you more about laser treatment and help you decide if you’re a good candidate for it.