Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, making up 75% of our skin and 30% of the protein in our bodies. It literally holds us together like glue. It is found in skin, hair, nails, tendons, ligaments, as well as many other places.

As children, this precious protein is abundantly rich in our bodies and slowly declines as part of the natural aging process. Studies show that our bodies begin to produce less collagen at around age 25. Factors that rapidly increase the degradation of collagen are UV exposure, eating sugar and other refined foods, stress, and smoking. Healthy eating and other positive lifestyle choices are key in preserving your collagen. Happily, there are also holistic methods that support continued collagen formation and slow down collagen degradation, improving the health and well being of your entire body.

1. Topical Skin Care Ingredients to Promote Collagen

Vitamin A and Vitamin C are your night-and-day collagen-promoting dream team.

Vitamin A

It’s been scientifically proven again and again: Vitamin A is one of the most powerful topical ingredients for synthesizing collagen production. Vitamin A (in the form of retinol and retinaldehyde) works its skin regenerating magic while you sleep. Aside from its collagen-promoting benefits, the right forms of vitamin A also regulate healthy cell turnover, keeping your skin looking fresh, radiant and glowing, all year round.

Vitamin C

A vitamin C serum works alongside vitamin A to promote collagen synthesis while brightening and protecting your skin. This protective quality is why it’s so important to wear your vitamin C during the day-it helps to shield your skin from free radical damage and UV collagen degradation. L-ascorbic acid is the most potent form of Vitamin C available but, it is also the most unstable, so make sure to choose a product in a powder form to mix directly into a water-based serum every morning.

2. Holistic Cosmetic Treatments to Stimulate Collagen

Microneedling

This non-invasive skin rejuvenation treatment uses microscopic needles to target a diverse range of skin concerns, such as acne scars, lines, and wrinkles. It is derived from ancient acupuncture techniques. It has minimal risk and shows long-term results in repairing and rejuvenating skin. The tiny needles glide along the skin, leaving tiny punctures in the epidermis and dermis that encourage the skin’s own natural healing response, which then stimulates the formation of collagen.

Cosmetic Acupuncture

Cosmetic acupuncture works in two ways: first, it helps the body let go of stress, which helps to restore and balance its equilibrium, while calming the mind. This sets the body up to heal and regenerate on its own terms, I have witnessed clients’ faces appear brighter and softer after releasing tension and stress in just one session.

Cosmetic acupuncture also targets the health and function of the skin more directly via tiny punctures that stimulate collagen production, much like microneedling mentioned above. Plus, cosmetic acupuncture addresses the signs of aging by refreshing and reawakening the skin with increased blood flow, oxygen and the life force energy known in Traditional Chinese Medicine as “chi”. This infusion of energy and oxygenated blood slows down the signs of aging and can soften the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

3. Supplements That Build Collagen

Collagen Supplements

There are over ten different types of collagen in our body and Type 1 collagen is the most abundant, making up almost 90% of this type of protein. Type 1 is considered to be the strongest form of collagen. Supplementing works both to boost our existing collagen, and to encourage our bodies to produce more. The most common sources of collagen are “marine” and “bovine” and both of these sources contain Type 1 collagen. Look for the term “hydrolyzed” on the label; this means that the collagen protein will be broken down into smaller peptides, making it easier to absorb. Collagen supplements typically come in a powder form that dissolves tastelessly into hot or cold liquids, making them very easy to incorporate into your routine.

Vitamin C Supplement

Our bodies require vitamin C to produce collagen. For your collagen supplement to be effective, taking vitamin C the same day is key. Eating lots of vitamin C-rich foods like citrus and berries is another great way to support your own collagen production.

4. Nutritional Foods That Support Collagen

Bone Broth

What once seemed like just another food trend doesn’t seem to go away anytime soon, and with good reason. Bone broth, a stock made primarily from the bones and connective tissue of animals or fish, is one of the best sources of natural collagen. Time and time again it has proven to be a transformational food that provides head-to-toe healing benefits. This collagen-rich food heals the gut lining, supports a healthy immune system, detoxifies the body and encourages healthy skin.

Spirulina

Spirulina is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and it is a powerful protein source for vegans and vegetarians. Remember, collagen is a protein, made up of amino acids; spirulina’s composition is around 65% amino acids, making it a must-have in any collagen-promoting program. Add a scoop of it to your morning smoothie and support your collagen with a great, vegan protein source.

Telang, P. S. (2013). Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatology Online Journal, 4(2), 143-146. http://doi.org/10.4103/2229-5178.110593

Mukherjee, S., Date, A., Patravale, V., Korting, H. C., Roeder, A., & Weindl, G. (2006). Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 1(4), 327-348.

Singh, A., & Yadav, S. (2016). Microneedling: Advances and widening horizons. Indian Dermatology Online Journal, 7(4), 244-254. http://doi.org/10.4103/2229-5178.185468