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how to boost collagen in skin

How to Boost Collagen in Skin

collagen powderFew anti-aging ingredients get as much attention as collagen. From serums to moisturizers, collagen has been widely used in skincare in an effort to restore youthful skin. Skincare companies are making some lofty anti-aging promises about collagen creams to entice consumers and are cashing in! Despite some genius marketing claims, applying collagen topically has not been scientifically shown to stimulate collagen at a cellular level. Collagen production is indeed a key component to anti-aging and definitely has its place in the skincare world, but it is not quite where and how you might think. Here are some effective ways to boost collagen in skin, and no, they do not not include a collagen cream.

It’s Everywhere!

It seems like you can’t turn a cosmetic store corner these days without seeing some sort of collagen products: skincare, powders and supplements. The benefits of collagen are indeed compelling, as collagen is crucial to overall skin health and for achieving that vibrant glow. Unfortunately, however, slathering a collagen-rich cream on your face isn’t going to do much for wrinkles, elasticity or really anything for that matter. Let us tell you why.


Person with moisturizer on faceWhat is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein found in our bodies and has many essential responsibilities, like bone strengthening, skin structure, hydration and elasticity. It also plays a major role in keeping our skin looking youthful, supple and healthy.

When collagen levels are high, the skin is soft, smooth, and firm. Collagen helps the skin cells renew and repair themselves. Collagen also helps keep the skin moist. This is why collagen has been seen as a very important ingredient for skin care over the years. (1)

How Do We Lose Collagen?

Our bodies naturally produce less collagen with age, resulting in many common signs of aging: wrinkles, sagging skin and loss of firmness. Secondly, we can also experience a loss of collagen in response to poor lifestyle choices, like sun exposure, smoking and poor diet.

Collagen Creams – A Waste of Money?

Research continues to show that applying collagen topically is not effective at improving skin conditions and stopping wrinkles because collagen molecules are too large to cross over the layers of skin to be absorbed into the skin. Most collagen creams on the market claiming to boost collagen levels are actually useless and a waste of money.

Hydrolyzed Collagen

Hydrolyzed collagen is collagen that has been broken down into smaller, easy-to-process amino acids that can reach into skin and penetrate rapidly. This tiny version of collagen is an excellent skincare ingredient because of its ability to get deep into the skin. Being smaller & more dissolvable helps skin easily hold onto moisture and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and overall skin tone and texture.

“When a collagen supplement is hydrolyzed, the collagen has been broken down, making it easier for you to absorb,” says Robinson. From there, the broken-down collagen peptides travel throughout the body; in the case of skin, they help support your body’s natural collagen production. (2) – Board-certified dermatologist Deanne Mraz Robinson, M.D.

person looking at skin in the mirrorHow to Boost Collagen in Skin


Eat your way to healthy skin! Consuming foods that are collagen-rich can help boost collagen.

  • Foods like bone broth, animal meats, eggs, and fish.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods, like avocados and fatty fish.
  • Foods full of zinc, like mushrooms and nuts.
  • Include Vitamin C rich foods, like berries, citrus, tomatoes, leafy greens and broccoli.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is vital for collagen production and gives skin a healthy, bright glow. It protects skin against environmental stressors, like damaging UV rays, and promotes the formation of collagen in skin.

Did You Know? Antioxidants are collagen’s body guards because they neutralize damaging free radicals.

Dietary and topical ascorbic acid have beneficial effects on skin cells, and some studies have shown that vitamin C may help prevent and treat ultraviolet (UV)-induced photodamage. (3)


Peptides are small chains of amino acids that make up proteins, including collagen, in our bodies. When applied topically, peptides are absorbed by the skin and act as messengers signal skin cells to produce more collagen and elastin, plumping and firming skin appearance.


Brown algae, red algae and kelp are loaded with essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can boost skin’s natural collagen production that help nourish and moisturize skin because they act as antioxidants and protect elastic skin fibres and improve collagen quality. (4)

Your skin absorbs up to 60% of what is topically applied, however algae is able to build a delivery system right to the bloodstream. Applying seaweed to the skin you directly nourish the dermal layers and can re-mineralize the body. (5)

Introducing Exfoliation into your skincare routine

Topical retinols, retinoids and glycolic acid increase cell turnover and collagen production. When you encourage exfoliation, old outer-layer skin cells are removed and new ones form, naturally replenishing collagen.

Glycolic acid stimulates fibroblasts in the dermis to produce increased amounts of collagen, nd by stimulating collagen production, it helps skin feel firmer and minimizes fine lines and wrinkles.” (6) Kenneth Howe, M.D.

Speak with your dermatologist before using retinol, as some find it too irritating and it can increase skin’s sensitivity.

Red Light Therapy

Red Light Therapy (RLT) is a procedure that uses low wavelength red light to safely penetrate through skin’s layers to be absorbed by its cells, which can jumpstart the stimulation of collagen. It can promote healing and improve elastin, leading to a brightening effect in skin.

Red light therapy allows skin cells to protect existing collagen and elastin, and to increase collagen production, thereby reversing the effects of aging.(7)

It can be performed by a professional or with an at-home device. Make sure to do your homework before purchasing an at-home device to ensure the range of frequency is between 600 to 900 nanometer.

Sun Protection

Sun exposure accelerates aging and collagen fiber breakdown, causing premature aging and wrinkles. Protect your skin’s existing collagen and from further collagen breakdown by using daily sun protection – a minimum of SPF 30 every day.

how to boost collagen with sun protection
Photo as by Beautiful Canadian Laser and Skincare Clinic




(1) Ways to get healthier looking skin by boosting collagen levels. Medical News Today.

(2) What is Hydrolyzed Collagen. Mind Body Green.

(3) Vitamin C and Skin Health. Linus Pauling Institute. Oregon State University.

(4) Skin Still Adjusting to Spring? Slather on an Ultra-Hydrating Algae Serum. Well and Good.

(5) What is the Best Seaweed to Use for Skincare? Seaflora Skincare.

(6) Glycolic Acid what does it do. Glamour.

(7) What are the benefits of red light therapy? Rouge Canada.

(8) How to increase collagen production for healthier, younger-looking skin. Beautiful Canadian: Laser & Skincare clinic.

(9) Skin Health. Health-Disease. Oregon State University.

(10) Collagen-like peptide exhibits a remarkable antiwrinkle effect on the skin when topically applied: in vivo study. PubMed. E Bauza 1G ObertoA BerghiC Farra DalN Domloge

(11) Immediate and Long-term Clinical Benefits of a Topical Treatment for Facial Lines and Wrinkles. PubMed. Trookman, MD, Rizer, PHD, Ford, BA, Ho, BS,  Gotz, MS PHARMc

(12) Effect of vitamin C and its derivatives on collagen synthesis and cross-linking by normal human fibroblasts. PubMed. N Boyera 1I GaleyB A Bernard

(13) Vitamin C in dermatology. PubMed. Pumori Saokar Telang

(14) Red Light Therapy May Actually Be the Fountain of Youth. Glamour.

(15) Low-level light therapy of the eye and brain. DovePress. Rojas, Gonzalez-Lima F.

(16) Five Factors To Consider When Choosing A Red Light Therapy Device. Aesthetic Bureau.

(17) Does Collagen Work In Serums & Creams? What You Need to Know. Barr. Mbg Lifestyle. MindBodyGreen.

(18)Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments. PubMed.  Zasada and Budzisz