How to increase collagen production

If elastin gives the skin spring, collagen plumps it up. Or lack thereof – because as we age, our bodies make less of this protein which structures the skin.

“We all have a limited collagen bank that begins to run out from the age of 25,” says Dr. Sophie Shotter, skin and aesthetic expert and founder of Illuminate skin clinic. “The more we top up this account, the better our skin will age. ”

The market for products that promise to increase our collagen is huge, with the new cohort of “collagen creams” appearing to be a good place to start. But unfortunately it’s not that simple, explains Dr Sonia Khorana, a general practitioner with a particular interest in dermatology.

Do skin care and collagen supplements work?

“Collagen skin care products are huge right now, but it’s important to note that collagen is a big molecule. It is unlikely that it will be absorbed into your skin and be unable to find its way to the dermis where you really need it. Dr. Khorana adds that collagen skin care can help your skin feel hydrated – but it won’t create new collagen in your body.

So if the benefits of topical collagen are misleading, what about unmanageable collagen – another category that is currently gaining a buzz in the beauty world. Sophie Rose of Holland & Barrett reveals: “Collagen supplements have been one of our strongest areas of growth, with sales up 63% in the past 12 months. From capsules and gummies to coffee creams, there are countless options that inspire us to try them.

The Positive Aging Plan: The Expert Guide to Healthy, Beautiful Skin at Any Age

“The idea is that when you take them, the building blocks of collagen flood the system and make the body think it needs to repair and regenerate itself,” says aesthetic doctor Dr Vicky Dondos in her new book, The Positive Aging Plan. “Whether the collagen you take leads to more collagen in the skin, I’m not 100% convinced.”

Qualified nutritionist Clarissa lenherr is more optimistic, saying Bazaar: “A randomized, double-blind, placebo study showed that after eight weeks of taking collagen, participants experienced increased skin hydration and, after 12 weeks, decreased collagen breakdown.” But as she points out, there are many factors that come with supplements that affect how well they are taken, including “the bioavailability of the nutrient, the method of administration, absorption and individual use.”

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If you want to try supplementing, Lenherr recommends choosing a product that contains hydrolyzed collagen (like absolute collagen), a form that is easier to digest and absorb into the bloodstream.

What Dr Dondos considers most important, however, is what not use. “Avoid sugar and high GI foods,” she advises. “The process of glycation makes collagen fibers stiff and extremely difficult for your body to repair or replace.” To avoid this “sugar slump”, know that “it has been shown that” a significant decrease in sugar in your diet for just four months has been shown to reduce the formation of glycated collagen by 25 percent “.

In addition to being virtuous with your diet, there are other proven methods to increase your collagen production: specific care ingredients that will work on the upper layers of the skin and professional treatments that work at a deeper level by stimulating healing responses.

“In my opinion, the best results always come from a multimodal approach, using a combination of products and treatments,” says Dr. Shotter. She likens a good skin care system to an exercise program – “it’s great and you keep your skin in shape. But if you also have clinical treatments, the equivalent of a personal trainer, you can boost these results and do more ”. Likewise, there is no point in simply having the personal trainer without exercising in between. “Home skin care is essential,” she confirms.

Here, skin specialists explain the professional products and treatments they recommend for collagen stimulation.

The best skincare ingredients for collagen stimulation

When selecting your home care treatments, Dr. Khorana confirms that these three ingredients can help with collagen production:

Vitamin A derivatives / retinoids

“There is a lot of evidence that retinoids upregulate genes and cells involved in the production of collagen and elastin fibers and inhibit the synthesis of collagenase (the enzyme that breaks down collagen).

“Tretinoin is the most studied and prescribed synthetic derivative of the retinoid family and its topical application has been shown to improve the appearance of photoaged skin by stimulating the production of new collagen in the dermal layer of the skin. ”

Vitamin C

“Topical vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid in concentrations between 5 and 15% has been shown to have an anti-aging effect by inducing enzymes important for collagen production. “


“Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is frequently used at a five percent concentration as an anti-aging agent. In vitro studies [those occurring in a controlled environment] suggest that niacinamide increases the production of dermal collagen and slows the binding of glucose and proteins in the skin, which leads to crosslinked molecules such as crosslinked collagen. While the collagen itself gives elasticity to the skin, the crosslinked collagen molecules are stiff and rigid and therefore reduce the elasticity of the skin.

If you want a streamlined way to include these ingredients in your regimen, look for a product that combines vitamin C and niacinamide for the day, like Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum (worn on top of SPF); and a retinoid with niacinamide for the evening, such as Dr Sam’s Flawless Night Serum.

You can also find the best products with retinoids, vitamin C and niacinamide in our respective sections dedicated to each ingredient linked here.

The best professional treatments for collagen stimulation

Dr. Shotter adds that there are a number of non-invasive treatments used in clinics for collagen stimulation. Here are his favorite methods:


“LED uses red and near infrared light to stimulate fibroblast cells in the skin. It’s completely non-invasive and it’s a very relaxing treatment to have.

Microneedling and radiofrequency

“Profound RF is a powerful collagen stimulating treatment combining microneedling and radiofrequency. It projects small needles into the skin that transmit radio frequency, which momentarily heats the tissue, stimulating optimal denaturation of skin proteins. The result is a doubling of collagen levels, a fivefold increase in elastin, and increased levels of hyaluronic acid.


“Lasers can also be used for collagen stimulation. Generally speaking, the best results will come from resurfacing lasers when looking to promote collagen production to treat acne scars, for example.


“Profhilo is a hyaluronic acid treatment that we inject into the skin. We administer it to defined points, from where it spreads through the skin like liquid honey and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. We do two or more treatments, each four to six weeks apart.


“We also know that hyaluronic acid-based fillers stimulate collagen production, although they do so to a lesser extent than fillers designed to stimulate collagen as well as provide volume. Products like this include Radiesse and Elanse, which contain ingredients like calcium hydroxyapatite or polycapronolactone that stimulate collagen production over a period of several months.

As with all professional treatments, only visit qualified, reputable and experienced practitioners. For injectable treatments, consult regulatory agencies BAAPS and BAPRAS for tips, and below, see Bazaaris the guide to some of the best in the business.

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