Updated: Mar 25
Collagen is a big buzzword in the world of health and skincare, especially around anti-ageing.
So many celebrities, beauty experts and network marketers are recommending that everyone should be taking collagen supplements and slathering collagen based creams on their faces!
As a holistic therapist and facialist, I have other ideas, and I thought I would share these and my top tips for collagen boosting!
Despite the huge rise in Collagen products on offer in the market, and the “must have” marketing, many people are not entirely sure exactly what it is, what it does in their body or even if it is doing you any good!
So, after a conversation with someone who was trying to sell me collagen supplements today with the promise of healthy, youthful looking skin, I felt drawn to write this blog - I hope you find it of interest!
Let’s start at the beginning ......
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a powerful protein, naturally produced in our body from amino acids that come from the food that we eat. It accounts for about a third of the protein in our bodies, and provides the structure, strength and support framework for our cells and tissues – the glue holding us together in simple terms!
It plays a vital role in many of our major structures – our skin, hair, bones, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, and connective tissue.
So, why is collagen essential for our skin?
Well, collagen makes up around 80% of our skin. Together with elastin (another protein), it gives our skin strength and is vital for maintaining elasticity.
It is largely present in the middle layer of our skin (the dermis) and has many benefits – keeping it firm, plump and supple. It’s also essential in our skin’s natural renewal process, shedding old skin cells to make way for new ones.
What are the benefits of collagen for our face?
Collagen helps us to keep looking young through providing strength, elasticity and hydration that all make for that visibly youthful complexion.
This helps our skin to look:
Dewy and plump
Firm and smooth
Healthy and glowing
Supple (skin that bounces back)
Bright and revitalised, especially around your delicate eye area!
When we are young, our collagen levels are at their highest, which is why children have such smooth skin! As we mature, collagen levels naturally slow down, as our bodies are less able to produce it.
Image courtesy of Health Matters
When this starts to happen, our bodies aren’t able to replace the collagen that we lose as quickly as it breaks down and the collagen fibres in our bodies become thinner and weaker.
This is when the characteristic signs of ageing start to become visible.
Papery and sagging skin
Loss of Elasticity
Fine lines and wrinkes
Why I don’t recommend collagen supplements
If you think of the skin on your face like a factory producing collagen, then to increase production you need to ramp up the processes on the assembly line for optimum results!
No amount of collagen-based creams or collagen laden drinks and supplements will help notch up the collagen in your face, despite their promises. I am not saying that it may not help other parts of your body, or other conditions - what I am saying is that it is highly unlikely that it will have an impact on the signs of ageing on your face!
Collagen cannot be absorbed into your body, internally or externally – fact!
Collagen supplements are not actually collagen but components of it that are already broken down into more absorbable amino acids – the likelihood of these amino acids reaching the skin on your face is highly unlikely as your body will always direct it to parts of you that need more help, for example a damaged cartilage in your knee.
Quite apart from that, collagen supplements are generally made up of connective tissue and bones from cattle, chickens and fish. I don’t know about you, the idea of consuming such things makes my toes curl! Especially if it is not going to reduce my fine lines and wrinkles!
So how can you increase collagen in your skin without taking supplements?
There is good news, all is not lost!
There are a few ways we can help stimulate the production of collagen in our skin when it slows down – even for more mature skin.
You need to do the work!
If you want increase your skin’s collagen levels, you’re going to need to help your body to make more!
Here are my 5 top tips to help your body produce more collagen the natural way to help fight the signs of ageing on your face!
1. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is always a good idea to flush out toxins and keep your complexion clear. Keeping your skin hydrated also helps provide a skin barrier for water loss. Collagen is able to bind to water and can naturally condition your skin to help maintain moisture levels which leaves you with brighter-looking, more even looking skin
2. Eat well
Eating the right nutrients not only nourishes our bodies, it helps make more collagen. Protein rich foods like salmon, chicken, pork and egg yolks are a great choice. Look at ways to boost your intake of vitamin C too. Without vitamin C, your body can’t form, store or synthesise collagen. Foods like broccoli, brussels sprouts, strawberries and pineapple are all high in vitamin C.
3. Make some lifestyle changes
Try to cut out or reduce things that inhibit the production of collagen and accelerate skin ageing. Smoking & vaping is a big one, as it limits the blood supply to your face, which keeps your skin looking supple and healthy. Sun damage is another factor to avoid – buy yourself a sun hat.
UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis (that middle layer of our skin) and can damage collagen fibres. Excess sugar and alcohol can also deplete collagen levels.
4. Facial Massage
Massaging the skin on your face can help stimulate collagen production and strengthen muscle memory. If your muscles in your face are more toned they will be better at retaining skin tightness and blood will be circulated around the skin helping to achieve a glowing complexion.
You can do this yourself or book in for facial or even a natural face lift massage.
You could even try facial yoga – I follow Danielle Collins on Instagram – she is the Face Yoga Expert and has great yoga moves for your face, which are super fun too!
5. Incorporate collagen boosting products into your skincare routine.
Consider including products with the following ingredients to your skincare routine – the more, the merrier!
Hyaluronic acid is possibly the most skin friendly ingredient ever to be used in skincare products. In fact, if you are not already using this in your daily routine, then start doing so now!
Despite its name, it’s not actually an acid in the typical sense and is naturally present in your body’s connective tissue.
It is a key component in helping to support the collagen and elastin fibres in your dermis (the proteins that give the middle layer of your skin its structure and strength).
Whilst the molecules in Hyaluronic acid applied to your skin, in serum and moisturisers, are too large to sink through your epidermis (top layer of our skin) into our dermis, they help to saturate the top layer of your skin with moisture, plumping up your cells, softening fine lines and wrinkles, whilst smoothing and sealing the cracks to keep the moisture in your dermis from evaporating and a drought occurring meaning collagen production is greatly hindered!
Eve Taylor Hydrating Serum with Hyaluronic Acid is a light fluid gel serum that rapidly absorbs into the skin to plump and hydrate the skin. Fine lines are eased as skin is rehydrated and skin texture is left soft and silky with no tacky after feel.
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, and has been proven to induce collagen formation. It does this by stimulating the fibroblasts (connective tissue) to pump out more collagen fibres. It also helps decrease the degradation of the collagen that already exists in skin.
Eve Taylor London’s Retinoid Renew Complex is a multi-targeted serum with vitamin A to increase the skins renewal process, in turn smoothing epidermal texture for a refreshed and refined appearance.
This easily absorbed formulation improves skin density and enhances its ability to retain moisture, improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin C is the superstar of antioxidants. It prevents free radicals from wreaking havoc on skin, while also working to stimulate collagen synthesis and decrease melanin formation over time (ie. your skin ends up firmer with fewer dark spots).
Free radicals are toxic by-products of oxygen metabolism that can cause significant damage to living cells and tissues in a process called "oxidative stress.". The vitamins and minerals the body uses to counteract oxidative stress are called antioxidants.
Eve Taylor Brightening Serum is a light gel serum that hydrates the skin while providing a potent 15% concentration of Vitamin C to brighten the skin and give a natural radiance, whilst neutralising damaging free radicals and supporting the skins structure.
The Retinoid Renew Complex also contains Vitamin C rich botanicals, which brighten uneven skin tone and promote a healthy, radiant complexion.
AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)
As you age, your skin becomes thinner and drier, and that doesn’t mean it’s time to forgo exfoliation. Now more than ever, you need to be choosy about the method by which you get rid of pore-clogging, skin-dulling dead cells. Manual scrubs will be more likely to inflame already sensitive complexions. Instead, opt for a chemical exfoliant to remove surface cells gently.
Consistent use of an AHA like Eve Taylor Resurfacing Cream Exfoliant does much more than remove dead skin cells, unclog pores and uncover fresh, glowing skin. AHA’s also help ramp up collagen production, which leads to fewer lines and firmer skin in the years ahead.
If you have hypersensitive skin, you should avoid AHA’s.
And finally, yet most importantly – SPF.
Sunscreen alone does not encourage your body to make more collagen, but it does prevent collagen loss. UV rays are like kryptonite for collagen fibres – they weaken the strands and break them apart, undoing all your work trying to build more collagen through topical ingredient application.
At a very minimum, you should apply an SPF of at least 30 every single day, and throughout the day when required. There are lots of different products on the market – I recommend both of these, which I use in my facial therapies – Eve Taylor Moisturising Day Cream with SPF30 and Eve Taylor C+Bright Priming Moisturiser SPF30.
So there you have it, you have got to the end! Well done! Your skin will thank you!
If you would like to chat about what products or treatments would work for your skin and kickstart your collagen assembly line, then please don't hesitate to get in touch - I am always happy to help.
Much love, Fiona x