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3 Reasons Your Skin Needs More Collagen—and How to Get It

Collagen is a key anti-aging ingredient for a plump complexion. Discover what it is, how it benefits your face and why you need it in your skin-care products.

You’ve definitely heard of collagen, but do you really know what it is or what it means for your skin? We didn’t think so. If you have any interest in maintaining youthful looking skin (or rejuvenating the skin you’ve got!), you need to read this collagen primer. Looking for healthy, taut skin? Right this way…

What is collagen?

Fibroblast cells make two types of proteins that are found in connective tissues, like tendons and ligaments, and the dermis of the skin: elastin (to make skin pliable and springy) and collagen. But what exactly does collagen do? Essentially, it gives skin a framework so that it’s strong and firm and holds its shape.

What are collagen’s top benefits?

If you want pretty skin, then you need collagen—no ifs, ands or buts. Someone who has high levels of the wonder protein (like that fresh-faced teen down the street) will have firm, plump skin—and who doesn’t secretly fantasize about maintaining a youthful glow for life? To look young, skin needs these important collagen benefits:

  1. Thickness – Thick skin is strong skin. It handles exfoliation (a key skin-care step for soft, smooth texture) and wounds like a champ and won’t look crepey or see-through.
  2. Plumpness – One of the key differences between the face of a child and the face of an elderly woman is the plumpness of their skin. Lots of healthy collagen is essential for plump skin that doesn’t droop or sag.
  3. Firming – We all want skin that keeps its shape and doesn’t fold, crease or wrinkle. High levels of collagen = tight skin that keeps its integrity.

What happens to collagen as we age?

Our fibroblasts stop working as effectively as we get older and experience intrinsic aging (caused by our genetics) and extrinsic aging (caused by environmental factors such as UV exposure and pollution, as well as bad habits like eating fast food and smoking). Plus, our elastin and collagen protein fibres break down and become lax (starting as early as 18!), which results in thinner skin that’s loose, droopy and wrinkled.

How can I boost my own collagen production?

Wondering how to prevent wrinkles and the degradation of skin over time? First things first: Avoid harmful habits that cause the breakdown of collagen fibres. If you have healthy collagen in the first place, you’ll have less work to do. So limit your sun exposure, wear sunscreen every single day, use products that have antioxidants to fight pollution and, if you can, limit your time in high-pollution cities. Also, do your best to get enough sleep, avoid smoking or exposure to cigarette smoke and eat a healthy diet that’s high in fresh fruits and veggies. 

Got your lifestyle in tip-top shape? Perfect. Now you can look for skin-care products to treat any concerns you’ve seen pop up, like sagging and fine lines. You need products that contain ingredients that boost collagen production (like retinol, vitamin C and glycolic acid) and creams or serums with collagen of a small molecular size so that it can be absorbed by the skin.

Want to give collagen cream a try? Here are some great picks:

L’Oréal Paris’s new Wrinkle Expert line contains targeted ingredients tailored to your age and skin-aging concerns. There’s an anti-wrinkle cream with Retino-Peptide for 45+, a day cream, night cream and eye cream with calcium for 55+ and an anti-fine-line moisturizer with collagen for 35+.

Try this cream when you’re in your 30s and 40s to treat the first signs of aging, including fine lines, loss of elasticity and dryness. After just one week of applying it, you’ll notice that your skin feels more elastic. After four weeks, lines will be visibly reduced.

Now you have the tools to maintain beautiful skin. All you have to do is use them.

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