Collagen is the greatest supporter of your skin’s health. It’s the major insoluble fibrous protein that helps your connective tissue withstand stretching and sagging and keeps your skin firm and bouncy. That’s why nighttime treatments often have actives such as retinol or glycolic acid which can stimulate a collagen response, and why experts often recommend vitamin C serums that can synthesize production and protect the cells you have.
We lose collagen naturally as we age, but things like UV exposure and stress can accelerate its decline which results in signs of premature aging like sagging and wrinkles. What you eat also has a major effect on your collagen production and retention. These are the top three foods to incorporate into your diet to support your natural collagen levels, according to Whitney Bowe, M.D., board-certified dermatologist.
Citrus fruits are full of vitamin C, which your skin needs “in order to synthesize collagen.” Vitamin C stimulates collagen production and stabilizes the collagen you already have, reducing wrinkles overall. Just another reason to squeeze some lemon into your water in the morning.
“Eggs, specifically the whites, contain glycine and proline amino acids, which is what makes up collagen,” Bowe explains. You can support your collagen by being intentional with your amino acid consumption and indulging in an egg white omelet.
Nuts aren’t just a great source of protein. They also have zinc, which “supports your fibroblasts, which are the cells that create the collagen,” says Bowe. Zinc also works as an antioxidant and helps to neutralize free radicals, offering more protection for skin fats.