Is Lost Collagen Lost Forever?

Published: Mar 2018 Updated: Jun 2021
Dr. Ailynne Marie Mendoza Vergara-Wijangco

bye-bye blackheads

As we age we lose collagen. As we lose collagen we get sagging skin and wrinkles. Luckily all may not be lost. Find out what you can do to help bring it back.

Collagen Loss - When it Goes is it Gone for Good?

Collagen protein loss is yet another one of those unfortunately noticeable effects of aging –think sagging skin and wrinkles 1. Chances are you’ve heard about collagen used as a beauty booster, particularly in lip injections. It’s also in a slew of topical creams, serums and glosses. But do these “wonder products” actually work to help bring back the collagen?

Before we tackle that part, we should get to know a little more about the collagen benefits for skin.

What Is Collagen Made Of?

Scientifically speaking, collagen is the major insoluble fibrous protein in our connective tissue2. So basically the role of collagen is to act as a glue that holds everything together (fun fact: the word collagen was inspired by the Greek word kolla, which literally means glue) 3.

Why Is It So Important?

Collagen is incredibly multi-talented. It gives our skin its strength and elasticity. It helps our nails stay strong. It makes our hair shine and our skin glow. It also makes up 30% of the protein in our bodies and 70% of the protein in our skin 4 .

Who is Most Affected?

Men and women are affected about the same, but if you expose yourself to the collagen killers, it may be depleting even quicker. These no-nos include smoking, sunbathing, stress and poor diet 5 - the usual suspects.

When Do You Start Losing Collagen?

It actually starts as early as your 20s, especially if you indulge in any of the aforementioned collagen killers. Unfortunately you continue to lose it at the rate of approximately 1% each year 6.

Is There Any Hope?

The good news is, though you may not be able to bring back the lost collagen, there are ways to help get things moving and slow further loss. With the right skin care products and treatments outside and in, there’s so much you can do to get back that spring back in your skin.

Vitamin C

This potent antioxidant wonder is the basis for so many beauty products, and for good reason. It’s been known to help with every skin condition from hyperpigmentation to UV damage and aging 7. It’s also the only antioxidant that’s been proven to increase collagen synthesis 8 . Wonder vitamin, indeed.

A Colourful Diet

You don’t need to buy expensive pills and powders to help with collagen production. In fact, you should look no further than your own kitchen for the best internal nutrient source. Here are the top foods that encourage collagen production and help protect skin from further damage.

Red Vegetables – Tomatoes, beets and red peppers are high in the antioxidant lycopene.

Lycopene – Helps protect skin while preserving collagen levels. You can also find lycopene in watermelon and pink grapefruits.

Dark Leafy Greens – As we’ve just learned, Vitamin C can help topically, but it can also protect collagen from within. Think kale and spinach, both incredible sources of this powerful vitamin 9 .

Orange Roots – Want a tremendous source of Vitamin A? Go underground and get your fill of carrots and sweet potatoes to help restore and regenerate lost collagen.

Citrus Fruits – Aside from being another great source of Vitamin C, citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and limes have the ability to help the amino acids lysine and proline convert to collagen 10 .

Garlic – Though not as colourful looking as it is smelling, garlic is a powerhouse of collagen fans. It offers lipoic acid and taurine, both of which help rebuild damaged collagen. It’s also considered a sulphur, which is highly important for collagen synthesis in the body 11.

To help your body do its best production of collagen, you can't go wrong with high-collagen animal or plant foods, or vitamin and mineral-rich fruits and vegetables.

If you don't like the foods listed, remember there's no one source. A diet full of protein-rich foods, whether from plant or animal sources, can help supply these critical amino acids.

Other nutrients that aid the process of collagen production include zinc, vitamin C, and copper. So fruits and vegetables high in vitamins and minerals are also a friend to supple skin. 

And, for even more dramatic results, be sure to stay away from too much sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can cause inflammation and damage collage.

Most every beauty regimen touts some form of exfoliating (unless you have ultra sensitive skin). That’s because of its incredible ability to make skin look brighter. Exfoliating is the process of removing the topmost layer of dead skin cells so naturally once the dullness is out of the way, skin can start to repair itself, stimulating collagen along the way.

Another great benefit of exfoliating is that it actually helps with the efficacy of your skin care products. Once the dead top layer is out of the way, products can penetrate much deeper into the skin’s surface 12 .
This isn’t something you’ll want to do daily as too much exfoliation can irritate the skin but getting into a routine of exfoliating once or twice a week is good idea. 

So you see, all is not lost when it comes to collagen reproduction. Though it’s tougher to control as the years pass, it’s good to know that a healthy diet and a great skin care regimen can go a long way. As always, talk to your dermatologist to see what products work best for your skin type. And don’t forget the sunscreen.

If you're looking for a new skin care routine, try Riversol's free 15 day sample kit. Formulated for sensitive skin of all skin types, this sample is enough to see if Riversol works for you. Each kit comes with a sample of our glycolic peel.


  1. Am J Pathol. (2006) Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin.
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  2. NCBI Molecular Cell Biology: 4 th Edition. Collagen: The Fibrous Protein of the Matrix.
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  3. EJ Kelly (2009) Collagen : ubiquitous, unsung protein. Retrieved from:
  4. Derm101 (2018) Embryologic, Histologic, and Anatomic Aspects. Retrieved from: and-anatomic-
  5. James McIntosh (2017) Collagen: What is it and what are its uses? Retrieved from:
    6.Dermatoendocrinol (2012) Skin anti-aging strategies. Retrieved from:
  6. Indian Dermatol Online J. (2013) Vitamin C in Dermatology. Retrieved from:
  7. Aesthetic Surgery Journal (1998) Topical Vitamin C in Skin Care. Retrieved from:
  8. Dermatoendocrinol. (2012) Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging.
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  9. Health Central. (2009) How to Increase Collagen by Eating the Right Foods. Retrieved
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  10. Gretchen Lidicker (2017) Will taking a Collagen Supplement Really Transform My Skin?
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    supplement-really- transform-my- skin.html
  11. 12. American Academy of Dermatology (2015) Evaluate before you exfoliate. Retrieved
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  1. Collagen Loss - When it Goes is it Gone for Good?
  2. What Is Collagen Made Of?
  3. Why Is It So Important?
  4. Who is Most Affected?
  5. When Do You Start Losing Collagen?
  6. Is There Any Hope?
  7. The Daily Skincare Routine That Promotes Collagen Production