3 Tips For Collagen Banking, Or The Secret To Securing Firmer Skin For Longer
Collagen is the key to firm, tight, supple, skin. Treat yours like it is literally gold—because it really is that valuable for youthful-looking skin. And as with any precious asset, you'll want to multiply your investment.
Enter collagen banking, or the concept of stimulating more collagen now so your body can use more of it later. The extra collagen support can keep signs of skin aging (fine lines, crepiness, and the like) from cropping up earlier than you'd like. Think of it like a collagen savings account! How's that for a finance crash course?
Find a few ways to boost your collagen levels below. It's never a bad idea to start saving…
Take collagen supplements
One of the best things you can do for your natural collagen reserves is to add even more fuel to the tank. Yes, collagen supplements do work: You just have to find an effective, clinically backed formula—namely, one with hydrolyzed collagen peptides.
See, these special peptides have been shown to help promote the body's natural production of collagen1 and other molecules that make up the skin, like elastin and fibrillin. As a result, research shows they are able to support skin elasticity and dermal collagen density2.
How long does it take to see results? For skin benefits, research points to 12 weeks: This study, for example, found that participants taking a collagen supplement experienced enhanced skin elasticity, hydration, and density3. Another one found smoother skin texture4 at both six and 12 weeks, with significant results5 at the latter.
Try LED light therapy
Research suggests that LED light therapy can help improve collagen production6 in the body. One study even found that patients receiving red light therapy on their face twice a week for 30 total sessions experienced improved skin complexion7, skin tone, skin smoothness, and collagen density (as measured with an ultrasonographic test).
The thing is, there are plenty of knockoffs in the skin care space. To make sure you have a quality collagen-promoting device, look for clinical studies, a stamp of FDA approval, and, ideally, praise from derms and estheticians. Or you can browse our favorite options here—we did the vetting for you.
Protect with SPF & antioxidants
If you're not protecting your body's precious collagen, all the high-quality supplements and high-tech devices in the world just won't help.
Smart sun care is critical, as UV exposure is one of the primary causes of collagen decline. In fact, one study observed collagen under UV light and found that there was a "significant decrease" in collagen structure afterward8. This is because UV rays contribute oxidative stress in the skin9, which affects skin at the cellular level and leads to photoaging. All the more reason to invest in a daily sunscreen and practice smart sun care habits (read: no sunbathing for sport).
"Vitamin C is a key cofactor in the synthesis of collagen and elastin, [which help] give your skin that plump and youthful appearance," adds Keira Barr, M.D., dual board-certified dermatologist and mindbodygreen Collective member. That's why some star collagen supplements include vitamin C in their formulas—but you can slather on the antioxidant topically, too. Here, find our favorite serums.
I'm no accounting whiz, but the idea of preparing my collagen before it dwindles sounds like a solid plan. Ideally, you'd start in your mid-20s (the tipping point when your collagen starts to diminish), but anyone can use these tips to delay the inevitable decline. That said, here are some collagen-restoring tips to replenish your levels.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.