3 Collagen-Restoring Habits To Add To Your Nighttime Routine, ASAP
If the skin care space had a slogan, I bet it would be some version of the following: Protect during the day; repair while you rest. Your skin actually kicks into "repair mode" overnight, with a surge in HGH (human growth hormone) during the nighttime sleep cycle. The release of HGH helps rebuild body tissues1 and spurs increased cell production to invigorate and rejuvenate the dermis.
What does this mean? Your evening routine is the perfect time to integrate collagen-restoring habits. Your skin is already doing most of its cellular rejuvenation at night (collagen included), so why not give it an extra boost?
Ahead, find three easy habits to enhance collagen overnight and—dare I say?—achieve the skin of your dreams:
There's a reason it's considered the gold standard of skin aging treatments: Retinol has been shown to increase collagen production in the skin2, helping decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles3. "Retinol binds to retinoid receptors within skin cells," board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., tells mbg about the ingredient. This "activates genes that upregulate collagen production."
Retinol also helps accelerate your skin's natural turnover cycle, meaning it helps shed dead and damaged cells to make way for healthy, fully functioning new ones—and these young, spry cells are better able to produce collagen.
Not everyone can tolerate the vitamin A derivative, but you can find fairly gentle over-the-counter options to suit your skin type (we've listed a few of our favorites here). Just know that you should only use it at night and always wear SPF during the day, as retinol can cause photosensitivity.
If you already toss a scoop of collagen powder into your coffee, then good on you! However, we do realize that life happens, schedules get hectic, and sometimes you forget to swirl in your daily supplement.
Not to fret: You can take collagen any time of the day. "Collagen supplements seem to work equally well when taken at bedtime or in the morning," James Galligan, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, previously shared with mbg.
The most important thing is to take it daily to enhance your body's own collagen production4, support skin elasticity5, and make fine lines appear smaller—as for the time of day, well, that's totally up to you. If you'd like to whip up a skin-plumping nightcap, simply warm up your milk of choice, mix in your collagen powder (find our favorite blends here), and add any spices, sweeteners, or toppings you choose (cinnamon, nutmeg, cacao powder, etc.).
And there you have it: a sweet evening beverage that just might make your skin smoother, too.
You heard it here first: The best thing you can do for your nighttime routine is to hit the hay. It may sound painfully obvious, but still, so many of us are not prioritizing our beauty sleep.
Losing sleep increases cortisol (the infamous stress hormone), which can break down collagen over time—research has demonstrated a link between shut-eye and collagen production6, and if you lose sleep night after night, that deprivation can induce oxidative stress and lower your antioxidant defenses, making the body (and skin) vulnerable to oxidative damage. All the more reason to prioritize quality shut-eye, don't you think?
We know, we know, the quest for good sleep is much easier said than done. Just try your best to facilitate a restorative night's rest: Minimize your screen time, avoid late-afternoon caffeine, and curate a calming wind-down routine (including a collagen beverage?) to set yourself up for a quality snooze. If you need an extra nudge into dreamland, feel free to browse our list of natural sleep aids.
To repair your skin and restore collagen, consider adding these three habits into your daily regimen. Of course, hydration is vital, and you can always elevate your lineup with extra skin-loving steps, but if you really want to keep your complexion bouncy and plump, these collagen-supporting tips are a surefire way to start.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness 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 Wyld Skincare. 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 New York City.