Both Collagen & Hyaluronic Acid Drop Dramatically By Your 50s — How To Deal, According To Research
Our skin goes through lots of changes throughout our lifetime. When we're young we may experience more sebum production and breakouts. During pregnancy, folks may have that effervescent glow thanks to a surge of hormones in the body. Times of high stress may trigger dullness or even increased sensitivity because the skin barrier may not be as able to repair and replenish itself.
That's why it's so important to learn what's happening with your skin, so you can be better prepared and adept to care for it—no matter what stage you are at in life. For example, those in their 50s may want to pay special attention to supporting their collagen and hyaluronic acid levels.
Both collagen & hyaluronic acid drop by your 50s — what it means & how to deal.
As we age, the proteins, lipids, and molecules that make up our skin barrier and structure decline. Our bodies naturally produce their own supply of collagen, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, squalene (etc.) throughout our lifetimes. But the rate of this production slowly reduces, until the body can no longer make enough to restore the natural levels and they begin to taper off. And thus, we see the results: increased dryness and loss of firmness.
For most, this decline starts in the 20s (it's different for everyone and is influenced by lifestyle, skin care habits, and genetics). For collagen and hyaluronic acid, in particular, there's a pretty dramatic decline by our 50s.
In fact, research shows that our natural reserve of hyaluronic acid is cut in half by the time we hit our 50s1. For collagen, there's a steady rate of decline of about 1% every year until menopause (for those who experience it), at which point there's a 30% drop in collagen in the skin, which is then leveled out to a 2% decline postmenopause.
That's why some people may experience significant changes in their skin during this time and may look to adjust their skin care routines accordingly.
For topical routines, hyaluronic acid serums can help temporarily replenish humectants in the skin. These attract and hold water in the epidermis, providing a plumping and hydrating effect. Collagen can be supported through vitamin C serums, as well as retinols. Of course, sun protection should be a vital step, if it's not already.
For internal skin care support, supplements can help promote skin hydration, elasticity, and firmness. Collagen supplements can support your natural production of collagen by feeding the body amino acids, which are the building blocks of collagen. Some collagen supplements even contain other actives such as vitamin C to promote collagen production. Hyaluronic acid supplements have also gained popularity since they help supply humectants to the body. If you're in the market for either (or even looking for a two-in-one option) check out our roundup or our favorite beauty supplements.
Understanding how to care for your skin means you need to know what's happening to it at any given stage of life. And for those around your 50s, you may have noticed sagging or dryness, which can be attributed to the decline of collagen and hyaluronic acid in the body. Luckily there are topical and internal ways to help your skin should you be looking for support.
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.