3 Everyday Foods That Can Boost Collagen In The Skin, According To This Top Derm
When it comes to glowing, youthful skin, it's all eyes on collagen. Just about everything we do in healthy aging skin care can, on some level, be traced back to the structural protein. It's why nighttime treatments contain actives like retinol or glycolic acid, as those can stimulate a collagen response. Or why experts rave about vitamin C serums, as they can synthesize production and protect your current cells. And why in-office treatments—like red light therapy, lasers, and peels—have collagen-boosting benefits.
See, collagen is like the scaffolding1 for your skin. It's what makes your face firm, bouncy, and resilient, all at the same time. But as you age, it declines, as well as because of things like UV exposure, diet, and stress: We credit most signs of premature aging—such as sagging and wrinkles—to its reduction and aged fibroblasts2. So you can see why so much effort is put into optimizing your collagen output and production.
Of course, collagen maximization is not just topicals. What you consume plays a huge role in collagen production and protection. And in a recent TikTok video, board-certified dermatologist and mbg Collective member Whitney Bowe, M.D., shares her top three foods to consume to support your natural collagen levels:
When you think of citrus fruit, you should think of vitamin C. "Your skin requires vitamin C in order to synthesize collagen, so go ahead and squeeze that lemon in your water,"* she says. It doesn't just stimulate collagen production; it stabilizes the collagen3 you have, leading to overall wrinkle reduction.*
Amino acids are the building blocks for proteins. And each type of protein—like collagen in the skin or keratin in the hair—has a different amino acid makeup. So being intentional with your amino acid breakdown can help you get specific with your goals. "Eggs, specifically the whites, contain glycine and proline amino acids, which is what makes up collagen," she says.
"Go nuts for nuts! They contain zinc, and zinc actually supports your fibroblasts, which are the cells that create the collagen," she says. In fact, this mineral can work as an antioxidant too, helping to neutralize free radicals4, protecting skin fats and those precious fibroblasts.
What else can you do? Collagen supplements.
Listen, we believe in a well-rounded, holistic approach to skin care. And a vital part of that is a robust diet as your foundation. But we also believe you can support this with smart, thoughtful supplementation, too.*
Collagen supplements are made of hydrolyzed collagen peptides, which when ingested travel throughout the body to support production where needed.* Yes, skin included. The research 5shows that these collagen peptides are able to support skin elasticity and dermal collagen density5.* How exactly? Well, hydrolyzed collagen peptides have been shown to help promote your body's natural production of collagen6 and other molecules that make up the skin, like elastin and fibrillin.*
If you're concerned about keeping your skin looking youthful and firm for longer, one of the most important things you can do is to focus on your natural collagen production. You can do this through topicals, of course, but you'll also want to focus on what you're ingesting.*
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.