This Is The Age You Should Start Taking Collagen, Experts Say
If you asked a skin care expert to identify the best products for a 20-year-old, their list would likely look different from their preferred lineup for a 60-year-old. This is because as you age, certain skin concerns come to the surface as others dissolve. For example, the 20-something may need more support with oil control and blemishes, while the older individual might want to focus more on keeping their skin's moisture levels up to par.
However, there is one healthy aging step experts say not to skip—and you should start as early as your 20s. While 20-year-olds don't necessarily need to sprint toward products for aging skin just yet, here's the one thing everyone should have in their arsenal.
Why you should start taking collagen supplements in your 20s.
You may think ignorance is bliss, but when it comes to skin care, addressing potential concerns early on is key. That said, you should know that your natural collagen production begins to slow down around the age of 20—so experts say to start supplementing ASAP.
Research indicates that once someone hits a certain point in their 20s, some earlier and some later, their natural collagen production will begin to decrease by 1% each year1. And once people hit menopause, they experience a 30% drop in collagen2 in the first five years, with a 2% dip every year after that. When this process begins will vary depending on genetics, but nobody is exempt from aging skin.
Your body naturally balances collagen production and degradation, but the balance shifts with age. "When we are young, our bodies produce more collagen than we break down. That balance tips the wrong way with age since tissue regeneration decreases," Gary Goldenberg, M.D., previously told mbg.
Of course, age is not the only culprit when it comes to collagen degradation. Factors such as UV exposure3, smoking, and stress can all accelerate an overall decline in collagen. Those are factors you can somewhat control (stop smoking, protect your skin from excess sun exposure, and try your best to manage your stress), while aging is a natural process that happens to everyone. In this case, supplying your body with hydrolyzed collagen peptides (found in mindbodygreen's beauty and gut collagen+) can help you maintain a youthful skin texture.*
Now, if you already have deep, preformed wrinkles in the skin, then collagen alone likely won't take that away. But for those who are dealing with fainter fine lines, collagen supplements can support your body's natural collagen production endogenously, which may be able to help ease those etchings.* After all, research shows taking collagen supplements can support skin hydration, elasticity, and wrinkles4—all of which are essential for healthy skin aging.*
If there's one universal product that fits in everyone's skin care lineup, it's a collagen supplement. It's important to start early when it comes to encouraging healthy skin aging, and collagen supplements can help you do just that.* And considering your collagen production decreases by 1% each year once you hit 20, it's better to get a head start.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.