How to Increase Collagen Naturally


Collagen is the protein responsible for keeping our skin plump, our joints limber, and our hair and nails strong. But as we age, collagen production slows down, leading to unwanted signs of aging like wrinkles, joint pain, and brittle nails. The good news is there are evidence-backed ways we can counteract this decline by boosting collagen levels through minor diet and lifestyle adjustments. This comprehensive guide will walk through simple, step-by-step methods to increase collagen naturally using food, topical products, and targeted practices for self-care. From sipping bone broth to massaging vitamin C serums onto the skin, these tips aim to help women maintain a radiant complexion, ease movement, and preserve a youthful appearance overall. Let’s delve in!




. Adjust Your Diet  

A balanced diet provides the amino acids and nutrients needed for natural collagen synthesis. Emphasize sulfur-rich foods like garlic and onions for an added boost. Collagen-building foods include: 

  • Bone broth, cooked for 6-12 hours and consumed daily, provides collagen-boosting amino acids for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. 
  • Eggs, packed with proline and glycine. Vegans can seek plant-based proteins like soy.  
  • Citrus fruits, red peppers, and strawberries are abundant sources of vitamin C, which enables collagen formation.  
Expert Tip
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Clare Clarke

Focus on sulfur-rich foods like onions and garlic in addition to collagen-boosting foods. Sauté onions and garlic into your bone broth or eggs for an added collagen boost.


. Take a Daily Supplement

Stir 2 scoops of collagen peptides into coffee or smoothies every morning for an easy way to maintain higher collagen levels. Over 3 months, this may improve skin texture, elasticity, hydration and potentially ease joint discomfort. When choosing a supplement, ensure quality sourcing from pasture-raised bovine or sustainable marine collagen sources for optimal results.

Here’s a comparison table illustrating the pros and cons of different types of collagen supplements:

Type of Collagen SupplementProsCons
Bovine Collagen– Rich in type I and III collagen, beneficial for skin, hair, and nails. Generally more affordable.– Not suitable for vegetarians or those with beef allergies.
Marine Collagen– High in type I collagen, which is ideal for skin health. Faster absorption rate.<br> – Suitable for pescatarians.– More expensive. Not suitable for those with fish allergies.
Chicken Collagen– Contains type II collagen, beneficial for joint health. Often includes chondroitin and glucosamine.– Not suitable for vegetarians or those with chicken allergies.
Eggshell Membrane Collagen– Contains multiple collagen types. Suitable for those who avoid beef or fish.– Limited research on efficacy. Not suitable for vegans.
Vegan Collagen Booster– Plant-based, suitable for vegans. Often includes vitamins and minerals to support collagen production.– Doesn’t contain actual collagen, but promotes its production. Efficacy may vary compared to animal-based collagen.

. Use Topical Creams  

Serums and lotions with peptides, vitamin C or retinol can signal to skin cells to churn out more collagen overnight. Tailor product selection and use to your skin type. Dry skin benefits from hydrating vitamin C; oily skin calls for non-comedogenic retinol formulas. Always patch test first.  

Here’s a comparison table for various topical creams that focus on collagen production and skin health:

Type of Topical CreamProsCons
Vitamin C Serums– Stimulates collagen synthesis. Antioxidant properties help in skin repair and protection.– Can be irritating for sensitive skin. Stability issues; needs proper storage.
Retinol Creams– Increases collagen production. Reduces visible signs of aging.– Can cause skin dryness and irritation. Not recommended for use during pregnancy.
Peptide Creams– Stimulates collagen and elastin production. Generally well-tolerated by most skin types.– Can be expensive. Varying efficacy depending on the formula.
Hyaluronic Acid Serums– Enhances skin hydration, indirectly supporting collagen structure. Suitable for all skin types.– Effects are primarily superficial (hydration); less direct impact on collagen synthesis.
Collagen Creams– Directly adds collagen to the skin surface. Can improve skin texture and appearance.– Collagen molecules may be too large to penetrate deep into the skin. Provides more temporary results.

. Massage Your Face  

A 5-10 minute facial massage enhances collagen production by boosting blood circulation. Use gentle, outward strokes focusing on wrinkle-prone areas. Pair with a gua sha stone or jade roller to amplify results. Make this a regular ritual for healthier, more youthful skin texture and elasticity. 

Expert Tip
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Clare Clarke

Use a gua sha stone or jade roller when massaging face and neck to boost circulation and lymphatic drainage for more defined facial contours.


. Protect Your Skin   

Shield skin from the elements that degrade collagen, namely sun exposure, pollution and extremes of heat and cold. Wear SPF 30 sunscreen daily, seek shade during peak hours, and cover up with protective clothing when possible. Maintain indoor air quality and limit digital device overuse. Defend your skin now for lasting collagen reserves later.

Expert Tip
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Clare Clarke

Collagen breakdown accelerates in cold weather and indoor heat. Maintain an ideal room temperature under 70° F and wear scarves outside.

Expert Q&A

14 Responses

    1. Research indicates allow 2-3 months of daily use to notice improvements in skin and joints. Stick with it!

    1. Most experts advise sustained daily collagen use without breaks for optimal benefits.

    1. Both effectively increase collagen. Marine collagen from fish absorbs quickly while bovine collagen has longer-lasting effects.

    1. Yes! Studies demonstrate collagen supplements enhance joint mobility and reduce arthritis discomfort after 2-3 months.

    1. Peptides, vitamin C and retinoids have clinical research supporting their collagen-stimulating effects in skin.

    1. Adequate sleep enables the body’s repair and collagen-building processes. Exercise promotes circulation for improved skin health and potential collagen synthesis.

    1. Avoid excessive sun, smoking, high sugar intake, and nutrient deficiencies. These accelerate collagen breakdown.

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  • Eat dark leafy greens like kale and spinach. They provide collagen-building vitamin C and antioxidants.
  • Take a daily collagen supplement with 5-10 grams of peptides for proven benefits.
  • Apply a retinol cream 2-3 times a week to stimulate new collagen growth. Start with low strength.
  • Stay hydrated with 1.5-2 liters of water daily to support collagen structures.
  • Use broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen whenever exposed to sunlight to protect skin.
  • Don’t smoke or expose skin to excess pollution, which release free radicals that damage collagen.
  • Don’t spend lots of time in hot showers or baths, as heat depletes moisture and collagen.
  • Don’t consume high amounts of inflammatory foods like sugar, refined carbs, and processed meat.
  • Don’t expose bare skin to extremely cold weather, which can accelerate collagen breakdown.
  • Don’t take an oral collagen supplement at the same time as drinking coffee or green tea, as the tannins interfere.


  • Consult your doctor before taking new supplements, especially if pregnant, nursing, or have an existing medical condition. Collagen is considered safe for most, but there is limited research on long-term effects.
  • Be mindful of potential allergic reactions to new topical products. Perform a patch test and stop using anything that causes signs of irritation or sensitivity.
  • Overdoing facials, massage, microneedling treatments, etc can potentially damage skin through inflammation if not properly trained or performed in moderation. Be gentle.
  • Beware of extremely rapid changes in your appearance as this may signal something more serious is happening medically. Collagen treatments aim for gradual improvements over time.
  • Not all collagen supplements are created equal. Look for quality third-party testing showing purity, potency and contaminant testing. Poor quality controls could impact safety.
  • Claims that seem too good to be true often are. Collagen builds slowly over months and years for noticeable, but not dramatic changes. Results vary widely by individual.
  • Consistency matters. Sporadic effort yields sporadic results. Follow recommended guidelines for suggested periods of time before assessing efficacy.

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The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always contact your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional before starting, changing, or stopping any kind of health treatment.

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