Why your collagen production slows and how to increase it naturally

Collagen plays an important role in skin elasticity and hydration.

Written by
Kaitlyn Wilson
Medically reviewed by
min read
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Collagen plays an important role in skin elasticity and hydration. And, while it's the most abundant protein in the body, as you age, your collagen production slows down and contributes to the process of skin ageing.

So, you may be wondering how to restore collagen in the face — and this is where we come in. But, let's start by diving into all things collagen, how it works and why we produce less as we get older.

What is collagen?

You're probably familiar with collagen as a beauty buzzword but do you know how it functions within the skin? Well, here's what you need to know.

Our bodies produce collagen in abundance as it is an essential building block for healthy cells, providing structure, strength and support for your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, connective tissues, organs, blood vessels and, of course, your skin.

The main role of collagen is:

  • Helping new cells grow in your dermis (middle layer of skin) by helping fibroblasts form
  • Replacing dead skin cells
  • Protecting organs
  • Providing skin elasticity, structure and strength
  • Helping blood to clot [1].

Benefits of collagen for the skin

Collagen fibres are responsible for elasticity as well as hydration and the strength of your skin, so you can't have healthy, plump and youthful-looking skin without collagen.

Collagen has a number of benefits for the skin. These include:

What damages collagen levels?

So, we know that collagen production decreases as we age and this is a natural part of the ageing process. However, there are also a number of lifestyle habits and environmental factors that can damage collagen production.

These include:

Sun exposure

Sunkissed skin might sound romantic but sun exposure and skin are anything but a match made in heaven.

UV rays penetrate deep into the dermis, where they damage the collagen fibres. In an effort to rebuild collagen, your body produces an abnormal amount of elastin which triggers the production of an enzyme called metalloproteinases.

These are meant to help increase collagen production. However, they often misfire and degrade collagen instead. Over a prolonged period, this causes skin damage and worsens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles [3].


A healthy diet can improve collagen levels, just as a poor diet can decrease collagen. Too much sugar and refined carbs kill collagen by damaging the molecules. This reduces the overall quality of the tissue and hinders collagen's ability to repair itself [4].

Skincare habits

Washing your face too often or too little can disrupt collagen production. The sweet spot for face washing is twice a day, which ensures you're ridding the skin of dirt, debris and oil without messing with the skin's natural oils.

Ageing skin

Skin cells change during the ageing process, and collagen levels decrease naturally. As your skin loses elasticity and becomes thinner, it can increase the chances of bruising and tearing.

Facial ageing caused by loss of collagen will mean more prominent wrinkles as well as sagging skin [5].

Why do we need to restore collagen?

Plump and bouncy skin aside, collagen is one of the most important fibres in the body as it creates connective tissue. As a result, collagen loss can lead to reduced bone density, weak muscles and stiff joints [6].

Collagen loss can also cause a weak immune system and slow the body's healing process. This is because collagen is involved in the stimulation of immune cells [7].

Decreased collagen levels also cause your skin to lose its structural support. So, instead of skin looking firm, smooth and supple, it can become thin, saggy and rough.

How to stimulate collagen production in the skin

So, is it possible to rebuild collagen in the face? The good news is, yes, it's possible!

Here's how to tackle increasing collagen production in the skin without reaching for collagen supplements.

Level up your skincare routine with vitamin A

A good skincare routine is a simple and effective way to boost collagen production.

Retinoids and retinol — which are both derived from vitamin A — are typically used to treat acne, but did you know they also help stimulate collagen growth?

In fact, these skin superstars have been proven to increase collagen formation while also protecting collagen fibres from damage and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

Software's ageing treatment contains powerful anti-ageing ingredients — like medical-grade retinoids — that you can't get off the shelf. Retinoids work by stimulating the growth of new skin cells, increasing the rate that old skin cells are shed and promoting collagen production.

Increased collagen helps to plump the skin and increases epidermal thickness while also helping smooth fine lines and wrinkles on the face.

If you're not in the market for a medical skincare solution, Software's Retinol Complex Oil is a gentle, restorative and nourishing formula that also targets skin ageing.

Retinol stimulates the growth of new cells and increases the rate that old skin cells are shed in order to noticeably reduce the appearance of fine lines and dark spots while improving skin elasticity and firmness.

Avoid sun exposure and apply sunscreen

Protecting your skin from the sun is one of the best ways to boost collagen and prevent it from further damage. This means using a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily — like our Daily Sun Defence SPF50+ — and diligently reapplying it every 2 hours.

Consider a chemical peel

A chemical peel is a minimally invasive procedure that is often accessible and affordable.

Chemical peels work to remove layers of your skin, helping to stimulate collagen production and rejuvenate the epidermis and upper dermal layers of your skin [8].

Use vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential building block for collagen; however, it isn't naturally produced by the human body. So, we must get vitamin C through what we eat as well as topical skincare products.

Software's Vitamin C + Ferulic Serum contains 2 powerhouse ingredients to target dullness, dryness and pigmentation, build and develop collagen, and improve skin elasticity and firmness.

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* Software lifestyle survey of 116 patients who were using
Software for ageing concerns, June 2022