7 reasons why collagen in your skin breaks down


Collagen is a structural element of the skin. It forms a frame that supports it, being responsible for elasticity, elasticity, strength and beautiful appearance. With age and for other reasons, its concentration in the skin decreases. This leads to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, it loses its natural volume.

But if you know how and why collagen production decreases, you can prolong youth!

«Magic» collagen: what you need to know

MD, dermatologist Cynthia Bailey says that the content of collagen in healthy young skin is about 75%. Most of it is located in the middle layer — the dermis and is produced by skin cells called fibroblasts.

The loss of collagen in the skin leads not only to the appearance of wrinkles and a decrease in firmness and elasticity. The skin becomes dull, painful in appearance and rough in texture.

Loss of collagen is usually accompanied by loss of elastin. This element is responsible for the elasticity of the skin, without it, it begins to sag.

It is important to know and understand why the amount of collagen and elastin in the skin is reduced in order to learn how to resist this process.

7 reasons why collagen «melts»

Reason 1: Skin aging

Reason 1: Skin aging

“Loss of collagen as a result of age-related changes in the skin is called intrinsic skin aging. All other causes are called extrinsic skin aging,” says the dermatologist. Cynthia Bailey.

Internal aging is inevitable. Skin cells that synthesize collagen produce less protein with age. At the same time, the synthesis of hyaluronic acid is reduced, and now the skin becomes lethargic and does not retain water as well as before.

Antioxidant creams and serums with hyaluronic acid and collagen can partially cope with this. They need to be applied regularly.

Did you know?

Scientists estimate that only 3% of skin aging is due to age. The remaining 97% are related to external factors that you can influence!

Cause 2: UV Damage

Today, even golden tan and swarthy, tanned skin are in fashion. Unfortunately, many people underestimate the damaging effects of ultraviolet light, for which they later have to pay the price.

“UV damage is responsible for 80-90% of the signs of skin aging. It reduces both the production of collagen in the skin and destroys existing structural fibers, ”explains the dermatologist. Cynthia Bailey.

Regular use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen, as well as wearing a wide-brimmed hat and clothing that covers exposed areas of the body when you are in direct sunlight, can prevent the breakdown of collagen for this reason.

Reason 3: Smoking

Smoking has long been associated with skin damage and accelerated aging. Experts have calculated that this habit reduces the synthesis of collagen within the skin by a significant 20%! In addition, it increases the activity of free radicals, which further damage the skin.

It’s never too late to quit smoking. Getting rid of a bad habit improves health and prolongs life.

Reason 4: Unhealthy Diet

Reason 4: Unhealthy Diet

A diet that lacks nutrients and is dominated by unhealthy foods high in fats, refined sugars, and synthetics contributes to inflammation within the body.

“The mechanisms of how chronic metabolic inflammation of the whole body leads to long-term skin damage are very complex. But the simplest explanation is that it involves damage to the skin’s collagen and elastin,” says the dermatologist. Cynthia Bailey.

In addition to the fact that you need to abandon the «harmful» in the diet, you need to make the food menu balanced.


“The diet should include more fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates (whole grains, nuts, legumes), healthy fats (olive oil, fish, nuts). Such a diet helps to resist chronic inflammation in the body and in the skin in particular,” adds the dermatologist. Cynthia Bailey.

Reason 5: Drinking alcohol

Frequent or excessive alcohol consumption leads to the phenomenon of glycation. This is the process by which collagen fibers stick together and break down. Such data were presented by scientists who published the results of their study in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.

Alcohol abuse also leads to thinning of tissues and loss of skin elasticity, speeding up the aging process.

Reason 6: Stress

Studies have confirmed that the skin, which is the largest organ of the human body, is highly dependent on stress. Experienced shocks increase the amount of free radicals in the body and reduce the concentration of antioxidants.

And chronic stress disrupts the immune functions of the body and even contributes to damage to the DNA of cells, speeding up aging.

Observations of scientists have shown that reducing stress can slow down the rate of aging of the body and the loss of elastin and collagen. Walking in the fresh air, yoga, relaxation, hobbies, swimming have proven themselves well.

Reason 7: Menopause in women

Reason 7: Menopause in women

“The onset of menopause in women is another reason for the loss of collagen in the skin. Up to 30% of collagen in the dermis is lost in the first 5 years of menopause and about 2% per year over the next 20 years, ”says the dermatologist. Cynthia Bailey.

It is impossible to resist this, but it is possible to smooth out the losses by leading an active lifestyle and leaning on foods and nutritional supplements with collagen. There are limited studies proving that oral collagen supplementation is associated with an increase in collagen density in the skin and an increase in its levels of hydration and elasticity. But before taking them, you should consult your doctor.

But healthy foods with collagen can be included in the menu on a daily basis. A lot of collagen in the broth on the bone, in gelatin. Egg yolk contains amino acids that promote collagen production — glycine and proline. And salmon contains zinc, which also favors collagen synthesis.

You can learn more about how to increase the concentration of collagen in the body from our material “Diet for youth: enriching the menu with collagen”.

Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications / Choi FD, Sung CT, Juhasz ML, et al // J Drugs Dermatol. 2019

Brain-Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging / Chen Y., Lyga J. // Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2014

Advanced glycation end-products in patients with chronic alcohol misuse / Marta K., Tomáš Z., Petr P., et al // Alcohol and Alcoholism, Volume 39, Issue 4 2004

Fighting against Skin Aging. The Way from Bench to Bedside / Zhang S., Duan E. // Cell Transplant. 2018


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