Ultraviolet rays, aka sunlight, cause collagen to break down faster. With sun exposure, those UV rays damage the skin by entering the dermis (the second and thickest layer of our skin) which causes collagen to break down faster.
The collagen tissues support the formation of bones, tendons, and cartilage that form depending on the level of mineralization. However, an individual can lose collagen components in the body due to exposure to ultraviolet light, tobacco, excessive intake of sugar, and aging.
Crackers, cookies, cereal, pasta, bread and baked goods contain sugar and chemicals that are damaging to collagen molecules, thereby diminishing the quality of the tissue, and can erode the quantity of your collagen as well.
“UV exposure can lead to the breakdown of collagen, which can lead to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, so you're never too young to start wearing sunscreen regularly,” says Garshick. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
Collagen levels decrease with age and, unfortunately, there's no way to prevent this. The good news is that there are several cosmetic treatments that can rebuild or restore collagen.
"It's worth remembering that coffee doesn't destroy collagen, it inhibits its production," says nutritional therapist at the Pulse Light Clinic, Lisa Borg.
What Hurts Your Collagen Levels? Besides time, three main things will lower your collagen levels: sunlight, smoking, and sugar. Too much exposure to ultraviolet light makes its fibers unravel. This can lead to sun damage, such as wrinkles.
Your body begins to lose collagen when you turn 30. The effects become noticeable after several years. Even though this is a natural process, it's possible to speed it up with UV exposure, pollution, bad habits, and poor diet choices. While it's possible to accelerate collagen loss, it's also possible to slow it down.
UV damage is the main cause of skin collagen loss accounting for up to 80-90% of the appearance of skin aging. UV exposure causes both, less collagen to be produced, and. it also increases collagen degradation via matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and other proteases in the skin.
A diet full of protein-rich foods, whether from plant or animal sources, can help supply these critical amino acids. Other nutrients that aid the process of collagen production include zinc, vitamin C, and copper. So, fruits and vegetables high in vitamins and minerals are also a friend to supple skin.
Eating foods rich in vitamin C and amino acids can increase the levels of hyaluronic acid and collagen in the body as both are important for skin. Foods such as oranges, red peppers, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and strawberries are all rich in vitamin C.
Exposure to UV content can damage the molecular structure in a process called oxidative stress, or oxidation. However, UV light isn't the only thing that can cause oxidation. Smoke, pollution, and chemicals can produce similar effects. Together, these elements can break down collagen and elastin.
Vitamin C (Vit C) benefits to human skin physiology notably by stimulating the biosynthesis of collagen. The main cutaneous collagens are types I and III, which are less synthesized with aging. Vit C is one of the main promotors of collagen formation but it poorly bypasses the epidermis stratum corneum barrier.
Studies show that retinoids can increase collagen production and protect collagen fibers from damage, reducing the fine lines and wrinkles—some of the most visible signs of skin aging. Since retinoids are typically so strong, start off by using them every other day, slowly building it up to a nightly application.
Signs of collagen loss include wrinkled skin due to elasticity loss and stiff joints. Additionally, collagen is directly related to gut health, with less of the protein causing ulcers and digestive problems. Aside from aging, however, the top reason people don't have enough collagen is poor diet.
Collagen can't be absorbed by the body in its whole form. This means collagen proteins must be broken down into smaller peptides or amino acids before they can be absorbed.
The result is redness and a bright ruddy complexion, which may not go away. Drinking in moderation can help, though abstinence is best. Alcohol over a period of years will steadily destroy collagen, which is what gives our skin its smooth elasticity.
Age. Collagen production starts to dip in most people's bodies from the time they're in their late teens or early 20s and decreases about 1% a year2 . However, the exact age that this process starts is different for everyone, says Goldenberg. This collagen attenuation picks up pace during and after menopause.
How long does it take your body to rebuild that collagen? The answer varies depending on many factors, but in general, it will take between seven and 21 days.