What destroys collagen?

Have you ever wondered why some people appear to be immune to the effects of aging? Good collagen production is one of the most important factors that can help. Let’s learn more about collagen and its advantages.

You’ve probably seen collagen being advertised in foods, skin creams, pills, or powders. Collagen is a necessary component of the skin that keeps your skin strong while remaining flexible enough to allow for movement. The more collagen the skin can produce, the stronger it becomes and the more beautiful it appears. However, the amount of collagen produced and the total amount of collagen in the skin can vary depending upon a person’s lifestyle.

However, what can damage collagen production? The accurate causes vary depending upon the patient, their food consumption, sun exposure, and certain other natural causes. These risks increase the amount of collagen that breaks down in the body, leading to the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin.

What exactly is collagen?

Collagen accounts for nearly 80% of your skin and one-third of your body’s proteins. It is present in all types of body tissue, including hair, bones, muscles, and skin. [1]

It is necessary for maintaining skin elasticity and strength, but collagen level diminishes as we grow older, leading to sagging skin. [2] Vitamin C is essential for collagen production because the body cannot form, store, or synthesize collagen without it.

What is the function of collagen?

Collagen for skin does more than just keep our skin looking young. It is abundantly present throughout the body and serves a variety of health-related functions. What does collagen do:

  • Promotes the growth of new cells and the replacement and restoration of dead skin cells.
  • Helps in protecting your body’s organs, such as the kidneys and bladder.
  • Helps in strengthening your bones, ligaments, and joints to fight against tension and acute pressure.
  • Keeps your skin supple and elastic.

Other Health Advantages of Collagen

Collagen can help improve the appearance of your skin and the feel of your joints, but it can do so much more. Collagen has not only been shown in studies to be safe and effective, but it can also help with a variety of health issues. [3]

  •   Collagen can help you recover from injuries faster and improve your physical performance.
  •   Collagen can increase bone mineral density and decrease bone degradation. It can also help with gut health by increasing the absorption of calcium.
  •   Collagen promotes cardiovascular health by lowering arterial stiffness.
  •   High blood pressure levels have been shown to be reduced by collagen. 
  •   Collagen has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 
  •   Collagen boosts overall well-being and energy.

What Destroys Collagen in The Skin?

Dermatologists have identified several major factors that can damage collagen in the skin. The patient’s lifestyle, environment, and pre-existing conditions, on the other hand, can also have a significant impact on collagen production.


Your diet is one of the most likely causes of collagen degradation because it is heavily influenced by the nutrients available to the body. Collagen is present in abundance in meat and poultry. In contrast, sugar is a food that should be consumed in moderation. Sugar degrades elastin and collagen levels in the body, causing your skin appearance to deteriorate.

Sunlight exposure

Ultraviolet rays from the sun are extremely harmful for your skin. Prolonged sun exposure can harm skin cells, reducing their ability to produce collagen. Because collagen is an important component of what holds skin cells together, the affected skin is more prone to dehydration.

Free radicals

Another common cause of collagen degradation is free radicals, which can be caused by anything, ranging from pollution to smoking. People can reduce free radicals in their bodies by increasing antioxidant levels. This can simple be achieved by eating a healthy diet that is rich in fruits and leafy greens. However, the most important nutrient to obtain is Vitamin C.


As people age, their collagen levels naturally decline. The most likely cause of collagen depletion is aging-related collagen degradation. Prescribed medication and collagen supplements can be used in cases like these to keep the patient’s skin looking healthy and supple. 

What kills collagen production?

Not sure what causes rapid loss of collagen from your skin? A number of factors influence collagen production. Many of us are guilty of at least one bad habit that is causing our collagen to disappear from our skin. Following are some of the most common ways which can destroy collagen levels:

Inadequate sleep

Sleeping allows your body to recover and rejuvenate. It’s the only time many of us can truly be still. Sleep deprivation deprives your body of self-care time and prevents things like collagen regeneration.

Excessive sugar consumption

There’s nothing wrong with indulging in some sugary treats once in a while. However, eating too much-refined sugar accelerates aging! Sugar lowers collagen levels and contributes to sagging, wrinkled skin.

A sedentary lifestyle

Insufficient exercise slows your body down in various ways. Lack of blood flow, muscle deconditioning, and an increase in body weight all deplete collagen faster than it can be replaced.

Emotional stress and Mental tension

Cortisol destroys collagen. Every individual experiences stress at some point in their lives, but too much stress can cause cortisol levels to rise. 


Cigarette smoke contains harmful chemicals that can deplete your body’s natural collagen over time. [4] This is why heavy smokers frequently appear to be older than their actual age.

What foods damage collagen?

Inflammation is caused by poor-quality foods, such as trans fats, and aging is essentially a chronic inflammatory state. Following foods seriously damage your overall health:

    • French fries and potato chips: Anything fried in oil can cause inflammation throughout your body. Avoid trans fats in particular.
    • Milk and dairy products: Dairy has long been praised for its calcium content, but they are not good for your skin. This is due to the presence of artificial growth hormones in milk, which can enter your bloodstream and affect certain hormones and insulin levels. This can result in irritation, excessive oil production, and cystic blemishes in your skin. 
    • Doughnuts and other sweet pastries: They’re high in sugar, which may contribute to the formation of wrinkles.
    • Pepperoni, hot dogs, and bacon: Processed meats are typically high in saturated fats and nitrates. Both of these things can cause inflammation.
    • Fatty meats: These are high in saturated fats as well. The key to eating lean meat is to keep it clean
    • Caffeine: Many people consume caffeine in the morning to kick start their day, but eventually it dehydrates your skin over time. Dehydration, which dulls your skin, can alter fine lines and wrinkles and cause your skin to sag, making you appear older. You should avoid adding cream and sugar to your coffee because both dairy and sugar are bad for your skin.
    • Alcohol: While moderate drinking may be beneficial to your heart, excessive drinking can speed up the aging process.

How can I rebuild collagen in my face?

Facial Massage

Massage can help stimulate collagen production and improve muscle memory. As a result of facial massage, more blood will circulate around the skin, resulting in a glowing and fairer skin complexion and a boost of vital nutrients required for skin. 

Creams containing collagen

Collagen creams are an effective method of restoring collagen in the skin. Collagen creams also help in hydration by preventing water loss, which keeps skin supple and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Creams containing vitamin C

Vitamin C creams are considered to be very beneficial for your skin’s collagen production because they not only help the skin hold collagen, but they also promote healthy skin, hair, and nails production, so they have a wide range of benefits. The body cannot hope to restore collagen in the face without vitamin C, and thus skin elasticity and firmness will not be restored.


Consume foods that are high in protein and vitamin E and vitamin C to help restore collagen in the face and slow down body aging. Sugar also causes inflammation, which leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin levels from your body, making your skin more prone to wrinkles, fine lines, and loss of elasticity.

Staying hydrated throughout the day

Staying hydrated and keeping your skin hydrated both contribute to the formation of a skin barrier against water loss. Collagen can bind to water and naturally condition the skin to help maintain moisture levels, resulting in brighter, fairer, and more clear skin.

Control your stress levels

Any kind of stress – either mental or emotional leads to an increase in hormones such as cortisol, which has been shown to reduce collagen production. Furthermore, when you are stressed, your body divert nutrients to organs such as the lungs and brain, leaving the skin with very few resources to generate a better and healthier amount of collagen.

Retinol topical application

Retinol is shown to enhance collagen production in the body and skin, resulting in reduced fine lines and wrinkles. It accomplishes this by accelerating your skin’s natural turnover cycle which results in much more healthy and fully functioning skin cells that are better able to produce collagen.


Can collagen be substituted for protein powder?

Despite its numerous benefits, collagen is not a complete source of dietary protein. Collagen has a different variety of amino acids than traditional protein sources like whey or multi-source vegan protein.

Do vegan collagen boosters work as well as marine or bovine collagen?

Vegan collagen boosters are available in the market for those who adhere to a strictly plant-based diet. However, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to back up the efficacy of vegan collagen boosters.

Fruits and vegetables high in silica and vitamin C can help build the skin’s natural collagen, but they work best when combined with a collagen supplement to improve skin hydration and other benefits.

Are Collagen Supplements Governed?

Because the FDA does not regulate collagen supplements, manufacturers are not required to demonstrate that they work or are safe. Look for the following keywords in the ingredients if you buy them: Collagen hydrolysate, hydrolyzed collagen, or collagen peptides: all collagen-based ingredients.

What interferes with collagen?

Aside from time, three major factors will reduce your collagen levels: sunlight, smoking, and sugar. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light, chemicals in cigarette smoke, and excessive sugar consumption can cause sun damage, such as wrinkles, and cause your skin to sag and become less elastic over time.

Is it true that hot water destroys collagen?

Heat does not impact collagen supplements when cooked at a reasonable temperature. Collagen proteins maintain their integrity at temperatures as high as 300°C (572°F) in response to temperature changes. However, collagen undergoes an unavoidable degradation at temperatures above 300°C.


You are more likely to have firm and supple skin, smoother-moving joints, and other signs of a healthy, youthful body if your body contains a good amount of collagen. The most reliable way to assist your body in producing collagen is to provide it with adequate protein and other nutrients.


  1. Liane Bolke. “A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study”.   Nutrients vol 11(10) (2019). 2494.
  2. National Library of Medicine. “The effects of collagen peptide supplementation on body composition, collagen synthesis, and recovery from joint injury and exercise: a systematic review”. Pubmed.gov.
  3. National Library of Medicine. “Cigarette smoke-induced collagen destruction; key to chronic neutrophilic airway inflammation?”. Pubmed.gov.
  4. National Library of Medicine. “Collagen VI-related myopathy”. MedlinePlus.
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