Collagen is a type of fibrous protein in the body that works together with elastin to provide your skin’s strength and elasticity. As skin ages, it begins to thin, and fine lines and wrinkles appear as a result of the breakdown of collagen. While aging may be inevitable, utilizing one of a number of steps can help slow the visible aging process and increase the production of collagen for healthier and younger-looking skin.

Things You'll Need

Quit smoking. The toxins in cigarettes contribute to the destruction of collagen, thus leading to premature wrinkles and skin sagging. Eliminating first and second-hand smoke enables your body to resume normal collagen production and reduce additional skin wrinkling.

Increase your consumption of vitamin C, a vitamin that acts as an antioxidant, helping to rid the body of free radicals that contribute to the appearance of aging and interfere with the natural production of collagen. Furthermore, vitamin C promotes an increase in collagen production. Consume foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, cantaloupe, pineapple, broccoli, green peppers and sweet potatoes. Consider a supplement if you are unable to consume foods rich in vitamin C on a regular basis.

Protect your skin from exposure to UV rays. The UVA and UVB rays from the sunlight can cause collagen damage, and your body can even produce mutated collagen in response to sun exposure, leading to an increase in wrinkles. Use a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 for average skin and a minimum of SPF 30 for sensitive skin. Apply the sunscreen to your face at least 30 minutes before going outside; reapply every two hours.

Incorporate physical exercise into your daily routine. Regular aerobic exercise can improve blood flow and oxygenation, create thicker, less wrinkle-vulnerable skin and improve collagen production.

Build collagen in your face with a series of chemical peels, procedures that work to stimulate the body’s natural collagen and elastin production. Superficial chemical peels help to increase collagen production in the upper layers of the skin. Deep chemical peels penetrate further into the skin and encourage the most collagen generation possible.

Use non-ablative laser therapy treatments to build collagen. These types of treatments are quickly replacing deep chemical peel procedures because there are less risks of complication.

Use injectables to increase collagen production. Injectable fillers are injected below your skin’s surface layers to stimulate the fibroblasts within to produce collagen over time.

Start applying an anti-aging cream with collagen-building properties. Some anti-aging creams, containing ingredients like copper peptides and kinetin, may help to build collagen. Other ingredients in many anti-aging creams, such as retinol and hydroxy acid, are designed to neutralize free radicals and exfoliate the skin for added wrinkle-reducing benefits. When considering a new collagen-building, anti-aging cream, look for products with plenty of supporting research and a higher amount of the active ingredient.