Collagen, a vital protein produced in our bodies that is responsible for promoting skin elasticity, is quite similar to our metabolism, in that, they both lose effectiveness over time. For example, just like our metabolism can’t burn off that extra-large pepperoni pizza quite like it used to (darn you, slow metabolism!), we can’t always keep up with skin that’s losing elasticity.

While all of this is simply just another part of getting older (hooray), there are some natural ways to plump the skin under the eyes. This includes consuming collagen food or even drinking your collagen, plus some other ways to replenish your body's collagen. Your best skin awaits.

How to prevent eye collagen loss

  1. Turn inaction into action: The time to start preventing collagen loss in your body is now, says Ronald Moy, M.D., a dermatologist in Beverly Hills, California to Shape. "Once skin starts to thin and sag, it's much harder to correct." Let inaction become action by adopting healthy habits such as working out, eating healthy, and drinking enough water, etc.

    "Anything that increases oxygenation and blood supply to collagen will make skin healthier," Moy says. Additionally, aim to follow these collagen-saving rules: wear sunscreen daily, moisturize, eat your antioxidants, and, if you smoke, try your best to quit as smoking destroys collagen and elastin.

  2. Use retinol to re-stimulate collagen growth: The bad news is, we stop producing elastin once we hit puberty, making us potentially years behind in trying to prevent collagen loss. Yikes. If that's the case, we’re not totally out of luck as Miami Beach dermatologist Leslie Baumann advises using a cream or serum containing retinoids each day to help re-stimulate collagen production and cellular regeneration. Doing this helps to thicken the skin under the eyes. 

    This includes reducing the appearance of under-eye circles that many of us deal with, whether naturally or as the result of a bad night’s sleep. When using this cream, be sure to be gentle as the area under and around the eyes is extremely delicate. Start by grabbing only a pea-sized amount and then gently massaging it into the skin. 

    While retinol is most powerful when taken in the prescription drug form, showing results within just six months, a lot of anti-aging products on the market today contain some form of retinoids. Do your research to find the one best suited for you.

How to boost your eye collagen levels

  1. Drink your collagen: There has been some serious buzz in the last year about drinking your way to better skin with drinks that contain collagen. These drinks, which are still prevalent in the skin care world today, usually contain collagen peptides or a hydrolyzed form of collagen. When taken daily, they may help make the skin look younger by boosting collagen levels.

    Daisy Whitbread, resident nutritionist for Beauty & Go recommends taking these drinks starting in your twenties. "I would recommend starting in your late twenties to early thirties to get the best results. It’s dependent on what your own objectives are and your lifestyle, but generally taking the drinks in your 30s would be beneficial both in terms of enhancement and prevention."

  2. Try a facial massage: You don't have to visit a spa for this. You can give yourself a facial massage right at home, morning and night, to see results. Even more so when you combine this massage with collagen-boosting products, such as those containing retinol.

    "Facial muscles are crucial to the way we look and with regular stimulation can lift, tone and tighten the skin, boost blood circulation and collagen production giving a fresh youthful appearance to the skin," says Inge Theron, founder of Spa Junkie's Face Gym to Cosmopolitan. 

Losing collagen can be downright heartbreaking, especially when it's at the root of what keeps our skin looking firm and plump. Luckily, with these tips, it just might make a re-appearance.