Collagen is an important form of protein found in the skin. Collagen production, which helps the skin stay firm and resilient, naturally decreases over time. The depletion of collagen increases the amount of wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin on the body. While keeping collagen levels stable throughout your life is impossible, there are many ways you can replace or supplement collagen in the body to slow down the effects of the aging process. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting plenty of nutrients will help your body maintain collagen production.
Eat a diet rich in foods containing Vitamin C, such as oranges, strawberries, and lemons. Health Central suggests that Vitamin C provides the body with a natural source of collagen. Additional nutrient-rich foods to consume are dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, red fruits--which contain the antioxidant lycopene--and soy products which feature genistein, which slows the breakdown of the skin.
Supply the body with the healthy omega fatty acids found in nuts and fish. According to Health Central, cashews, almonds, tuna, and salmon are sufficient sources of the omega acids, all of which boost and replace collagen levels.
Stimulate the skin through massages or exercise. Massage and exercise improve circulation, allowing blood to travel to all areas of the body--especially the skin, according to Livestrong. Facial massage and cardiovascular activities are ideal ways to boost collagen levels in the body.
Apply an anti-aging cream to your face each night. The Mayo Clinic suggests using creams that contain copper peptides, retinol, hydroxy acids, or kinetin to replace and stimulate collagen production in the skin and moisturize to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
Avoid excess sun exposure and smoking, both of which breakdown collagen in the body.