What Causes Declining Collagen Levels, and How Can I Reverse the Trend?

 What Causes Declining Collagen Levels, and How Can I Reverse the Trend?

Collagen — the most abundant protein in your body — helps to maintain the strength and elasticity of your skin, joints, and connective tissues. But as you age, your collagen levels naturally decline. 

Here at eleven19 Medical Spa + Weight Loss, our team of expert providers knows that collagen loss can affect you in more than one way. It leads to aesthetic skin concerns like lax skin and wrinkles, but it can also lead to joint stiffness and weakened muscles. 

Read on as our team highlights the common causes of declining collagen and what you can do about it.

What causes collagen to decline?

There are many reasons your collagen production may dip. Some of the risk factors are within your control, and some aren’t. 


As you age, your body produces less collagen, and to compound matters, the quality of the collagen that you do produce diminishes. Collagen production can start to slow down as early as your 20s

Your body uses nutrients from the food you eat — specifically foods rich in copper, vitamin C, and zinc — to make collagen. As you age, though, your body doesn’t absorb nutrients the same way, and if you can’t get enough of these micronutrients, your body can’t create all of the collagen it needs.

Excessive sun exposure

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun speeds up collagen breakdown. Too much UV exposure can also lead to dull skin, age spots, and dry skin.  It can make your skin appear older than your years. 

This type of sun damage is notorious for these symptoms, which is why it goes by another name: photoaging.

A poor diet

A diet high in sugar, processed foods, and inflammatory fats can impair collagen production and contribute to collagen degradation. Researchers specifically called out barbecued fried foods that combine inflammatory fats with sugary sauces as a source of accelerated skin aging.


It’s no secret that smoking can contribute to increased wrinkles, but there’s a lot going on under the surface. Smoking has been shown to:

All together, these effects of smoking can accelerate skin aging. To compound matters, research shows that smoking and UV exposure can create even more damage when combined.

Chronic stress

Chronic stress can increase the production of cortisol. Cortisol is your stress hormone, which can wreak havoc on your skin. Specifically, exposure to excessive levels of cortisol can inhibit collagen production.

How can I reverse collagen loss?

While collagen decline is a natural part of aging, there are steps you can take to slow down the process and even reverse it:

Address your modifiable risk factors

A balanced diet, collagen supplements, sun protection, healthy lifestyle habits, and topical treatments can all support collagen health and combat skin aging. The following steps can help you improve your skin health:

Collagen supplements, such as collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen, can also provide support for collagen synthesis, and they may be even more helpful if your collagen depletion is affecting your joint health. 

Topical treatments

Topical skin care products containing ingredients like retinoids, peptides, and antioxidants can stimulate collagen production. 

Just like eating vitamin C-rich food is good for your skin, so are products that contain vitamin C. Topical creams and serums that include vitamin C are often marketed for anti-aging and can help reduce hyperpigmentation and boost collagen production.

In-office cosmetic procedures

Lifestyle factors can go a long way in boosting your skin health, but because some risk factors for collagen depletion are out of your control, you may need a little help. That’s where we come into the picture.

Here at eleven19 Medical + Weight Loss, we offer several treatments to rejuvenate your skin and boost collagen production. These include:

It’s time to pamper your skin. Schedule your consultation at the location of your choice — in Tustin, Fullerton, or Rancho Cucamonga, California —  and learn more about how these skin services can reverse the declining collagen trend.

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