How to Naturally Restore Collagen in the Face with Skincare

naturally restore collagen in the face with skincare

 When it comes to your skin, collagen plays a huge role in how you visibly age over time, and for a good reason. It’s the main structural protein that both your skin and body naturally produce on its own. However as we age, our skin’s and body’s ability to produce it declines, resulting in wrinkles, sagging, thin skin, and more — so there’s no wonder why we all want to know how to restore collagen in the face. But can you naturally really restore it once you’ve already lost it? 

Fortunately, it is possible to naturally restore healthy collagen production in your face even after it’s already started to decline. But should you?


Diminishes and Prevents Wrinkles

As we age, the decrease in collagen production leads to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines. Restoring it helps reduce the appearance of existing wrinkles and can prevent the formation of new ones.

Helps Skin Retain Moisture

Collagen plays a role in maintaining the skin's hydration levels. By restoring it, your skin can better retain moisture, leading to improved hydration. Well-hydrated skin tends to appear plumper, more supple, and healthier.

Supports Skin Structure

Because collagen is a major component of the skin's extracellular matrix and provides structural support, your skin can start to lose its structure overtime. Restoring it helps maintain the integrity of your skin's structure for a smooth and youthful appearance.

Promotes a Firm and Bouncy Look

Collagen contributes to the firmness and elasticity of the skin. When its levels are replenished, your skin regains its firmness, resulting in a more lifted, bouncy, and youthful appearance. 

Improves Skin's Elasticity

Elasticity is the skin's ability to stretch and then return to its original shape. Collagen is a key factor in skin elasticity. Restoring it helps improve your skin's ability to stretch and bounce back, reducing sagging and promoting a more toned look.

Even if you’re not worried about wrinkles and your physical appearance, supporting healthy collagen production will always benefit the overall health of your skin. And when you’re ready to start restoring it naturally, there are skincare products that have the power to promote collagen production — but not just any skincare. 

However before we dive into our recommendations on how to restore collagen in the face, it’s helpful to understand how it serves our body and how skincare can play a crucial role in supporting its production.


As mentioned, collagen are types of naturally-occurring proteins found in your body that provide structure for your skin. It’s one of the major building blocks for your skin, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. You can think of it like the “glue” that holds everything together which helps to maintain healthy joints and skin’s elastic nature. So you can especially thank collagen for giving you that firm, voluminous, and bouncy skin everyone starts out with. 

However, as we age, it gets harder for our body to naturally produce it which results in its breakdown and overall decline.


  1. Use sunscreen daily

Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by wearing sunscreen with a high SPF daily. Sun exposure is a major contributor to collagen breakdown.

      2. Eat a balanced diet

Maintaining a healthy diet supports collagen production and overall skin health.

      3. Stay hydrated

Well-hydrated skin is more resilient and less prone to the development of fine lines and wrinkles.

      4. Quit smoking

Quitting smoking not only benefits your overall health but also helps preserve collagen and promote a healthier complexion.

      5. Limit alcohol intake

Excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to collagen depletion. Moderating your alcohol intake supports skin health and reduces the risk of premature aging.

      6. Get enough sleep

Ensure you get enough quality sleep each night. During sleep, the body undergoes repair processes, including collagen synthesis. 

       7. Manage your stress

Practice stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to support overall skin health.


We know that over time our body’s natural ability to produce collagen declines, but time isn’t the only culprit. Some lifestyle habits can also contribute to a decrease in its production that will have you looking into how to restore collagen in the face.

  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • With sun exposure, those UV rays damage the skin by entering the dermis (the second and thickest layer of our skin) which causes collagen to break down faster. UV rays also carry with them damaging free radicals which result in oxidative stress that drains your healthy cells of energy.

  • Sugar and Refined Carbs 
  • These interfere with your body’s natural ability to heal itself which also impairs the collagen regeneration process.

  • Smoking
  • Smoking slows your body’s natural ability to heal wounds and result in wrinkles and sallow, sunken skin.

    • Lack of sleep 

    Your skin naturally repairs and regenerates itself as you rest. So when you take that time away, the health of your immune system takes a hit, and with it, your natural collagen and elastin production.

    • Stress 

    When your body’s natural fight-or-flight response diverts energy away from your skin and instead, to your other organs like your heart, brain, and lungs, it isn’t prioritizing your skin elasticity anymore. 


    Certain foods contain nutrients that support collagen production and overall skin health. Including a variety of these foods in your diet:

    • Citrus fruits

    Rich in vitamin C, citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes play a crucial role in collagen synthesis.

  • Berries
  • Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are loaded with antioxidants that help protect the skin from free radical damage and support collagen formation.

  • Leafy greens
  • Spinach, kale, and other dark, leafy greens are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, which are essential for collagen production.

  • Bell peppers
  • Bell peppers, especially red and yellow ones, contain high levels of vitamin C, an important cofactor for collagen synthesis.

  • Tomatoes
  • Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that contributes to skin health and may help protect collagen from damage.


    While it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before adding any new supplements to your routine, here are some commonly recommended supplements that may help restore collagen:

  • Collagen peptides
  • Derived from collagen proteins broken down into smaller, more easily absorbed particles, this supplement is often available in powder or capsule form and may support skin elasticity and hydration.

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Hyaluronic acid is a component of the skin that helps retain moisture. Supplements may support skin hydration and promote a plump, youthful appearance.

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from free radical damage. It may contribute to overall skin health and collagen protection.

  • Zinc
  • Zinc is a mineral that plays a role in collagen synthesis and taking zinc supplements may support the body's ability to produce it.

    It's important to note that individual responses to supplements can vary, and excessive intake of certain nutrients may have adverse effects. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.


    Ensuring you’re making healthy choices in your lifestyle and diet — the main culprit for collagen breakdown still points to good old, ‘aging’. However, if you’re wanting to restore collagen in your face, incorporating retinoids and vitamin C into your daily skincare ritual will serve as one of your best allies.


    Retinoids serve as an excellent treatment for how to restore collagen in your face. It’s helpful to know that retinoids work as this umbrella term for Vitamin A and all of its derivative counterparts i.e. Tretinoin, Retinol, Adapalene…etc. But don’t be fooled — the term, retinoids, include both dermatologist-grade retinoids, which is what doctors prescribe, and the over-the-counter retinoids that don’t require a prescription. And as you may assume, it’s the tailored derm-grade retinoids that will be most effective in naturally restoring collagen to your face. 

    Tretinoin, the dermatologist-grade retinoid, works to stimulate collagen production and increase cell turnover. What makes it so effective is its key ingredient–retinoic acid. This star ingredient is the reason that retinoids tend to be 20 times more potent than retinol which will ultimately provide faster, more effective results. It’s through this active ingredient that allows derm-grade retinoids to increase and restore the production of collagen in the face to noticeably reduce and prevent the look of fine lines and deep wrinkles. Make sure to always use a moisturizer with retinoids. If you’re not sure if you should use retinol before or after moisturizer, check out our blog post.


    While retinol is a type of retinoid, the sad truth is that while it’s been shown to have some benefits in collagen production, it was also found to be very unstable and even degraded over time. So the next time you come across a new retinol skincare product, whether online or in-store, think again about adding it to your cart or basket — chances are you may not be getting the results you’re hoping for.

    Bottom line, if you’re serious about how to naturally restore collagen in your face with skincare, tailored derm-grade retinoids, like Tretinoin, will serve as an ideal solution.


    Vitamin C also serves as a great ally in restoring collagen in your face. It also works to ward off any effects that’ll cause it to further decay. To understand how truly beneficial vitamin C is in preserving and restoring collagen, we’ll break down how it works and how you’ll want to use it.

    First off, vitamin C is the most abundant antioxidant in our skin which helps to prevent cell damage. It also works to neutralize free radicals found in UV rays. Our skin also relies on it to lay down a strong foundation and generate collagen in the first place. 

    Simply put, no Vitamin C means no collagen production.

    However, even though it’s the most present antioxidant in our skin, we actually can’t produce it on our own. Instead, we receive it through our diet that’s rich in green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits. But here’s the catch — while our body’s getting enough vitamin C through our diet, the antioxidant doesn’t actually make it to our skin when consumed. So, for the purpose of collagen production, applying vitamin C topically onto the skin is the only way to go to restore collagen in the face.


    Once applied topically, vitamin C works to stabilize the collagen fibers in your skin which helps to minimize breakdown and promote healthy collagen synthesis. With this support, the look of your skin can be dramatically improved. And since vitamin C is acidic, like your skin’s natural state, it can even work to accelerate the production of collagen and elastin making it the ultimate hero for your skin.

    Another great benefit to applying vitamin C is that it helps to defend skin from free radicals found in pollution and other damaging factors in the atmosphere that can harm the skin’s dermis which affects skin cells, texture, color, moisture barrier, and disrupt collagen development itself. 


    We’ve established that both retinoids and vitamin C are individually phenomenal for promoting collagen production,  but can you use vitamin C with retinol to create the ultimate collagen-boosting routine?

    According to Dr. Sheila Krishna, it’s totally fine to use vitamin C with over-the-counter retinol products or dermatologist-grade retinoids. This study indicated that a combined retinol and vitamin C treatment is effective at treating photoaging and are safe to use together. We still recommend using them at different times of day to prevent irritation. 

    Our suggestion? Using a vitamin C serum in the morning and your chosen retinoid at night will serve as the ultimate ritual for how to restore collagen in the face.


    As the undereyes are such a delicate area on the skin, is it even worth it to try to rebuild collagen there? If you’re looking to minimize the fine lines around your eyes, you can consider applying retinoids to boost collagen and restore structure to that area — but gradually.

    Instead of diving head-first into using an expensive retinol eye treatment, we recommend starting with a derm-grade retinoid, like Tretinoin, for your face and avoid the eye area entirely for now. You can start with using your retinoid every three days as a part of your nighttime skincare routine then gradually buildup the frequency as your skin starts to adjust.

    Then, after around eight to twelve weeks when you start to see results, that’s when you can start considering whether you need a separate eye serum.


    The key is to be consistent and patient. New collagen production can take up to 4 to 12 weeks to complete. While restoring collagen can help to smooth wrinkles and preserve your firm look, results aren’t permanent, so stay consistent to see continued results.


    • Eating a healthy diet that’s rich in vitamins A and C and essential nutrients
    • Maintain a daily skincare routine with vitamin C serum, derm-grade retinoid, and sunscreen
    • Limit sun exposure to avoid damaging UV rays
    • Get at least 7+ hours of sleep every night
    • Avoid excessive amounts of stress
    • Avoid smoking 

    By providing a healthy environment for your body and skin to operate, you’ll be more equipped to maintain healthy collagen production.


    If collagen’s been lost in your face, tailored derm-grade retinoids, like Tretinoin, and vitamin C will serve as your ultimate solution for how to naturally restore collagen in the face and preserve it long-term. And you can do so by skipping an in-person trip to your dermatologist. 

    To make derm-grade retinoids more accessible, Dear Brightly connects you with a board-certified doctor for an online consultation to get a tailored Tretinoin serum. Just share details about your skin and your doctor, if appropriate, will prescribe you a tretinoin prescription online — no trip to the doctor’s or pharmacy needed. Then, to complete your skincare routine, you can pair it with Dear Brightly’s vitamin C serum and promote your most firm and protected complexion.


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    Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients. 2017;9(8):866. Published 2017 Aug 12. doi:10.3390/nu9080866

    Griffiths CE, Russman AN, Majmudar G, Singer RS, Hamilton TA, Voorhees JJ. Restoration of collagen formation in photodamaged human skin by tretinoin (retinoic acid). N Engl J Med. 1993;329(8):530-535. doi:10.1056/NEJM199308193290803

    Seité S, Bredoux C, Compan D, et al. Histological evaluation of a topically applied retinol-vitamin C combination. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2005;18(2):81-87. doi:10.1159/000083708