Over the last few months, Americans have faced some pretty significant changes to their grooming and skin care routines. I initially thought my skin would enjoy the quarantine break – no makeup, less environmental damage. But I quickly realized life indoors meant newfound stressors, like increased blue light exposure, dryness from the AC, and most importantly, a changing diet – hello carbs! Two months in, and I noticed my fine lines appeared deeper and my “glow” needed some ammo. Simply put, my skin was craving some pampering and I’m sure many can relate. But with spas and dermatologists closed, I had to get creative with my treatment. That’s when I went back to my training and remembered what the foundation of healthy skin really  is — collagen. 

Looking at my two daughters’ skin, I often think collagen is wasted on kids. Collagen is the most plentiful protein in the human body, and there are at least 28 known types of collagen. It has anti-aging benefits and is a major player in skin health. It’s what makes kids’ skin look young and it’s responsible for making skin plump and hydrated, while keeping wrinkles at bay. Unfortunately, our bodies produce less collagen with age. The slowdown is responsible for those first visible signs of aging – like wrinkles, moisture loss and sagging skin. External stressors speed up the loss. Now to the good news. You can actually help your body maintain and build collagen through nutrition. 

Aside from natural aging, the top reason people don’t have enough collagen is poor diet. While proper nutrition might be something we neglect in quarantine, it can make the biggest difference. I’ll be the first to admit that my diet got off track in the early weeks of social distancing. That’s why my kitchen was the first stop for my skin refresh. 

Fruits and veggies are an easy way to get back on track. Dark green vegetables like spinach and kale are great for revving up collagen production and can be added to a variety of dishes. Likewise, most fruits contain powerful antioxidants that promote collagen production, especially fruits that are rich in Vitamin C which help support collagen production. I opt for low-sugar fruits like berries and kiwis as too much sugar can actually cause collagen to age prematurely. Bone-in chicken is my collagen-rich protein of choice for a main course. I also like bone broth, which is an ancient favorite for boosting collagen. 

While whole foods are always my first stop when it comes to nutrition, it’s hard to consume enough collagen to really see the results. That’s why collagen is often a supplement I recommend to my clients and take myself. But not all collagen supplements are created equal, collagen ingredients are really complex so no two collagen ingredients are alike. 

For anyone new to collagen supplementation, it’s important to look for ingredients that can provide multidimensional support and are backed by research. I always choose products that contain BioCell Collagen as an ingredient for that reason. It’s a matrix that combines collagen type II peptides, with other skin health boosters like chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid. I like that it’s conducive to good absorption in the body, which means it has excellent bioavailability for the benefits science shows it can deliver – all fancy language to mean that it’s effective. The matrix in BioCell Collagen has been found to reduce wrinkles and fine lines, and boost hydration (welcome back glow!). Even better is that a new study points to its ability to reduce signs of UVB-induced photoaging – the sun rays that wreak havoc on our skin. There are a number of products that contain the BioCell Collagen ingredient. A couple of my favorites are Reserveage Collagen Booster and Health Logics BioCell Collagen

In a time of so much uncertainty, taking some control over my skin makes me feel like I have a bit of my life back to normal.