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Foods to Increase Collagen Production in Your Skin

Updated on April 6, 2014

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Collagen is a long, fibrous protein that together with elastin and soft keratin, forms the connective tissue (literally, the tissue that "connects" the skin together) which is responsible for your skin's elasticity and strength. Skin aging - thinning of the skin, appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and age spots, occur when the collagen begins to break down in your skin. This process is a natural part of aging, which usually begins by your late 20's.

When this begins to happen to us ("I think I see a new laugh line at the corner of my eyes"), many of us seek help in a bottle, or in a jar. And there are many good products out there. Some do a good job of giving temporary results and some don't. In a future article, I will cover which products you can trust.

Collagen Molecule

For now, I want to warn you away from the many topical skin care products on the market that contain collagen and make great claims - THEY DON'T WORK! I know this is counter-intuitive; if your skin needs to rebuild collagen and the product contains collagen, it MUST work, right? Well, no. The reason these collagen-containing products don't work is that the collagen molecules are just too large to get inside the skin and do their job of rebuilding. In short, they are simply imposters.

Lifestyle Strategies for Beautiful Skin

So, with all the options available, how in the world are you supposed to know what YOU can do to rejuvenate your skin's elasticity and plumpness? Great question. In this article, we are going to look at the lifestyle strategies that you can adopt to slow down, halt, and even reverse the aging process in your skin to an amazing degree.

  1. First and foremost, DO NOT SMOKE. If you already smoke, the best thing you can do for your skin is to quit. Nothing ages your skin quite so fast as smoking.
  2. If you consume alcohol, do so in extreme moderation, as alcohol has a very similar effect on the skin as cigarette smoking.
  3. Exercise a minimum of three to four times a week. Exercise is good for every aspect of your health, and your skin is no exception.
  4. Finally, the lifestyle choice that has the capacity to make the most improvement in your skin is eating the right foods. Notice that I did not give the garden variety advice to "eat right." There are very specific nutrients that work to protect the existing collagen in your skin, and there are nutrients that actually stimulate collagen regrowth in your skin.


New Laser Therapy Promotes Collagen in Skin

Collagen-Boosting Nutrients

You must build collagen from the inside out!

The inside-to-outside approach is always your best bet for health and beauty. To look younger, your body must produce new collagen cells in your skin. You must consume foods that help your body protect the collagen it has, while providing the building blocks it needs to build new collagen fibers.

Cold water fish, such as salmon, sardines, cod, mackerel, and tuna are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that keep skin soft and supple. Eating three to four ounces at least twice a week gives you good amounts of these essential fatty acids. If you are vegan, you can take two Tbsp. of flax seed oil daily instead.

Garlic contains sulfur, which helps your body produce collagen. Garlic contains taurine and lipoid acid, which support damaged collagen fibers. Make garlic a regular component of your meat dishes, stews, beans, soups, ethnic meals, and pasta.

Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which inhibits collagenases. Collagenases are enzymes that destroy collagen. While many foods have higher nutrient values when they are eaten raw, tomatoes actually contain greater amounts of lycopene when they are cooked. Enjoy liberal doses of stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, marinara sauce, and spaghetti sauce.

Hot Chili Peppers are an excellent source of Vitamin C!
Hot Chili Peppers are an excellent source of Vitamin C!

Vitamin C: Collagen-Boosting Supernutrient

Vitamin C is critical for collagen production in the skin. Therefore, you'll want to make it a priority to eat foods high in Vitamin C.

Many fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of Vitamin C. And of course, we all know that citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit are good sources of Vitamin C. That is true. However, did you know that even though these foods ARE good sources of Vitamin C, they are NOT THE BEST sources?

That's right. A number of other fruits and vegetables contain superior amounts of Vitamin C to citrus fruit! Surprisingly, for you guys and gals that love spicy foods, hot chili peppers is THE TOP PICK for Vitamin C - both the red and green varieties! I always knew there was a reason to love salsa. Ola!!

Best Sources of Vitamin C

Vitamin C per 3.5 ounce serving
Hot chili peppers, green (raw)
242 mg.
228 mg.
Sweet peppers, yellow (raw)
183 mg.
Lychees (dried)
183 mg.
Black currants, European (raw)
181 mg.
Sweet peppers, green (sauteed)
177 mg.
Sweet peppers, red (sauteed)
163 mg.
Hot chili peppers, red (raw)
144 mg.
Orange juice
138 mg.
Kale (raw)
120 - 130 mg.
Mustard greens (raw)
130 mg.
Sweet peppers, red (raw)
128 mg.
Grapefruit juice
120 mg.
Tomatoes, sun-dried (in oil)
102 mg.

Vitamin C Superfoods

To the right are tables of the foods highest in Vitamin C. I have grouped the foods in the tables to the right and below according to amounts of Vitamin C they contain:

Best sources of Vitamin C - 100 to 200+ mg.

More good sources of Vitamin C - 77 to 100 mg.

As you can see in more detail in the tables, the top Vitamin C-containing superfoods are . . . . .

  • hot peppers!
  • sweet peppers
  • guavas
  • blackcurrants
  • lychees
  • oranges and grapefruits
  • dark leafy greens
  • peaches
  • kiwi
  • tomatoes.

More Good Sources of Vitamin C

Number of mg. of Vitamin C per 100 gram serving (3.5 ounces) 
Peaches (frozen) 
94 mg. 
 Broccoli (raw)
89-93 mg. 
Kiwi (raw) 
7-93 mg. 
Cauliflower (raw)
89 mg.
Brussel sprouts (raw)
85 mg.
Banana peppers (raw)
83 mg.
Sweet peppers, green (raw)
80 mg.
Lemons (raw)
77 mg.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thank you - info I have been searching for :)

    • idigwebsites profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Good thing I love peppers, from very spicy to the sweet. Never did I know that they help in boosting the potency of collagen in your skin. This is really great! :)

    • compu-smart profile image


      6 years ago from London UK

      Very interesting and useful information

    • profile image

      nitin dahiya 

      6 years ago

      nothing about amla(indian gooseberry) has more

      vitamin c(445 mg/100g).even more than hot chilli peppers.

    • ShyeAnne profile image


      6 years ago from Deep Bay, British Columbia, Canada

      Lots of great information. thank you for taking the time to research and present a great article.

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for dropping by. From my research, it seems unlikely that any of the collagen-containing products actually translate into collagen formation inside the skin, since the molecules are too large. However, there are some topical products that promise to help build collagen - CoenzymeQ10, copper peptides, topical Vitamin C, amino acids, and Cynergy TK are among these products. Also, there are laser procedures that help to build collagen in the skin.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      thans for sharing this so useful information.

      Sure I`ll save a good money after visiting your site.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      So useful and inspiring. Thank you. Are there any possible ways to boost collagen formation from the outside? (putting on facial products etc) Thanks.

    • profile image

      Kattalina Hoffmann-Beitia 

      7 years ago

      Thank you!! I nearly ordered Bellaplex and Hydroxatone online but have now been convinced to follow your advice and improve my skin from the inside through eating the 'right foods' and following all your advice. It has been very helpful.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you! Very informative read that can easily be put into practice.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      very resourceful. i really learned a lot by reading this. thank you

    • profile image

      jj from florida 

      7 years ago

      I loved it , all the foods on the list are easy to get from your local supermarket and for most of people, they taste good. I don't like raw tomato , now that i know cooked is even better, I'll have my marinara sauce more often and guilt free :)

    • TattooKitty profile image


      8 years ago from Hawaii

      There a some wonderful and delicious products here! You could take a mixture of collagen-boosting foods and cook a scrumptious, skin-friendly meal! I'm already drooling...

      ...some fresh ahi, minced garlic...a little chopped hot red pepper...

      I think I feel some Hawaiian poke coming on!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I wonder if Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid tablet supplements could help? I am taking 500 mg of tablets daily. Is there any difference between supplemental Ascorbic Acid in a tablet form versus those natural form found in foods such as fruits and veggies?

    • bojanglesk8 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great hub!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      hi, this information is very useful! thanks! however is there a way we can put natural stuff on our face? to boost the collagen? i would like to know that!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Quite Informative

    • profile image

      teen dream 

      9 years ago

      This is exactly the information that i was looking for! I'm going to put this info into practice right away!

      Thanks you

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      9 years ago

      Staci-Barbo7, Nice informative hub! Great healthy suggestions! Thank You for sharing, Blessings!

    • AllMomNeeds2know profile image


      10 years ago

      Great article, thanks for the info!

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Ocbill, I'm glad you found a couple of your favorites high on the list.

      I think the most overlooked counter-productive foods are those that create inflammation in the body, like oils or fats that contain the wrong ratio of omega fats, i.e., lard, hard vegetable shortening (Crisco), hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils, most margarines, and many prepared foods, which contain hydrogenated oils and/or trans fats. The key is to look for great ingredients - the same ones you would use if you were cooking at home (assuming a basic knowledge of nutrition and the will to use it).

      Next most counter-productive foods - I would say that foods made from a COMBINATION of high fats (or bad fats) AND sugar qualify.

      Finally, avoid foods made with refined ingredients, like white flour and high fructose corn syrup. The body just does not favor these foods that do not appear in nature; that is why they create inflammation and wreak havoc within the body's systems. This naturally includes the skin, as our bodies' largest organ (that serves a vital role in excreting these UN-natural substances, by the way).

      Sorry, grandma, your wonderful homemade biscuits made with lard or Crisco create inflammation and just - well - AGE us.

    • ocbill profile image


      10 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      Garlic is great for quite a few things more too.

      Hot peppers eh? so bell peppers do not fit in there?

      I saw kiwi but it is over 100mg. That is a favorite of mine.

      any foods or fruits or veggies that are counter-productive besides junk food?

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Anglnwu, sorry to have been so long responding, as my schedule has been BUSY since school started. I appreciate your stopping by, and I hope you experience a personal benefit.

    • anglnwu profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks for the useful tips--we can all use some collagen boosts and I'm glad you mentioned lots of foods that can do that.

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from North Carolina

      You're welcome, Marisa! Glad to know that you find the information useful.

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 

      10 years ago from Sydney

      This is very illuminating. I've learned something, thanks!

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Jill of Alltrades, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Now go eat some peppers and be beautiful!

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      Excellent hub! Very informative! Thank you very much for sharing.

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from North Carolina

      You're welcome, Skin Care.

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from North Carolina

      You're welcome, Skin Care.

    • profile image

      Skin care 

      10 years ago


    • Staci-Barbo7 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Rapidshare, thank you for commenting!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Good post. Thanks!

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Shalini, you're welcome! I really enjoyed doing the research for this Hub, since the information I found challenged my own ideas about the best sources of Vitamin C. I had always thought citrus fruits were THE foods for Vitamin C. Now when I choose foods for beautiful skin, I keep the Best Sources list in mind. My favorite is the sauteed sweet pepper.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      10 years ago from India

      Thank you Staci-Barbo7 - that's a very informative hub - and thanks for that exhaustive list of Vitamin C foods! Somehow we don't really look beyond citrus fruit juices do we? 

      I'm off to do some collagen replenishing!


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