How much collagen you lose annually is affected by a variety of factors, especially your age: starting in your mid-20s, the balance between how much you are producing and how many tips you are losing. “Our bodies always balance collagen production and degradation,” Gary Goldenberg, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, told us about collagen damage. “When we are young, our body produces more collagen than it breaks down. That balance goes wrong with age as tissue regeneration decreases.”
After you cross this threshold (which is influenced by genetics), you lose about 1% of your collagen each year. But it’s not the only thing that affects your collagen loss rate. For beginners, several habits accelerate the loss of collagen.
Smoking and unprotected UV exposure are the main causes: a study observed collagen under UV light and found that there was a “significant reduction” in collagen formation later on. In the case of smoking, it is obviously problematic for a number of reasons, but for the skin: “Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen supplied to the tissues. Therefore, the tissues cannot regenerate and are more likely to be degraded,” Goldenberg said. But looking at other habits can be quite hypocritical: daily stress, high-sugar foods, insufficient sleep, and even the use of very aggressive topical ingredients can all contribute to collagen damage.
Finally, major (life-related) changes in hormones and hormone production will change your collagen production. Especially menopause. Those who experience menopause experience a dramatic reduction (about 30%) in collagen production during that time.