So, if you’re looking to support collagen production as you age, then you’ll need to target that mechanism at the source—essentially, balancing what is lost by stimulating new collagen to support fuller, tighter skin.
One way of doing so is actually by using retinol, contrary to the popular misconception that retinol thins your skin. Here’s why it works: “Retinol binds to retinoid receptors within skin cells,” board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., previously explains to mbg. This “activates genes that upregulate collagen production.”
This effect has been observed in clinical studies, too, where retinol treatment stimulated collagen production2 in mature skin, helping decrease the appearance of wrinkling. So, alas, retinol does not thin the skin; it actually helps you maintain skin density and elasticity.
Now, if you’re concerned about thinning skin, retinol is not the only way to go about boosting your collagen production. You can also work from within by ingesting hydrolyzed (yes, only hydrolyzed) collagen peptides. If you’re looking for a trusty collagen supplement, here’s a list of the nine best options, each backed by a nutrition Ph.D.