Is ‘collagen banking’ the ULTIMATE key to maintaining ageless looks? Experts lift the lid on viral skincare trend – and why EVERYONE should be starting it in their 20s

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Written By Maya Cantina
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  • Young women start building up their collagen levels at a young age to prep skin
  • FEMAIL spoke to dermatologists about how to boost collagen levels early on
  • They explained how you can embrace the latest skincare craze – and if it works

The latest anti-aging skincare trend might surprise you – especially since it’s being embraced by women in their 20s. 

Collagen banking is a concept where young women start building up their collagen levels at a young age so when their skin begins to decline as they get older – a process that sees most women naturally losing collagen – it means their complexion is prepared.

So, how does someone save up their collagen – which provides structure and support to the skin – and does starting early really work when it comes to preventing signs of aging? 

To find out, FEMAIL spoke to New York City-based dermatologists Carmen Castilla and Hadley King, who explained how you can embrace the latest skincare craze. 

Collagen banking is a concept where young women start building up their collagen levels at a young age so when they begin to decline, their skin is prepared (stock image)

Board-certified dermatologist at New York Dermatology Group Carmen Castilla has found her patients have a 'significant interest around increasing collagen production'

Board-certified dermatologist at New York Dermatology Group Carmen Castilla has found her patients have a ‘significant interest around increasing collagen production’

How do you produce more collagen?  

  • Sunscreen
  • Retinoids
  • Antioxidants  
  • Chemical peels
  • Microneedling 
  • Botox
  • Fillers 
  • Lasers like Fraxel, Clear and Brilliant, CO2 and Erbium 
  • Non-invasive tightening devices like Sofwave and Ultherapy 

 

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The concept has gone viral on TikTok, as skincare experts urge young women to start investing in their skin early on and use the #collagenbank hashtag to discuss the best products. 

There are different approaches to collagen banking, but sunscreen and retinoids are part of the intensive skincare process, as well as chemical peels, microneedling, Botox, or fillers.  

Board-certified dermatologist at New York Dermatology Group Carmen Castilla has found her patients have a ‘significant interest around increasing collagen production.’ 

However, it’s not all about collagen production when it comes to maintaining youthful skin as you age. 

‘While collagen is often fixated upon, having healthy appearing skin entails more than just boosting collagen levels,’ Dr. Castilla warned, explaining that multiple factors accelerate the skin aging. 

Dr. Castilla suggested using retinoids and sunscreen, which focus on maintaining healthy skin as opposed to solely increasing collagen production. 

The dermatologist thinks the sole focus ‘may be a reason why many “hero” ingredients that only concentrate on collagen production fail to live up to their hype.’

‘We are all going to go through the aging process with decreased collagen production, and other age-related skin changes. The rate of those changes can be slowed with the use of sunscreen, retinoid and antioxidants that protect the integrity of our collagen and other supportive structures of the skin,’ Dr. Castilla said. 

There are different approaches to collagen banking, but sunscreen, retinoids, chemical peels, microneedling, Botox, and fillers are part of the intensive process (stock image)

There are different approaches to collagen banking, but sunscreen, retinoids, chemical peels, microneedling, Botox, and fillers are part of the intensive process (stock image)

Dr. Castilla explained that there are procedures that can help increase collagen production, including resurfacing lasers like Fraxel, shown above (stock image)

Dr. Castilla explained that there are procedures that can help increase collagen production, including resurfacing lasers like Fraxel, shown above (stock image)

Dr. King’s guide to youthful skin and increased collagen

  • Decrease sugar and other refined carbs to decrease aging of the skin
  • Exercise, as studies show it keeps the skin looking young 
  • Avoid peak UV hours, seek shade, wear UV protective clothing and a broad-brimmed hat and UV-shielding sunglasses
  • Reduce stress, because studies have shown it can contribute to the development of wrinkles
  • Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, has been shown to break down collagen in the skin

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‘It is much easier to slow that descent than to try to reverse those changes once they are already there,’ Dr. Castilla advised. 

But she stated that there is evidence that ‘a diet low in sugar and refined carbohydrates is associated with younger appearing skin.’

The dermatologist also explained that there are procedures that can help increase collagen production, including resurfacing lasers like Fraxel, Clear and Brilliant, CO2 and Erbium, as well as microneedling with RF has some evidence of increasing collagen production. 

Dr. Castilla said that non-invasive tightening devices such as Sofwave and Ultherapy can also increase collagen production. 

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King, who’s also a clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, agreed that collagen banking is about lifestyle changes and not just beauty products.

The Harvard grad tells her patients to avoid smoking, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, as well as lean protein and healthy fats and minimal refined carbs. 

Dr. King also suggests exercising regularly, minimizing stress, and getting plenty of sleep.

Dr. King said ‘it’s reasonable to add additional topical ingredients in our 30s or late 20s’ to help with collagen production.

Dr. King recommended using retinoids and peptides, as well as supplements like Biosil to support collagen, elastin, and keratin.

‘Studies noted improvements in skin elasticity, wrinkles and fine lines,’ Dr. King told FEMAIL about the collagen supplement. 

Microneedling can also help increase collagen production - although patients don't necessarily need to start when they're young (stock image)

Microneedling can also help increase collagen production – although patients don’t necessarily need to start when they’re young (stock image)

While it can be tempting to start collagen banking in your younger years, Dr. Castilla explained, ‘If you don’t have much to “improve” then you aren’t going to see much after one of these procedures – it’s more for maintenance.’

However, that doesn’t stop younger people from trying to use these lasers and tightening devices – but it might not have the right results. 

‘In these cases is when I see patients saying that the procedure “didn’t work” but the issue oftentimes is the expectations were not realistic, not the device itself.’

It’s also possible to build up collagen with injectables. 

‘Botox or other neurotoxins have been shown to increase collagen and help with reorganization of the collagen in the extracellular matrix which improves skin’s appearance.’ 

And it does make sense to start banking in your 20s when it comes to skincare, using a combination of sunscreen, a retinoid and antioxidant. 

‘Skincare is a long-term game – maintaining what you have with these skin products over time rather than seeing dramatic results in the short term.’ 

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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