In search of smooth skin, you’ll hear a lot of chatter about “boosting collagen,” but what does that mean exactly? “Collagen is the main structural protein in the skin, which acts like scaffolding and provides volume so the skin is smooth and wrinkle-free,” explains Jennifer Chwalek, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City.
Environmental factors like sun exposure and pollution can break down collagen, making it more likely you’ll see wrinkles staring back at you in the mirror, says New York City–based board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD. Age is a major factor, too. “As you get older, collagen production decreases so the skin can also appear thinner and have less structural support, which is why people begin to notice drooping or sagging of their skin,” she says.
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Collagen loss begins in the early twenties, says Dr. Garshick, making