As we age, the proteins, lipids, and molecules that make up our skin barrier and structure decline. Our bodies naturally produce their own supply of collagen, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, squalene (etc.) throughout our lifetimes. But the rate of this production slowly reduces, until the body can no longer make enough to restore the natural levels and they begin to taper off. And thus, we see the results: increased dryness and loss of firmness.

For most, this decline starts in the 20s (it’s different for everyone and is influenced by lifestyle, skin care habits, and genetics). For collagen and hyaluronic acid, in particular, there’s a pretty dramatic decline by our 50s. 

In fact, research shows that our natural reserve of hyaluronic acid is cut in half by the time we hit our 50s1. For collagen, there’s a steady rate of decline of about 1% every year until menopause (for those who experience it), at which point there’s a 30% drop in collagen in the skin, which is then leveled out to a 2% decline postmenopause.

That’s why some people may experience significant changes in their skin during this time and may look to adjust their skin care routines accordingly.

For topical routines, hyaluronic acid serums can help temporarily replenish humectants in the skin. These attract and hold water in the epidermis, providing a plumping and hydrating effect. Collagen can be supported through vitamin C serums, as well as retinols. Of course, sun protection should be a vital step, if it’s not already.

For internal skin care support, supplements can help promote skin hydration, elasticity, and firmness. Collagen supplements can support your natural production of collagen by feeding the body amino acids, which are the building blocks of collagen. Some collagen supplements even contain other actives such as vitamin C to promote collagen production. Hyaluronic acid supplements have also gained popularity since they help supply humectants to the body. If you’re in the market for either (or even looking for a two-in-one option) check out our roundup or our favorite beauty supplements.