These 9 Foods Are High in Collagen and Help Your Skin Bounce Back

In a long-form essay Chelsea G. Summers recently wrote for Unruly Bodies (a series created by best-selling author Roxane Gay and Medium), she details how skincare is as much a personal investment as it is a wider system at work. "My skincare is an army of products I've marshaled with a single intent: to keep aging at bay," she says.

Summers explores how anti-aging has become its own daily process, almost like brushing teeth or combing hair. And even though many women haven't yet experienced the crux of her argument—that altering facial features can disconnect us from our identities—most women have experienced pressure to look young. But is there another way to push off wrinkles without overspending?

According to Brooke Scheller, a certified nutrition specialist, there could be. It all starts with collagen, one of the body's most abundant proteins. "It's a protein found in our connective tissues, like muscles, skin, and the digestive system, that helps provide structure and elasticity," she says. "However, it's widely known to break down over time, leading to physical changes like wrinkles and sagging skin. It can also begin to break down our muscles and joints, too."

Naturally produced collagen begins to decline in our 20s, Scheller notes, and that's why eating foods that feature this structural protein can help keep its production going. While Brooke does say that it's possible to see results with collagen supplements, especially ones that contain only collagen peptides, she outlined a list of foods that you can work into your diet, too. Sure, the grocery store may not be as fun as Sephora, but it'll be a cost-effective and healthy way to see results instead.