Chances are, you’ve heard of collagen, as well as products and procedures that promise to rebuild it. But what exactly is it?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. Think of it as scaffolding for your skin, with collagen fibers providing support to tissues and cells throughout the body and giving skin its strength.

As we age, we lose collagen, which leads to fine lines and wrinkles. “Collagen is decreased so the skin becomes thinner as evidenced by the bruising that older people get on their arms,” Dr. Vivian Bucay, a board certified dermatologist in San Antonio, Texas, told YouBeauty.

“A group of enzymes are responsible for breaking down collagen,” explains Bucay, “but certain habits, such as exposure to damaging UV rays and smoking, can speed up this process, causing premature aging.”

The good news is that, along with staying out of the sun and not smoking, there are skincare products and procedures that can help stimulate the production of collagen to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The gold standard skincare ingredient: topical retinoids, such as prescription tretinoin, which research published in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging shows triggers new collagen formation, along with its over-the-counter cousin retinol.

There are skincare products that can help thicken and tighten skin are ones that contain growth factors. Growth factors are known to stimulate stem cells in the skin and stimulate fibroblasts to produce more collagen,” explained Bucay. Neocutis Bio-Cream Bio-Restorative Skin Cream features PSP®, a proprietary blend of growth factors, which helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and enhance the appearance of skin firmness.

There are also several procedures that can help rebuild collagen. Laser resurfacing removes the top layer of skin and heats the underlying dermis, stimulating collagen growth and prompting it to kick into self-repair mod, coming back stronger and smoother, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. However, downtime can last for seven days or more, depending on the type of laser used.

Ultrasound and radiofrequency are non-invasive treatment options that use heat energy to trigger new collagen, explains Bucay. Ultherapy, which uses ultrasound energy to lift and tighten the skin, is FDA-approved to improve fine lines and wrinkles on the décolletage and lift the eyebrow, neck and skin under the chin, with minimal downtime. To find a medical practice offering the procedure near you, visit the Ultherapy website.

Targeting collagen production isn’t something only reserved for those with already-visible wrinkles; it’s never too early to start focusing on skin health and stimulating your own collagen production.

This post is brought to you by YouBeauty and Ultherapy.

The non-invasive Ultherapy® procedure is U.S. FDA-cleared to lift skin on the neck, on the eyebrow and under the chin as well as to improve lines and wrinkles on the décolletage. For indications in your country, and full product and safety information, including possible mild side effects, visit