Collagen is part of the support structure of our skin , along with Elastin these two form an integral mesh like structure which provides the skin with the ability to stretch and return back to its original state.

Collagen in its natural state is a protein which is continually manufactured by the body, however as we start to age our bodies natural processes start to slow down and this includes our collagen production. Sufficient collagen results in a skin that is thick , firm and supple.

What can we do to increase and/or stimulate our skins natural collagen production?
By exfoliating you are continuously removing the dead surface skin cells and thus encouraging your skin to produce new , young , healthy and collagen rich skin cells.You can either exfoliate using a granular scrub (coarser for the body and finer for the face) or alternatively make use of a more gentle enzymatic/fruit acid peel.

Use Sunscreen everyday
Even in winter it is important to use a sunscreen to prevent premature aging. The suns UV Rays cause the collagen in the skin to overheat; these proteins as a result lose their elasticity and become rigid. (Much like an egg when it’s raw, once it get subjected to heat and cooks it is no longer fluid and flexible)

Take Supplements
Coenzyme Q10 supplements are great at preventing aging and pollution damage from the inside out , in cosmetic preparations they are great at absorbing into the skin and stimulating collagen production.

How do I know if my skin is starting to lose elasticity?
You will notice fine lines and wrinkles
Your skin reaches its natural peak at 35 years of age, anyone after that should be trying to prevent damage and boost the skin naturally.
The skin becomes thinner.
The skins protection becomes weaker
The skins natural radiance becomes less
The skins natural moisture levels drop

One of the current trends is Fish Collagen peptides, which have the following benefits …
Fish collagen is easily digested and absorbed in the body
Fish collagen has little or no smell
Fish collagen dissolves in water
Fish collagen has an overall low allergy potential

Recently I have come across water soluble collagen drinks (such as Collagen Shots hailing from the USA) do any of these help?

I can’t honestly say, but what have you got to lose other than skin elasticity?