Best Collagen Creams 2021 - The Dermatology Review

Best Collagen Creams 2021

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

01.12.21DISCLAIMER

Collagen is one of the most talked about beauty ingredients. It’s popping up in everything from face creams to supplements, and is one element that is fueling the bone broth craze. But what exactly is collagen, what does it do, and why is it so important for skincare?

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. Think of it as the scaffolding that holds up skin, muscles, bones and ligaments. Thanks to collagen, nails and hair are healthy, shiny and strong. Collagen in cartilage enables us to bend and stretch our bodies without feeling bones grind against each other.

Best Collagen Creams

What Does Collagen Do For Skin? 

When it comes to the skin, collagen is found deep in the dermis and makes up about 70-80% of it. It’s what gives skin that plump, firm and youthful look. Collagen gives skin its “bounce back” quality and contributes to the skin’s ability to retain moisture. Another way to think of the effects of collagen is the difference between a plump, juicy baby cheek and the flat, papery cheek of an elderly person.

 The body produces collagen and when everything works smoothly, fibroblasts (or cellular collagen-making machines) create new collagen while the body’s enzymes break down old or damaged collagen and carry it away. But as we age, collagen production naturally slows down which leads to wrinkles on the eyes and forehead, and flatter looking skin. Some estimates indicate that skin loses 1 percent of its collagen every year starting in the mid-thirties. Without the support structure of collagen, fine lines and wrinkles on the face and eyes begin to show up. The connective tissue between skin becomes thinner and the layer of fat underneath it becomes more visible, leading to cellulite.

Collagen also plays a role in the repair of skin, as it helps to replace and restore dead skin cells. Collagen patches, derived from animals, are often used to treat burns and work by attracting new skin cells to the wound site. They also promote healing by creating a scaffolding for new tissue growth.

Are There Different Types of Collagen?

There are around 16 different types of collagen, and the most common are known as type I, II, III, and IV. According to Healthline, type I accounts for 90% of the body’s collagen. It is made from densely packed fibers and is what gives structure to skin, tendons, bone, cartilage, teeth and connective tissue. Type II is found in cartilage and cushions the joints, while Type III supports the structure of muscles, organs and arteries. Healthline notes that Type IV works on filtration and is found in the skin.

What Causes Collagen Levels to Decrease?

The aging process is just one factor contributing to collagen loss. The sun, smoking, diet and environmental damage can also accelerate this process. As the Mayo Clinic notes, exposure to ultraviolet light is one of the biggest culprits.  “Ultraviolet radiation, which speeds the natural aging process, is the primary cause of early wrinkling. Exposure to UV light breaks down your skin’s connective tissue — collagen and elastin fibers, which lie in the deeper layer of skin (dermis).”

Best Collagen Creams

But there are things you can do to protect the collagen you already have, and encourage the body to produce more of it.

How Can I Protect and Restore My Collagen?

One of the most important ways to protect your collagen is to apply sunscreen with a high SPF every single day. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) notes that “protecting your skin from the sun can reduce your risk of skin cancer, sunburn, and premature skin aging.” Keep in mind that sun damage is often cumulative, and “Spending time outdoors without protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can add years to your looks.”

 The best defense is avoiding the sun and using a broad spectrum SPF. The AAD recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. According to the AAD, broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays. What’s the difference? “Sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays that reach the earth — UVA rays and UVB rays. Overexposure to either can lead to skin cancer… UVA rays (or aging rays) can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots, and can pass through window glass. UVB rays (or burning rays) are the primary cause of sunburn and are blocked by window glass.

Another way to protect collagen is with the right cream, which can mean a collagen infused cream, or one that helps protect the collagen you have. A collagen infused cream helps nourish and moisturize the skin, which makes wrinkles look less prominent. In skincare products,, hydrolyzed collagen is basically collagen that has been broken down into  smaller chains of amino acids which are called peptides. It is thought that peptides can penetrate deeply into the skin and may help support collagen production.

What Helps Collagen Production?

Other ways to protect and restore your collagen include common sense lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking, keeping hydrated (both internally and externally) and eating a well-balanced, healthy diet. WebMd notes that “Many of the chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage [collagen], which can make skin sag and wrinkle.”

 Eating a healthy diet can also make a difference, especially for restoring collagen.  According to WebMD, specific foods can help boost collagen levels. “You can help your body make more collagen by eating healthy foods. To make it, your body puts together amino acids called glycine and proline. You find these acids in high-protein foods such as chicken, fish, beef, eggs, dairy, and beans. Other nutrients, like vitamin C, zinc, and copper, also play a part. You can get vitamin C in citrus fruits, tomatoes, and leafy greens. For zinc and copper, try shellfish, nuts, whole grains, and beans.” Bone broth is another option – but what exactly is it?

What Do Collagen Creams Do?

 Another way to boost collagen production is with the right beauty product. Collagen face creams fall into two categories. There are products which contain collagen, and others which help boost collagen production.

One of the best collagen boosting ingredients is the vitamin A derivative retinol. It works in two ways. It prevents the breakdown of collagen after UV exposure (known as collagenase) but also increases the amount of collagen produced by “turning on” genes and cells involved in collagen production.

Dr. Lauren Eckert Ploch, a dermatologist, shared this tip with the American Academy of Dermatology. She recommends women in their 30s use a retinoid for anti-aging concerns. “Retinoids are my go-to wrinkle treatment for women in this age group,” she says. “In addition to improving your skin’s current appearance, they also help build collagen, which can lead to more voluminous skin in your 40s and 50s.”

What Are The Best Ingredients in Collagen Creams?

Vitamin A isn’t the only collagen friendly ingredient. Look for collagen moisturizers and serums with antioxidants like vitamins C, E, and powerhouses such as green tea and pomegranate. They work by blocking the damage caused by free radicals, which attack collagen and elastin. 

When choosing your collagen cream, also look out for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid (which is a super moisturizer) as well as peptides, stem cells and growth factors to help support collagen production. Hydrolyzed collagen is the same thing as a peptide- it basically means collagen that has been shrunk down. Peptides are thought to work as “messengers” to signal the body to start creating collagen when the body needs to heal after an injury. When peptides are applied topically, the concept is that the peptides trick the body into thinking there has been an injury, thereby triggering a collagen response. 

Growth factors are not to be confused with growth hormones. They are found in skin cells and help promote the creation of collagen and elastin. Another way to think about growth factors is that they help to support, repair and heal skin.

Stem cells in skincare come from plants such as apples and melons and sometimes animals, and contain proteins and amino acids which tell the body’s skin cells to repair and rejuvenate themselves. They  also act as antioxidants and protect the skin cells which produce collagen.

What Are The Best Collagen Creams?

The best collagen cream is Carrot & Stick’s The Repair Serum. Followed by Formulyst Pro-Collagen Serum.

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1Carrot & Stick’s The Repair Serum

This serum from Carrot & Stick is packed with botanicals to help hydrate and protect the skin. The Repair Serum contains chamomile, licorice root and green tea to help brighten the skin, while seven plant-based neuropeptides enhance the skin’s structural integrity from the inside out, promoting smoother, more resilient skin. A blend of synthesized growth factors promotes elasticity, cell turnover and nutrient absorption to support revitalization.

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Formulyst Pro-Collagen Serum

2Formulyst Pro-Collagen Serum

The most effective skin care regimens usually contain a serum as well, as they are the workhorses of any routine. Formulyst’s Pro-Collagen Serum contains a potent mix of peptides and proteins, derived from natural ingredients such as seaweed, wheat and soy. Gently pat a few drops of this restorative serum on the face to help to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

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Formulyst Ultimate Youth Concentrate

3Formulyst Ultimate Youth Concentrate

To tackle the signs of aging, apply Formulyst’s Ultimate Youth Concentrate. This silky serum is bio-engineered from plant stem cells and loaded with a concentrated combination of five peptides. The deeply hydrating formula helps soften and smooth skin, and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

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Advanced Dermatology Regimen

4Advanced Dermatology Regimen

There is no one single, magic bullet ingredient when it comes to anti-aging. The best line of defense is a combination of the right products and ingredients, and using them consistently. Take the guesswork out of choosing the correct products for your skin type and concerns with Advanced Dermatology’s skincare regimen. The line focuses on anti-aging, with a night cream, day cream, serum and more. The six products are designed to moisturize, protect and boost the skin’s appearance. The regimen includes a Daily Renew Cleanser, Super Youth Serum, Anti Wrinkle Firming Night Treatment, Deep Cellular Regeneration Cream, Complete Age Defense Day Cream and Youthful Boost Eye Cream.

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5 Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream

This lightweight but ultra hydrating gel-cream formula helps fight the signs of aging while also firming up the skin. Some of the powerhouse ingredients in this collagen moisturizer include the Mediterranean brown algae padina pavonica, as well as the antioxidants rose, mimosa absolutes and gingko biloba to fight damaging free radicals. Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream is a day cream, and should be applied in the morning.

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6 Olay Collagen Peptide 24 Serum

The collagen serum from the Olay Collagen Peptide 24 collection has a lightweight texture that absorbs quickly without leaving a sticky, greasy, or heavy feeling. This serum is said to visibly tighten facial contours and help skin look more supple within 2 weeks. The key ingredient that supports collagen production is palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, a type of matrikine. Matrikines are messenger peptides that regulate cell activities through cell signaling. For example, when the collagen protein is degraded, matrikines send signals to fibroblasts to produce new collagen.

Since matrikines have the ability to increase the production of collagen, elastin, and other macromolecules in the ECM, synthetic peptides like palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 have been created to mimic these effects. Thus, the inclusion of palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 in the Olay Collagen Peptide 24 serum means you may notice an improvement in skin firmness after using these products. Additional key ingredients in the Olay Collagen Peptide 24 serum are niacinamide, glycerin, and panthenol.

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7 Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting cream

Olay’s Regenerist cream does a little bit of everything, including protecting and restoring collagen. It’s powered by peptides to help boost collagen production, while the antioxidants vitamin E and green-tea extract helps protect the skin against damaging free radicals. This collagen cream feels rich and thick, and leaves skin deeply moisturized thanks to hyaluronic acid. Carob fruit extract works to improve skin texture.

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8 Dr. Dennis Gross C + Collagen Deep Cream

This collagen cream by Dr. Dennis Gross is said to deeply hydrate, smooth, and brighten your complexion. It is recommended for those with normal, combination, or dry skin. The formula helps to stimulate new collagen production thanks to 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, a vitamin C derivative. Additional key ingredients include camellia japonica (tsubaki), rice bran, and sunflower seed oils.

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9 It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream

This fast-absorbing collagen moisturizer turbo charges the skin’s natural rejuvenation process while leaving the face feeling plump and smooth. Confidence in a Cream is loaded with good-for-you skincare ingredients including collagen and hyaluronic acid to fill fine lines and wrinkles, giving skin a fuller look. A combo of niacin, peptides, and ceramides work to improve skin texture and boost firmness. The cream can be applied morning and night.

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10 Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion

Murad’s Rapid Collagen is a targeted anti-aging serum. It taps into the power of collagen amino acids to target the signs of aging, such as wrinkles and dull skin. A boost of moisture helps to plump up the skin and fill in fine lines. The hero ingredient in this collagen boosting serum is winged kelp, an edible brown algae packed with antioxidants to help protect the skin from environmental damages. Olive oil and lavender oil work to soothe and hydrate the skin.

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11 Algenist

Nutrient-rich algae is at the core of Algenist’s line of products. The brand’s proprietary ingredient is alguronic acid, which is derived from algae and is hailed to have anti-aging properties. Alguronic acid is thought to encourage cell turnover, while also boosting the power of ingredients such as vitamin C, retinol, and peptides, along with fighting damage from free radicals. Algenist’s Genius Liquid Collagen is a vegan serum that contains plant collagen and microalgae oil beads. The collagen rich serum should be applied after toning and cleansing.

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12 Dr Spiller Hydro Collagen Cream

To boost hydration and tackle fine lines, slather on a layer of Dr Spiller Hydro Collagen Cream in the morning. This rich day cream contains soluble collagen, a humectant, as well as beeswax, which works to soften the skin and improve its texture. Both ingredients work together as powerful antioxidants. The cream works to firm and lift the skin, leaving it looking soft and radiant, and creates a smooth base for applying makeup.

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13 Bioelements Collagen Rehab

Collagen Rehab from Bioelements does double duty- this mask can be used on the face as well as the lips. It is packed with five plant collagen-supporting amino acids (including carrot, quinoa and red ginseng). Skin is left soft and nourished thanks to jojoba oil and mango seed oil, to protect and restore elastin and collagen. The super hydrating formula helps to leave skin looking dewy and firmer.

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14 Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-texturizing Serum Concentrate

Dry, dull skin is no match for this hydrating facial serum. Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum contains 15% plant-based glycerin derived from coconut, rapeseed and palm fruit as well as shiso leaf extract. The serum is designed to smooth away the appearance of fine lines by plumping them up with a blast of moisture, and also helps improve skin texture -and .

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15 Dr Roebuck’s Perky Collagen Boosting Serum

Think of this serum as an all-arounder. Dr Roebuck’s Perky Collagen Boosting Serum is a plant based product formulated to help restore collagen while also leaving skin looking brighter and tighter. Heavy lifting ingredients include squalene, ginseng and hyaluronic acid, which can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Pullulan (which helps tighten the skin) and inca inchi oil from a Peruvian plant work together to help firm and plump the look of skin. The formula is vegan and silicone free.

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Sources: Mayo Clinic, American Academy of Dermatology, WebMD, Healthline
Caberlotto, E., Ruiz, L., Miller, Z., Poletti, M., & Tadlock, L. (2017). Effects of a skin-massaging device on the ex-vivo expression of human dermis proteins and in-vivo facial wrinkles. PloS one, 12(3).
Al-Niami, F & Chiang, N 2017. ‘Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications’, The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, vol. 10, is. 7, pp. 14-17.
Bolke, L., Schlippe, G., Gerß, J., & Voss, W. (2019). A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. Nutrients, 11(10), 2494.
Ganceviciene, R., Liakou, A. I., Theodoridis, A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 308–319.
Papakonstantinou, E., Roth, M., & Karakiulakis, G. (2012). Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 253–258.

  • Lina Original review: Jan 11, 2015. Reply

    I see everyone who has written in so far is interested in looking younger. This is not what I am investigating collagen creams for. I used to have naturally long, beautiful nails that many people thought were fake. After menopause, my nails seemed to get thinner and started to get vertical ridges which started to break my nail upward toward the quick. Now all of my nails are doing this and they have broken so far up that I have split ridges in my quick. I need to stop these ridges because this is very painful and it’s hard to use my hands for daily chores. Can a collagen cream build up my cuticles and nails so that the ridges will go away or diminish??? Please help!

  • Laura Original review: Jan 08, 2015. Reply

    Hi Shannon

    Can you confirm which collagen cream you are recommending please.

    Thanks

  • Brenda Original review: Aug 06, 2014. Reply

    Wrinkles are not inevitable. I am 67 and do not have one wrinkle on my face. I have never laid in the sun. I do get injections of natural hyularonic acid for slight sagging of the apostrophe’s and jowl. But sagging and wrinkles are totally different. You can keep wrinkles away with good skin care and stay out of the sun. What works is perscription retin A, glycolic acid, dmae, hyularonic acid, peptides. There is also a new one out now that has promise on actual sagging. If you keep the wrinkles away you can get the hyularonic acid put back in to take care of any slight sag you might get.

  • Tina Original review: Dec 29, 2013. Reply

    I use a product called Pevonic Age-Defying Marine Collagen Cream. You can only buy it from spas. Appears to work well. It feels very luxurious and smells great. I have used it for years since the range is stocked at my local spa.

  • Ximena Original review: Dec 08, 2013. Reply

    What is the best collagen cream for face? I tried lemis pro collagen marine cream and pro collagen marine cream but did not see a major difference in my skin. I have been looking at collagen cream reviews but they have not been helpful.

  • Felicity Original review: Oct 11, 2013. Reply

    i rate garnier ultralift as the best collagen cream.
    it is not natural but it works.
    as soon as you put it on the face looks much heavier and you look like a chubby person.

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