The 8 Best Collagen Masks of 2022

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

02.11.22DISCLAIMER

It’s no secret that collagen is the key to firm, youthful-looking skin. Among the numerous products that claim to help support this vital protein is none other than the collagen mask. While there’s no arguing that topical treatments can help promote a healthier complexion, is it really possible to change skin integrity by applying a collagen face mask? In other words, do collagen masks work?

You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers. From collagen masks reviews to the best collagen for the face, here at Deep Science, we’ve examined hundreds of products under a scientific lens to ensure you’re using a skincare routine that’s safe and effective.

Let’s take a closer look at what a collagen mask can — and cannot — do and share with you seven of the best versions on the market that are worth trying.

Collagen Face Masks: The List 

Deep Science Collagen Quench, $70 

Tonymoly Golden Pig Collagen Bounce Back Mask, $19

Hydropeptide Nimni Cream, $110

Dr. Jart+ Cryo Rubber Mask with Firming Collagen, $14

The Organic Pharmacy Collagen Boost Mask, $129

Pixi By Petra Plump Collagen Boost Youth Infusion Sheet Mask, $13

Leaders Collagen Boosting Renewal Mask, $5 

Elixir Premium Lab 24K Gold Korean Collagen Face Mask, $9.99

The Science Behind Collagen Masks

While we can go into a deep dive about the science of collagen for the skin (see our FAQ section below), there’s nothing overly scientific about collagen face masks. Collagen masks come in cream, gel, or sheet delivery systems.

The idea is that by leaving the mask on for a set amount of time, the collagen from the product will absorb into your skin to help soften the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of tone. But there’s just one problem: collagen can’t be absorbed into the skin.

 

The Problem With Collagen Face Masks

The collagen protein is a huge, complex molecule, which inhibits it from being absorbed deeper than the epidermis (the uppermost layer of skin). Specifically, the collagen used in most skincare products is supplied as large 15,000 to 50,000-dalton molecules. The collagen protein is too large to penetrate the epidermis because of the 500 Dalton Rule. The 500 Dalton Rule states that the molecular weight must be under 500 dalton to allow skin absorption.

Ultimately, topically applied collagen will not make your skin firmer or supplement any loss of collagen that occurs with age. Instead, the collagen protein will sit on top of the skin and provide moisturization, but that’s about it. For collagen to offer anti-aging benefits, it would need to be absorbed into the deeper layers of skin (the dermis). 

What to Look for in a Collagen Face Mask

Does all of this information mean collagen face masks don’t work? Yes and no. The key is to look for ingredients in a collagen mask that can penetrate the stratum corneum and epidermis, making their way deep into the dermis.

  • When it comes to the best collagen for the face, look for “hydrolyzed collagen” or “collagen amino acids” on the product’s ingredient list. Hydrolyzed collagen has been broken down into smaller chains of amino acids called peptides. It is theorized that topical application of these collagen precursors may increase collagen production (if the peptides make their way down into the dermis). However, this theory has not been proven. Also, research suggests that while soluble or hydrolyzed collagen — which is broken down into smaller fragments — does penetrate the skin, these fragments are likely too small to do any good.
  • Other ingredients have been proven to penetrate the upper layers of skin and stimulate new collagen production in the dermis. If you want to try a collagen mask, you’ll want to check to see if the mask contains one or even or even a few of these ingredients that are known to increase collagen production.
  • Examples include vitamin C, peptides, antioxidants, and retinol. Vitamin C serves as a cofactor for two enzymes involved in collagen biosynthesis. Peptides work by sending messages to cells called fibroblasts, signaling them to produce more collagen. Retinol and other retinoids are converted to retinoic acid, which binds to receptors to increase procollagen production. 

Best Collagen Masks

To choose the best collagen face masks, we evaluated the ingredients to ensure the collagen mask contained either some form of hydrolyzed collagen or an ingredient known to stimulate new collagen production. Any collagen mask that only contained “collagen” did not make the list because, as you learned above, the collagen protein cannot be absorbed into the skin.

Deep Science Collagen Quench, $70
A unique blend of 3 low- and high-molecular-weight and hydrolyzed hyaluronic acids to help estore a plump, smooth appearance to dry, dehydrated skin.

Tonymoly Golden Pig Collagen Bounce Back Mask, $19
The name may be cheeky, but this is actually one of the few collagen masks that contains hydrolyzed collagen to help soften the signs of aging. Additionally, this collagen face mask contains 24k gold extract, hydrolyzed squalane, and honey extract to soften signs of aging such as wrinkles and dullness while boosting hydration. After washing it off, the skin looks more healthy, hydrated, and glowing.

Hydropeptide Nimni Cream, $110
This “dream cream” can be worn in a thicker layer — much like a mask— to help stimulate collagen production while you sleep. It’s formulated with a blend of time-released retinol, collagen supporting antioxidants, and a revolutionary amino acid complex to promote a plumper, more radiant complexion.

Dr. Jart+ Cryo Rubber Mask with Firming Collagen, $14
If you can get past what you’ll look like for the 15-20 minutes you’ll be wearing this collagen mask, then it’s worth trying. While it’s a single-use treatment, it does involve two steps. The first is a nourishing, anti-aging gel that’s formulated with hydrolyzed collagen, niacinamide, mango butter, and several other evidence-based ingredients. The second step is the liquid-turned rubber algin mask that locks all ingredients into the skin while adding another layer of hydration. Upon removal,  the skin is firmer, plumper, and more nourished.

The Organic Pharmacy Collagen Boost Mask, $129
While this collagen mask doesn’t actually contain collagen, it is formulated to boost collagen production, thanks to the help of vitamin C. Additionally, algin, antioxidant algae, helps retain the skin’s moisture, aloe vera calms inflammation, and vitamin E eases dryness. Additional antioxidants help counteract the damage caused by environmental stressors that promote premature aging.

Pixi By Petra Plump Collagen Boost Youth Infusion Sheet Mask, $13
This microfiber collagen and plant peptide mask helps improve and maintain the skin’s elasticity for firmer, smoother, plumper, and visibly healthier-looking skin. These masks are also enriched with skin-plumping peptides and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration and promote a more youthful complexion. Rich omega oils improve hydration and regulate sebum production.

Leaders Collagen Boosting Renewal Mask, $5
These collagen sheet masks are an excellent pick-me-up — especially when popped in the fridge before use. Hydrolyzed marine collagen softens and radically hydrates the skin, while anti-inflammatory botanicals like chamomile help calm a stressed, sensitized complexion. While anyone can use these masks several times a week, they are particularly beneficial for the traveler on the go.

Elixir Premium Lab 24K Gold Korean Collagen Face Mask, $9.99
Collagen mask reviews for this mask love its Instagram-worthy gilded hue. Still, it’s the hydrolyzed collagen in the Tencel gel layer that wins points on our side. It’s also formulated with additional anti-aging ingredients such as nourishing vitamin E and Coenzyme Q10, a powerful antioxidant that helps improve blood circulation and boost restorative collagen production. 

Collagen Masks: The Bottom Line

Collagen masks come in cream, gel, or sheet delivery systems. The idea is that by leaving the mask on for a set amount of time, the collagen from the product will absorb into your skin to help soften the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of tone. But there’s just one problem: collagen can’t be absorbed into the skin.

The collagen protein is a vast, complex molecule, which inhibits it from being absorbed deeper than the epidermis (the uppermost layer of skin). Ultimately, topically applied collagen will not make your skin firmer or supplement any loss of collagen that occurs with age. Instead, the collagen protein will sit on top of the skin and provide moisturization, but that’s about it. For collagen to offer anti-aging benefits, it would need to be absorbed into the deeper layers of skin (the dermis).

The key is to look for ingredients in a collagen mask that can penetrate the stratum corneum and epidermis, making their way deep into the dermis. For example,  “hydrolyzed collagen” or “collagen amino acids.” Other ingredients that have been proven to penetrate the upper layers of skin and stimulate new collagen production in the dermis include vitamin C, peptides, antioxidants, and retinol.

Our top recommendation is Deep Science Collagen Quench.

 

FAQs

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It makes up 25% to 35% of the entire body’s protein content. It’s a very complex and massive molecule with long chains of amino acids (primarily glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline) that form a triple helix structure.

Collagen is a major component of connective tissues that make up several body parts, including tendons, ligaments, muscles, and skin. It’s responsible for keeping the skin firm and plays a vital role in wound healing.

Unfortunately, the body produces less and less collagen with age. In fact, after the age of 20, a person produces about 1 percent less collagen in the skin each year. Moreover, environmental free radicals (from excessive sunlight exposure, smoking, pollution, etc.) can degrade collagen proteins.

Hydrolyzed collagen (HC) is a popular skincare ingredient and is considered to be an antioxidant. It’s been deemed a safe cosmetic ingredient for topical formulations, boasting excellent moisturizing properties at the stratum corneum layer of the skin. It reduces the effects of skin aging, such as dryness, laxity, and wrinkles.
Collagen masks can be used daily and are recommended at least 2 to 3 times per week to enhance and maintain results. Of course, reduce usage if your skin experiences any signs of irritation.
If it’s a cream or gel-based collagen mask, you can leave it on anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes or greater before removing it or massaging the residual product into the skin, depending on the formula. If it’s a sheet mask, you only need 15-20 minutes because you don’t want the sheet to dry up on your skin. The goal is to have some leftover serum to rub in.
A pleasant cooling sensation or slight tingling is normal — but If you feel immediate, severe tingling, burning, or see redness in your skin, remove it right away.

While you can make a homemade collagen mask, don’t expect any miracles. If anything, you’ll give your skin a nice mini-facial that makes the skin feel more soft and hydrated.

•Mix ½ teaspoon collagen powder, 1 teaspoon French rose clay, ½ teaspoon of honey, and 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel into a small bowl.
•Use a small spoon or face mask spatula to blend the ingredients until a creamy mask forms.
•Leave the collagen mask on the skin for 10-15 minutes. Gently remove with a soft, warm, damp washcloth. Follow up with your skincare routine as usual.

•Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet high in nutrients like Vitamins A and C.
•Adopt a solid, daily skincare routine that includes sunscreen and topical retinol.
•Limit sun exposure, alcohol consumption, and avoid smoking.
•Keep your stress levels at bay and get ample sleep each night.

Sources:
Collagen for Your Skin: Healthy or Hype?,” Cedars Sinai.
Putting Collagen in Your Coffee Has No Benefits, Says Scientist,” Science Alert.

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