If you’ve ever purchased an anti-aging skin care product, then you’ve probably heard of collagen. Beauty brands claim that their product will reduce signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles, by “boosting collagen levels” or “stimulating new collagen synthesis”. But what exactly is collagen? In this article, we’ll explain what collagen is, collagen benefits for skin, and the various types of collagen skin care products that are available. And, of course, we’ll explain how to choose the best collagen serum so you don’t have to waste time or money searching for products.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is a major component of connective tissues that make up several body parts, including tendons, ligaments, muscles, and skin. Collagen is responsible for keeping skin strong and firm, and also plays an important role in wound healing. 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 can degrade collagen proteins. The result is skin that becomes thinner and more fragile with age.
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Collagen benefits for skin
Increasing the levels of collagen in the skin results in numerous benefits, such as reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, firming skin, and promoting a more plump complexion. However, it should be noted that if a skin care product simply has “collagen” on the ingredient list, it probably won’t provide you with the anti-aging benefits you are looking for. This is because the collagen protein is simply too large to penetrate the skin. Rather, the protein will sit on top of the skin and provide moisturization, but that’s about it. In order for collagen to work, it needs to be absorbed into the deeper layers of skin (the dermis). This is why it’s important to look for products that contain hydrolyzed collagen or collagen amino acids. You can also use other ingredients that are known to stimulate collagen production, such as vitamin C, peptides, and retinol.
What forms of topical collagen are available?
As you can see, collagen is vital for maintaining healthy, youthful skin. Fortunately, there are many topical collagen skin care products available today, including the following:
- Collagen serum
- Collagen lotion
- Collagen gel
- Collagen cream
There are also oral collagen supplements that are used to increase collagen levels in the skin, thus resulting in a firmer, more youthful complexion. Two examples of oral collagen supplements are Spring Valley Collagen and Minerva Pure Gold Collagen. Spring Valley Collagen tablets contain collagen type 1 and 3 plus vitamin C (vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen). Minerva Pure Gold Collagen is a liquid beauty supplement designed to boost natural collagen, elastin, and hydration levels that decline over time. This oral supplement is formulated with a unique blend of active ingredients that includes hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid, borage oil, vitamins, and minerals.
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What is the best collagen serum?
If you can’t decide which collagen formulation is right for you, we’d like to recommend using a collagen serum. In contrast to a collagen lotion or cream, a collagen serum is more concentrated and the formulation won’t have occlusive emollients that can leave skin feeling greasy or even lead to clogged pores. Below are some of our favorite collagen serums, along with our pick for the best collagen serum.
Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
Ole Henriksen Truth Serum is said to help brighten, firm, and fight signs of aging thanks to sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a precursor of ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C). Vitamin C helps the skin combat free radicals, serves as a cofactor for two enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of collagen, and inhibits the formation of dark spots. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum also contains hydrolyzed collagen, which is simply collagen that has been broken down into its amino acids so that it is absorbed better by the skin.
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Advanced Clinicals Collagen Serum
Advanced Clinicals Collagen Serum supports the natural production of collagen and is said to promote a plumper, firmer complexion. This collagen serum contains soy extracts to target sagging, lost elasticity, and facial lines.
Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion
This collagen serum by Murad is said to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles in just 2 hours. The formula contains collagen amino acids, which are more easily absorbed by the skin than the large collagen protein. Collagen amino acids are thought to help the skin form new collagen, resulting in a firm, plump appearance. Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion also features winged kelp extract, which improves hydration and increases skin suppleness due to its rich supply of omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids.
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Dr. Brandt Collagen Serum
Dr. Brandt Dark Circles Away Collagen Eye Serum is an instant brightening eye serum that is said to boost collagen levels and stimulate microcirculation to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, dark circles, and tired, puffy eyes. This collagen serum contains several types of amino acids, including glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, alanine, glutamic acid, and arginine. The collagen protein is composed of glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. It is thought that using these amino acids in topical skin care products will support collagen synthesis. The other amino acids in this formula support the skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) in order to maintain skin hydration. Specifically, amino acids work together with aquaporins (the body’s water transport system) to move moisture throughout skin.
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.
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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.
Progenix Collagen Serum
Progenix Collagen Serum is said to support collagen production for a plump and lifted look with the ingredient Pro Coll One, which provides results similar to retinol without the irritation. With daily use, Progenix Collagen Serum is said to provide a noticeable difference in as little as 4 weeks.
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Algenist GENIUS Liquid Collagen
Algenist GENIUS Liquid Collagen is a vegan, collagen-based formula to maintain skin’s youthful vitality. This serum contains collagen amino acids, as well as vegan plant collagen, which both work to help strengthen and condition the skin to visibly improve resiliency and bounce. Another key ingredient in this collagen serum is patented alguronic acid, which is clinically demonstrated to provide anti-aging and anti-wrinkle benefits.
Formulyst Anti-Aging Concentrate
Formulyst’s new Anti-Aging Concentrate is a fragrance free, highly concentrated formula that conditions your complexion and helps reduce the appearance of age spots, wrinkles, and fine lines. This serum contains Matrixyl 3000, a peptide complex composed of the matrikines palmitoyl tripeptide-1 and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7. These two peptides work synergistically to restore and maintain the skin’s youthful appearance by signaling to cells to produce more collagen. Numerous studies have proven the anti-aging and anti-wrinkle efficacy of Matrixyl 3000.
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Formulyst Anti-Aging Concentrate is also full of natural ingredients, such as green tea, vitamin C, and vitamin E. All three of these ingredients provide powerful antioxidant activity, protecting the skin against environmental free radicals that are known to degrade collagen. Overall, Formulyst Anti-Aging Concentrate is a multi-tasking serum that is formulated to help promote the five signs of youth – radiance, elasticity, firmness, skin tone and smoothness.
Formulyst Pro Collagen Serum
Formulyst Pro-Collagen Serum is a lightweight, restorative serum specifically formulated for aging skin that has experienced a loss of collagen. Think of collagen as the scaffolding of the skin; it gives structure, support and suppleness. But collagen production naturally slows down as we age, causing wrinkles and fine lines to appear. Formulyst’s Pro-Collagen Serum contains a highly concentrated mix of peptides and proteins, derived from seaweed, wheat and soy, to help tackle these signs of aging. Apply a few drops of this hydrating serum to help skin look smoother and younger. Overall, we believe Formulyst Pro-Collagen Serum is the best collagen serum for aging skin.
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