Whether it’s in the skincare aisles, health supplement shops or drinks fridges, Collagen crops up everywhere as a must-have ingredient. A protein found throughout the body, it plays a fundamental role in skin health. It’s no wonder then that there’s a booming market for products promising to boost it, or skincare formulas that boast it on their INCI lists.
But what can Collagen really do for your skin and what are the benefits of Collagen in skincare? Here’s our ultimate guide…
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a structural protein produced by the body. It plays a vital role in the function of skin, cartilage, bones and connective tissue.
Known as one of the building blocks of the skin, Collagen is what gives skin its strength and elasticity. As we age, our own levels naturally decrease – which leaves your skin looking less bouncy and radiant. Lifestyle factors such as sun, stress, diet and smoking can also impact it, along with hormonal changes during pregnancy and the menopause.
Collagen products for the skin can be broken down into two categories: ingestible and topical. Ingestible products include things like supplements, sweets and drinks, whereas topical refers to traditional skincare products, like creams and serums.
The majority of ingestible Collagen supplements are sourced from either bovine (from cow bones) or marine (the skin of fish). The idea is that by ingesting this animal Collagen, you can boost your own levels throughout your body. While you do see some products labelled as vegan, the non-animal variety is unlikely to be Collagen per se. Instead, this tends to be other ingredients that have been shown to boost or mimic natural Collagen production in the body.
The jury is out on whether or not ingesting it via a supplement can benefit the skin. While some people see results, others argue that it won’t necessarily have an impact. After all, Collagen is used throughout the body – and it makes sense that the Collagen you ingest doesn’t know it needs to head towards the skin and the skin only!
What is Collagen in skincare good for?
Topical Collagen skincare products are usually designed to target fine lines and wrinkles – but as with any actives, you’ll have to be savvy about reading your labels to really know what it’s made for (and with). Sometimes these products will contain animal Collagen, but it will often be formulated with Collagen-mimicking ingredients instead.
But before you think applying a Collagen serum will have the same effect as cosmetic filler, there’s a catch. Even if a product contains the real thing, it’s not possible for it to penetrate the skin – so it won’t be able to plump out those lines. Put simply, the molecules are too big.
However, Collagen is more than just an ingredient; it’s often used to market something else. More often than not, so-called Collagen products actually contain peptides. These clever amino acids stimulate the production of Collagen and elastin in your skin for an all-round firmer and smoother complexion.
What are the benefits of Collagen in skincare?
That said, Collagen products can change the appearance of the skin. While they may not go deep into the dermis and change the skin’s structure, there’s plenty they can do on the surface. Here are the key benefits of Collagen skincare that are well worth knowing about:
One effect you’ll notice instantly after applying Collagen topically is super smooth skin. You can thank its conditioning properties for that. Think of it like a sealant that locks in all the skincare products you’ve applied beforehand and smooths over any bumps and lines, leaving a silky-soft and seamless finish.
By forming a thin film on the skin, Collagen actually helps reduce transepidermal water loss – AKA the process of water leaving our skin as it evaporates into the air. Over time, you’ll find that the skin is less dry, dehydrated and flaky, because it’s holding onto more moisture.
Collagen gives great glow. By conditioning and moisturising your skin – and more importantly, giving it a smooth and glossy finish – your complexion will naturally appear more radiant.
It might not add Collagen to your skin, but applying it topically can help indirectly – by protecting what’s underneath. By boosting moisture and creating a light film, it can help shield the skin from pollution-causing free radicals which would, in turn, damage your natural production levels. So, apply Collagen to the surface of your skin as part of your regimen, and your own Collagen will thank you for it.
How to use Collagen in your skincare regimen
As you know, all of our products are certified vegan. And the good news is that if you want to use Collagen topically, Vegetable Collagen is now proven to be as effective as animal Collagen – if not more than.
You’ll often find Collagen in creams or serums, but we’ve made it even easier to add it to your skincare regimen with our highly-concentrated Vegan Collagen 0.9% Restoring Booster.
Our certified COSMOS Natural formula uses a non-animal alternative with identical benefits, sourced from corn and soy proteins.
Like all our boosters, Vegan Collagen is designed to be used neat on clean, dry skin, in between skincare steps, or blended into your existing products to supercharge them with this potent active. Simply add a few drops and you’re done.
For even better results, use it with other powerful actives - such as our Peptides 5% Smoothing Booster. While Peptides get to work on increasing your own Collagen levels, our Restoring Booster will do its own job of conditioning the surface of your skin. If you’re using both, we recommend using Collagen in the morning (to enjoy that healthy-looking glow) and Peptides at night.