Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body, constituting 75% of the skin , and making our skin strong, flexible and smooth.
Our body produces it naturally, but as we age, collagen production begins to progressively decline , and as a result, wrinkles and sagging begin to appear.
Therefore, it is advisable to replace this loss of collagen with an external contribution of this protein, which is able to stimulate its production and thus reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve the general texture of the skin.
Many creams claim to “replenish collagen” or “increase collagen production” in the skin. But some of these marketing claims can be misleading.
In order to help you choose the best product to treat problems such as wrinkles, fine lines or sagging skin, in this article we are going to analyze the INCI (ingredient list) of the most popular and highest rated collagen creams on the market.
This is a complete analysis, where each ingredient of the formula is explained one by one, thus deciphering what benefits or damages the cream will bring us over time.
Each ingredient is explained only once, so if I have already analyzed it in another product, I will leave the link that takes you to the article so you can read it. But since I know that not everyone is interested in the ingredients, after the analysis I make a summary where I give my assessment on what I like and do not like about the cream.
In this post the complete analysis of the three best options appears, but so that it does not take too long, I have put a summary of the remaining creams, although I leave a link to the article with the complete review so that you can read it calmly.
And at the end of the analysis you can find a detailed explanation of the role of collagen in skin care, if collagen creams really work, and how to increase natural collagen production.
The Best – Nezeni Cosmetics Nourishing Collagen Cream
Buy on Amazon or on the website of the cheapest brand
Nezeni Cosmetics Collagen cream is the one we liked the most of all. Visibly transforms the skin in a very short time, leaving it fully hydrated, firmer and more elastic , and continues to improve its appearance and structure over time.
You may not have a fountain of eternal youth, but this cream is the closest thing you can have. Within weeks, its highly hydrolyzed natural collagen plumps up and reduces wrinkles so skin looks and feels younger.
Its texture is light and very pleasant, perfect to use morning and night on all skin types. What do you want to hydrate? You will not find a better moisturizer. Tighten the facial oval? In fact, its ingredients improve the structure of the epidermisso that it looks young again. Are you worried about wrinkles? They will begin to be reduced thanks to all the anti-wrinkle active ingredients in the formula.
Do you want to know what they are? Let’s analyze them.
- etearyl Wheat Straw Glycosides and Cetearyl Alcohol: Xyliance® is one of the oldest natural emulsifiers on the market, if we exclude lecithin. Creates emulsions with a luxurious white appearance; and leaves a silky, non-greasy and non-soapy touch and a spongy texture.
- Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride: Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Glycerin: Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream for Men .
- Pentylene Glycol: Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream for Men .
- Dicaprylyl Carbonate: Tested in Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Anti-Wrinkle Cream for Men .
- Glyceryl Stearate SE: Tested in Fiori di Cipria anti-wrinkle cream as Glyceryl stearate. The acronym “SE” stands for self emulsifying.
- Silica: Analyzed in L’Oreal’s Vita Lift 5 anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- Hydrolyzed Collagen: Analyzed in the Nezeni Cosmetics eye contour .
- Stearyl Alcohol: Tested in Shiseido Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream for Men .
- Benzyl Alcohol: Analyzed in the eye contour Nuxellence of Nuxe .
- Potassium Cetyl Phosphate: Analyzed in the Vichy Liftactiv eye contour .
- Carboxyethyl Aminobutyric Acid: Carboxyethyl-γ-aminobutyric acid, commercially called CEGABA, is a synthesized amino acid that occurs naturally in mammalian brain tissue and particularly in human cerebrospinal fluid; It is prepared using a proprietary synthetic procedure and does not involve any animal source. CEGABA appears to be the intermediary of an alternative metabolic pathway in the biosynthesis of the neuromodulator GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) from polyamines; The biological role of polyamines is still not entirely clear, but their fundamental characteristic is the ability to stimulate cell growth and proliferation. Unlike these polyamines, which are shown to be very toxic when administered in vivo and are rapidly transformed by amino oxidases into toxic metabolites, CEGABA has shown high tolerability both in vivo and in vitro, maintaining its role as a promoter of cell growth and proliferation in some specialized mammalian cells. The efficacy of CEGABA in cosmetics is related to its activity of induction and stimulation of cellular metabolism.
- Methylsilanol Mannuronate: Analyzed in Mercadona’s Sisbela eye contour .
- Cetyl Alcohol: Tested in L’Oreal Men Expert’s anti-wrinkle cream .
- Ethylhexylglycerin: A nalized in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Butylene Glycol: Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream for Men .
- Allantoin: Analyzed in Mercadona’s Sisbela eye contour .
- Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate: Tested in Estée Lauder Perfectionist CP + R Serum .
- Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil: Tested in Shiseido Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream for Men .
- Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract: Analyzed in Decléor’s Harmonie Calm contour .
- Vitis Vinifera Leaf Extract: Analyzed in the Healthy Fusion Goodbye Cellulite anti-cellulite cream .
- Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture: Analyzed in Mënaji’s anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract: Tested in Sunday Riley’s CEO Vitamin C wrinkle cream .
- Adenosine: Analyzed in the Génifique Yeux Light Pearl contour from Lancome .
- Lecithin: Analyzed in the Fiori di Cipria anti-wrinkle cream for men.
- Whey Protein: Tested in Clinique Smart eye contour as Whey Protein \ Lactis Protein \ Proteine Du Petit-Lait.
- Sodium Benzoate: Analyzed in the Nuxellence de Nuxe eye contour .
- Potassium Sorbate: Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream for Men .
- Phenoxyethanol: Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream for Men .
- Ceratonia Siliqua Gum: Analyzed in Pere Marve Cosmetics’ anti-wrinkle cream .
- Citric Acid: Analyzed in the Fiori di Cipria anti-wrinkle cream.
- Xanthan Gum: Analyzed in L’Oreal Men Expert’s anti-wrinkle cream .
- Tocopherol: Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream for Men .
- Phospholipids: Analyzed in Apivita’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream for Men .
- Sorbic Acid: Analyzed in the Lancaster Skin Therapy eye contour .
- Benzyl Salicylate: Analyzed in Collistar’s Hyaluronic Acid Aquagel anti-wrinkle cream .
- Geraniol: Analyzed in Decléor’s Harmonie Calm contour .
- Butylphenyl Methylpropional: Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream for Men .
- Citronellol: Tested in Shiseido Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream for Men .
- Hexyl Cinnamic Aldehyde: Analyzed in Akento Cosmetics Anti-Cellulite Gel .
- Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone: Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream for Men .
An impeccable formulation that focuses on firming, plumping and smoothing the skin, increasing its elasticity and hydration. And a skin with these characteristics is a luxury, especially if we are talking about a mature complexion.
In addition to including hydrolyzed collagen in a high proportion, it is packed with other functional assets that complement the structural benefits, such as organic silicon, adenosine or apple stem cells.
It also has antioxidants, important to protect cells from oxidation and free radicals. And plenty of emollients and moisturizing agents to leave skin fully hydrated and softened.
But what we like most about Nezeni’s collagen cream is what it doesn’t have. We have not seen without a single ingredient that can cause damage to our skin, it has no parabens, no alcohol, or sulfates, and its level of preservatives is very low as we see in its closed expiration date of 2 years.
This is important, as it prevents the accumulation of harmful preservatives, and the combined effect it has over time, which can lead to health and skin problems.
Its value for money is excellent, and the packaging is very useful to prevent the assets from being oxidized or contaminated with our fingers.
I only put one snag on it, you can’t find it in your usual beauty store, nor in pharmacies, you will have to go to Amazon or the Nezeni.com website to buy it.
Hydra Collagen Cream from Transparent Clinic
Effective and affordable, Transparent Clinic’s collagen cream includes hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid and shea butter for intense hydration, increased firmness and complete nutrition in no time.
The result of this synergy is a global rejuvenating effect, which minimizes the appearance of existing wrinkles, prevents the appearance of new ones, and provides great hydration and nutrition to the skin, achieving a firmer, more vital, and youthful face.
For best results, apply this mixture twice a day to provide cells with the hydration and protection they need to be healthier.
We can check this in your INCI:
- Propylene Glycol : Tested in the L’Oreal Revitalift Laser X3 eye contour .
- Caprilic / Capric Triglyceride : Tested in Clarins Men’s wrinkle cream as Caprylic / capric glycerides.
- Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate : Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Glyceryl Stearate : Tested in Fiori di Cipria’s anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- C12-20 Acid Peg-8 Ester : Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Olea Europaea Fruit (Olive) Oil : Analyzed in Clarins Multi-Intensive Concentré Zone Regard eye contour .
- Decyl Oleate : Made from the natural fatty acid, oleic acid. It is used primarily as a lubricant. Creates a thin, non-greasy film that gives skin a soft, smooth appearance. It has been shown to be comedogenic (clogs pores), and should be avoided by those with oily, acne-prone skin.
- Sodium Hyaluronate : Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Hydrolyzed Collagen : Analyzed in the Nezeni Cosmetics eye contour .
- Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) : Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Carbomer : Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Triethanolamine : Analyzed in LOreal Men Expert’s Vita Lift 5 anti-wrinkle cream .
- Cetyl Phosphate : Analyzed in the eye contour LIFTACTIV Vichy Eyes as Potassium Cetyl Phosphate.
- Bht : Analyzed in Shiseido Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Tropolone : Analyzed in Fiori di Cipria’s anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- Imidazolidinyl Urea : Analyzed in LOreal Men Expert’s Vita Lift 5 anti-wrinkle cream .
- Caprylyl Glycol : Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- 1,2-Hexanediol : Analyzed in Mercadona’s Sisbela eye contour .
- Parfum (Fragrance) .
It is a concise formula, which has the key ingredients, in a good overall ratio.
The collagen it includes is hydrolyzed, which, as you will see below, is the best way to penetrate the skin. In addition, hyaluronic acid, an important compound for collagen in the skin, is also added.
The formula is complemented with various nourishing and restorative assets, such as shea butter or olive oil. So the cream has a global effect that not only firms the skin by increasing collagen, but also hydrates and nourishes it from within.
One thing I like is that I have not found any harmful ingredients in the formula. There are two irritants, but it is not a cream that is characterized by the presence of parabens, harmful preservatives, or allergens.
This is precisely what you have to look at in any cream, that with its use there are no unpleasant side effects, such as the combined effect.
This problem occurs when we apply cosmetics every day that have a minimum amount of harmful or toxic ingredients.
Perhaps the product, by itself, cannot affect our health, but the accumulation of these small proportions can cause a very serious problem in the long term.
Fortunately, some brands are beginning to eliminate these ingredients from their formulations, managing to block this combined effect. One of them is Transparent Clinic, and that is why I feel more confident using their products.
Antiage Cream Perfect Beauty by Lebyutí
Unisex cream that aims to restore your skin’s collagen in several ways: regenerating skin cells with a combination of plant stem cells and ￼Epithelial Growth Factors; and helping to create more collagen thanks to encapsulated Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.
In addition, allantoin and aloe vera are able to deeply hydrate and repair the skin, while Chamomile acts as a softener and soothing agent.
The result is a more hydrated, firmer and smoother skin; with fewer wrinkles and fine lines.
The formula does not include parabens or sulfates, something that we will verify by analyzing the INCI.
- Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride : Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream as Caprylic / Capric Glycerides.
- Betaine : Analyzed in Fiori di Cipria’s anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- Glycerin : Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate : Tested in Neutrogena Men’s Age Fighter Face Moisturizer Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Glyceryl Stearate : Tested in Fiori di Cipria’s anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- PEG-100 Stearate : Tested in Fiori di Cipria’s anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- Panthenol : Tested in Fiori di Cipria’s anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil : Analyzed in Filorga’s Ultralifting Lift Designer serum .
- Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice : Analyzed in Fiori di Cipria’s anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- Benzyl Alcohol : Tested in Nuxellence de Nuxe eye contour .
- Cetyl Palmitate : Analyzed in Cumlaude’s Summum RX Cream Antiaging Repair Treatment .
- Propylene Glycol : Tested in the L’Oreal Revitalift Laser X3 eye contour .
- Sodium Polyacrylate : Tested in Clinique For Men’s wrinkle cream .
- Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum : Analyzed in Tom Ford for Men Revitalizing Serum .
- Hydrogenated Polydecene : Tested in the Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 eye contour .
- Allantoin : Analyzed in Mercadona’s Sisbela eye contour .
- Oxidized Corn Oil : Analyzed in Mercadona’s anti-wrinkle cream 9.60 .
- Perfume .
- Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil : Analyzed in the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye eye contour .
- Urea : Analyzed in Mercadona’s Sisbela eye contour .
- Sodium PCA : Tested in the Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 eye contour .
- Hydrolyzed Collagen : Analyzed in the Nezeni Cosmetics Intensive Antiage eye contour .
- Sodium Hyaluronate : Analyzed in the Nezeni Cosmetics Intensive Antiage Eye Contour .
- Trideceth-6 : Analyzed in Cien Men anti-wrinkle cream .
- Glycine Soja Oil : Analyzed in the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye contour .
- Sorbitol : Analyzed in Mercadona’s Sisbela eye contour .
- Glycine Soja (Soybean) Germ Extract : Same as the ingredient Glycine Soja Oil, discussed above.
- Phaseolus Vulgaris (Kidney Bean) Seed Extract : Bean extract is rich in protein and also contains essential amino acids, calcium, iron and potassium. With astringent and conditioning benefits for the skin, hair and nails.
- Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract : Analyzed in the anti-wrinkle cream Vita Lift 5 from LOreal Men Expert .
- Punica Granatum Extract : Analyzed in Lancaster Youth Renewal 365 Skin Repair Serum .
- Vicia Faba Seed Extract : Bean extract rich in phenol and flavonoids, with antioxidant action. Broad bean seeds also have antioxidants: catechins, epicatechins, gallic acid and ellagic acid. It is a great conditioning agent that helps strengthen the hair follicle for stronger, healthier hair.
- Lecithin : Tested in Fiori di Cipria’s anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- C12-15 Alcohols : It is a mixture of synthetic aliphatic alcohols, alcohol is used in cosmetics as a solvent.
- Dehydroacetic Acid : Analyzed in the Nuxellence de Nuxe eye contour .
- Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate : Analyzed in the restorative serum of Noray Cosméticos .
- Benzoic Acid : Analyzed in Mercadona’s Sisbela eye contour .
- Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil : Analyzed in Estée Lauder Perfectionist CP + R Serum .
- Sorbic Acid : Analyzed in the Lancaster Skin Therapy eye contour .
- Tocopherol : Analyzed in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream as Tocopherol Acetate.
- Potassium Sorbate : Analyzed in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Caprylyl Glycol : Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Gluconolactone : Analyzed in Mercadona’s Sisbela eye contour .
- Beta-Sitosterol : Tested in Estée Lauder’s Perfectionist CP + R Serum as Sodium Beta-Sitosteryl Sulfate.
- Xanthan Gum : Analyzed in LOreal Men Expert’s Vita Lift 5 anti-wrinkle cream .
- Sodium Benzoate : Analyzed in the Nuxellence de Nuxe eye contour .
- Squalane : Tested in Clinique For Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Linalool : Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Hexyl Cinnamal : Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Limonene : Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde : Analyzed in Olay’s Regenerist Luminous Serum .
- Citronellol : Tested in Shiseido Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Sodium Chloride : Analyzed in the Nuxellence de Nuxe eye contour .
- Dipotassium Phosphate : Tested in Lancaster Youth Renewal 365 Skin Repair Serum as Potassium Phosphate.
- Nicotiana Benthamiana Sh-Polypeptide : It is a single chain of recombinant human peptide, produced by the expression of Nicotiana benthamiana in plants. It contains a maximum of 127 amino acids that can contain disulfide bonds and / or glycosylation. The protein consists of the appropriate sequence of the standard 20 amino acids.
- Potassium Phosphate : Same as the Dipotassium Phosphate ingredient discussed above.
This cream is a multipurpose cosmetic, as it has more than 15 active ingredients. The formula is quite extensive, so not all of them have the prominence they deserve, but many do shine.
This is the case of the amino acid betaine, an important part of collagen; or provitamin B5, a good moisturizer. There are quite a few moisturizers, both natural and synthetic, that are present above all in the first part of the list.
You have to go down a lot to see collagen appear in its hydrolyzed form, whose proportion is very low. It is followed by hyaluronic acid, other amino acids, and several antioxidants, such as vitamin C, E and squalene, which have a minimal presence.
I am not very happy with the inclusion of a couple of irritating ingredients, or the amount of fragrances it includes, some of them can even be harmful.
But like active ingredients, their presence is too small to be able to have any effect.
Lebyutí cream is less effective than the best option, since the effect of the ingredients is diluted between so many active ingredients; but it is also a good option.
Pond’s Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle Cream Anti-wrinkle Cream
Although the Pond’s brand has been with us almost our whole life, it does not mean that their creams are of quality. A sample of this is this collagen cream, where the main ingredient (collagen) is in the last position.
And not only that, the formula is a clear example of everything that a cosmetic should not include: parabens, silicones, harmful ingredients, neurotoxins, irritants, and sunscreens that cause photosensitivity.
Not only does it not have any active ingredient (beyond collagen and AHA) but the rest of the ingredients it includes represent a danger to our health. A cream that is not recommended at all, which has little to do with the previous options.
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle Cream by Pond’s, Analysis and Alternative .
LOreal Collagen +35 Active Anti-aging Day Cream
LOreal’s collagen cream is a similar bet to the previous one. They are two established brands that can put whatever ingredients they want in their formulation, as they will continue to sell them.
But what users do not know is that a brutal amount of ingredients are being applied that are very undesirable, and even harmful in the long term. This is the case of parabens, preservatives, irritants, allergens, toxins, or sensitizers.
Collagen is present in a very low amount, and there are hardly any more active ingredients, so the cream does more harm than good.
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: LOreal Collagen +35 Active Anti-aging Day Cream, Analysis and Alternative .
Kollagen Intensive Collagen Cream from Skinception
Very different from the previous two is the option of Skinception, a very complete cream that has some of the best anti-aging active ingredients available right now, such as hyaluronic acid, peptides that reduce muscle contractions, shea butter, vitamin C, E and A, and a good proportion of botanicals.
The only thing that this cream does not have is collagen, although this compound appears in its name. If it has multiple assets that promote collagen synthesis, it will help us produce more endogenous collagen.
Still, it is a great anti-aging cream that will produce great results; and its price is not much higher than the options we have already seen.
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: Kollagen Intensive Collagen Cream from Skinception, Analysis and Alternative .
Hydra Plus Perfection by Le Pommiere
Le Pommiere’s cream is all-rounder. In addition to having hydrating, antioxidant and nutritive active ingredients and various vitamins and AHAs, it has sunscreen, elastin and collagen.
Some of these assets could be in a higher proportion, to obtain a greater benefit, although for the price it has, the formula is very good.
It would be a really good cream if alcohol, harmful preservative and perfume were avoided, although the latter two are in a low proportion.
You can enter the full technical analysis in the following article: Hydra Plus Perfection by Le Pommiere, Analysis and Alternative .
Harmony Collagen Triple R Cream
A good option that will undoubtedly give results, at an unbeatable price. Collagen is present in a more than adequate proportion, and it is surrounded by other interesting assets, such as hyaluronic acid and olive oil.
A moisturizing and anti-aging formula that will significantly improve the firmness and hydration of the skin, without risks, since it avoids the use of highly recommended ingredients.
There are no parabens, no silicones, no harmful ingredients, although I have come across a couple of potential irritants.
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: Collagen Harmony Triple R Cream, Analysis and Alternative .
Helena Rubinstein Hydra Collagenist Normal Skin Day Cream
The biggest mistake of Helena Rubinstein’s cream is to use parabens in its formulation, as they spoil a fairly complete cream, and with a good amount of anti-aging active ingredients.
Features Shea Butter, Hyaluronic Acid, ProXylane, Provitamin B5, Antioxidants, and Moisturizers; besides collagen, of course.
But in this case, as much as it is a high-end cream, it includes several ingredients that are harmful to our skin, such as parabens, harmful preservatives, irritating ingredients, alcohol, and a large number of fragrances.
For this reason, it is a cream that I would never choose, all due to the combined effect of these highly undesirable ingredients.
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: Hydra Collagenist normal skin day cream by Helena Rubinstein, Analysis and Alternative .
Thalgo’s Creme Collagene
Although it may seem like a high-end cosmetic, the truth is that it has a very poor formulation. Collagen is present in a good proportion, that’s true, and it does have some moisturizing ingredients, but so far.
Other ingredients that complement the added collagen are missing, such as active ingredients that promote its synthesis, or other anti-aging ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid or AHA.
But the main reason to avoid this cream is the amount of harmful compounds, irritants, preservatives and fragrances, which do not provide anything beneficial to our skin, on the contrary, they harm it.
You can enter the full technical analysis in the following article: Thalgo’s Creme Collagene, Analysis and Alternative .
Facial care Xhekpon cream from Vectem sa
It can boast of being one of the most popular creams on the market, following the news that it was the bedside cream of one of the most influential celebrities in this country.
However, the Xhekpon formula is not as good as it sounds. It includes aloe vera, gotu kola and hydrolyzed collagen, but its virtues end there.
On the contrary, it has parabens, silicones, perfume and other ingredients that you will not want to put on your skin. The cream is famous, but it is not a good option.
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: Xhekpon cream facial care from Vectem sa, Analysis and Alternative .
What is collagen?
Collagen is, after water, the most abundant substance in our bodies and is a fundamental component for skin, tendons and bones.
It is a tough, insoluble, and fibrous protein composed of the amino acids glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine.
It is an important component of the skin, found deep in the dermis. It constitutes up to 30% of the protein in our body and 75% of the protein in our skin.
Collagen can be endogenous (natural collagen, synthesized by the body) or exogenous (synthetic, from an external source, such as supplements).
Endogenous collagen is secreted by various cells, but mainly by connective tissue cells. It is an intricate network of macromolecules (a macromolecule is a molecule that contains a large number of atoms) found in the extracellular matrix.
Exogenous collagen is used for medical and cosmetic purposes, including the repair of body tissues.
What is your function?
The word collagen comes from two Greek terms: kolla which means “glue” and gene which means “to produce”. It makes sense that collagen has similar properties to glue, considering the role it plays in biology: it is the substance that holds the body together.
In the dermis, or the middle layer of the skin, collagen helps form a fibrous network of cells called fibroblasts , on which new cells can grow.
This type of connective tissue helps other structures “stick” together. It is like a scaffold that provides strength, structure and support, giving elasticity and filling to the skin.
It also plays an important role in the replacement and restoration of dead skin cells. And some collagens act as protective coverings for delicate organs in the body, such as the kidneys.
Why does collagen production decrease?
Aging causes the thinning of the three layers of the skin: the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis. The top layer of the skin, the epidermis, provides a waterproof barrier and protects the body from external damage.
This layer covers the dermis, which contains connective tissue, hair follicles, sweat glands, and collagen. Beneath the dermis is the hypodermis, a layer of subcutaneous tissue made up of adipose (fat) cells and connective tissue.
The thinning of these layers is accompanied by a decrease in collagen and the structural integrity of the skin. Wrinkles form and the joint cartilage weakens.
Collagen production decreases by approximately 1% with each year of age after maturity (around age 21), leading to a loss of skin firmness and elasticity.
The amount of collagen loss we experience can vary based on genetics and environmental factors; although in menopause women experience a drastic reduction in collagen synthesis, that is why wrinkles are much more pronounced at that stage.
In addition to age, there are other factors that cause collagen loss, such as:
- Smoking : The combination of chemicals in tobacco smoke damages collagen and elastin. Nicotine also restricts blood vessels, compromising the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the skin.
- A high intake of sugar : Sugar has been shown to increase the rate of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that damage nearby proteins, weakening collagen and making it dry and brittle.
- Sun Exposure : UV rays damage the collagen found in the dermis, causing it to break down, and create abnormal elastin fibers that incorrectly rebuild it, producing wrinkles.
* Autoimmune disorders **: There are certain autoimmune disorders that can cause antibodies to target collagen.
In short, our lifestyle can cause the level of collagen our body produces to deplete, accelerating the signs of aging.
So while all of these unhealthy habits reduce skin elasticity, using collagen products can help rebuild it.
By using them, the synthesis of new collagen production is stimulated and, as a result, the appearance of deep wrinkles and fine lines is minimized.
Sounds good, but is it true? Does the topical application really work?
Despite being a very popular ingredient in dermocosmetics, there are many misunderstandings about what collagen is as a cosmetic ingredient and what it can do for the skin.
To make it clear, I am going to do a brief explanation of the types of collagen and the different forms it takes.
Types of collagen
As I have mentioned, collagen is a protein (which means it is made up of long chains of amino acids), it is rich in two amino acids in particular: proline and hydroxyproline.
The structure of collagen is quite complicated: Amino acids join together to form long chains called peptides. Peptides form even longer chains called polypeptides.
When three polypeptides come together, pro-collagen is formed, which becomes tropocollagen, a single collagen fiber. A group of tropocollagen fibers clump together to form fibrils. And several fibrils form a macro-fiber.
Depending on which amino acids are attached, and how these substructures are arranged, up to 28 different types of collagen can be generated ; although between 80 and 90 percent of them belong to types 1, 2 and 3 .
In most cases, Type I and III collagen clump together. This is because these two types of collagen are the most abundant and have similar functions. In fact, together they make up more than 90% of the total collagen in the body.
These two types of collagen are key components in the maintenance of skin, nails, bones, hair, and muscles.
Types I and III of collagen are produced by osteoblasts and fibroblasts, which are cells located in our connective tissues and cells that create bone, respectively.
- Collagen I : It can be found throughout the body, except in cartilaginous tissues, which is why it is the most common in the body. It is key to replenishing the skin and, consequently, helping to reverse aging. Clinical trials in patients who supplemented with type I collagen showed increased hydration and firmness of the skin, as well as a decrease in wrinkles.
- Collagen II : It is a little more specialized. It is the main component of cartilage, and as such it is extremely beneficial for cartilage health.
- Collagen III : It can be found in our arterial walls, in the bone marrow, as well as in other hollow organs. It is generally found together with type I collagen in the body.
- Collagen VII : It is crucial for the integrity of the skin even though it is present in very low amounts (around 0.001% of total collagen). Collagen VII acts as an anchor between the layers of the dermal-epidermal junction.
Although there are 18 amino acids in collagen, there are in particular 4 key amino acids found within types I and III of collagen that help keep our bodies healthy and feel good.
Two of them are the essential amino acids glycine and proline. The glycine is an integral amino acid with many important functions in the body. It is important for blocking endotoxin (a compound that activates inflammatory signals and can lead to low thyroid levels).
The proline is particularly important for stimulating collagen synthesis and to act as an antioxidant and prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Type I and III collagen also include two other important amino acids: glutamine , which helps prevent intestinal inflammation, and arginine , which can help synthesize creatine to increase athletic performance.
As if this wasn’t confusing enough, in addition to the different TYPES of collagen, there are also different FORMS of each type of collagen.
Let’s start with soluble collagen. Do you remember the process of creating collagen? If you extract the collagen early in that process when it is not fully formed, you get soluble collagen.
Soluble collagen is believed to penetrate the skin better. This form is used in cosmetics, but not as often as the third type we’ll get to.
Then there is native collagen, made up of large triple helix chains of amino acids. This is essentially the mature, fully formed version. It is not soluble. It has a very high molecular weight and is a very large molecule.
Finally, there is hydrolyzed collagen, which is the most used form in cosmetics. It is created by taking mature collagen and chemically cutting it into tiny pieces, so that it is better absorbed, reaching the deepest layers of the skin.
How to restore collagen in the skin?
First, we are talking about collagen as an ingredient, not other assets that can increase collagen production.
Second, keep in mind that the only source where you can get collagen is from animals . There are marine sources, so it can be obtained from fish, but there are no plant sources or synthetic sources of true collagen. So collagen creams are not an option for vegans.
Third, and most important, the effectiveness of collagen depends entirely on how it enters the body . There are several ways to do it: it can be applied topically with a cream; take it as a supplement; or inject it directly into the skin.
The benefits of these approaches are completely different.
The problem is that the collagen molecule is notoriously large, and it cannot penetrate the dermis , which is where it is needed. For this reason, we are going to analyze if collagen applied topically, as a cream, penetrates the skin, and if there are studies that show that they work.
I came across an article titled “Penetration Studies of Native Collagen, Collagen Alpha Chains, and Cyanogen Collagen Bromide Peptides Through Hairless Mouse Skin In Vitro”. Surprisingly, this has not been thoroughly studied.
Scientists seem to assume that collagen does not penetrate because it is so large. But in this 1988 study they did look at it, and they found that there is surprising penetration.
I’m not sure why, but there may have been larger molecule fragments that penetrated. The bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter, because according to the researchers:
“Even if native collagen could penetrate the dermis, it is inconceivable that the molecules could form fibers or integrate with existing collagen fibers because the precursors for fiber assembly are soluble procollagen molecules.”
So all of this means that there is no evidence that the application of large collagen molecules actually penetrates where they need to be in order to reap benefits.
Any benefits are likely due to the hydrating effects of these products, not the direct increase in collagen.
So are there studies that show that these creams work? Not surprisingly, no independent study has been found to prove that topical collagen actually has a long-lasting effect on wrinkles. However, it can have a temporary effect.
This is because collagen is a film-former and can help hydrate the skin by reducing water loss or by retaining moisture. But while it is true that collagen can do this, it is not as effective as the other ingredients, such as occlusives and moisturizers that are generally used for this purpose.
This means that collagen doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t help much either. Despite this truth, there are many creams that are marketed based on collagen.
Many products that contain collagen, including creams and powders, claim to revitalize the skin by increasing collagen levels within the body. But as we have seen, this is unlikely, as the collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed by the skin.
And what about hydrolyzed collagen, whose molecules are much smaller? Even when it is made small enough to be absorbed, it cannot bind with existing collagen in the skin , and there is no research to indicate otherwise.
So what is the best way to get collagen? It turns out that the most effective way to increase skin collagen, without having to inject animal collagen directly into the skin, is to persuade the body to produce more collagen on its own .
After all, the body already produces collagen. The key is to encourage it to create a little more and direct it towards the dermis.
Ingredients that promote collagen production
Although adding collagen to a topical skin care product may be ineffective, that does not mean that there are no topical products that can enhance collagen production.
Next, we’re going to look at some skincare ingredients that help boost collagen production, and that can make you appear more rested, younger, and healthier.
Do not forget that collagen is a protein, and it is made up of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Peptides are also made up of amino acids, but in a special way.
It turns out that our body uses the appearance of different types of amino acid combinations to diagnose where and when collagen-related maintenance is needed.
When collagen begins to break down, its long chains of amino acids turn into shorter chains called peptides. The body identifies the presence of peptides, and relates it to a loss of collagen, so it begins to produce more collagen to compensate .
Therefore, skin care products that contain peptides can trick the body into producing new collagen.
The most popular peptides in cosmetics are Matrixyl and Argireline.
Growth factors are similar to peptides, communicating with healthy skin cells to help stimulate repair, including the production of collagen and elastin.
The creation of collagen promoted by growth factors, helps minimize fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture and restore firmness.
Topical vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid, with concentrations between 5 and 15%, has been shown to have an anti-aging effect on the skin by inducing the production of collagen types I and III, which, as we have seen, is the type present on the skin.
The retinoid family includes vitamin A (retinol) and its natural derivatives, such as retinaldehyde, retinoic acid, and retinol esters, as well as a large number of synthetic derivatives.
Tretinoin is the most studied and used synthetic derivative of the retinoid family. Topical application of tretinoin can improve the appearance of photoaged skin by stimulating the production of new collagen in the dermal layer of the skin.
Although there are several over-the-counter products formulated with retinol, tretinoin and other prescription retinoids have been shown to be more powerful and effective in treating photoaged skin. Therefore, it is best to consult with a dermatologist to determine which retinoid is best for your skin.
Kinetin is primarily a plant hormone, but it is also found naturally in the DNA of most living things, including humans.
It has some interesting properties. Accelerates the ability to repair after injury, promoting rapid cell division; and stimulates the production of collagen in the body.
It also works as an antioxidant, helping to reverse some of the effects of free radicals, and diminishing the appearance of age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, and improving the elasticity of the skin.
Vitamin B3 (niacinamide), is another effective ingredient that can increase collagen production to improve the overall appearance of the skin.
It also acts as an anti-inflammatory, calming problem skin, and helps to fade hyperpigmentation to even out skin tone.
It is known to help stimulate collagen production, and prevent its breakdown.
This anti-aging ingredient is an important compound for skin collagen. One study suggests that hyaluronic acid can help increase collagen production in the body.
The power of glycolic acid lies in its ability to hydrate, exfoliate, brighten, and stimulate collagen production.
The surface of the skin is protected by a thin layer of moisture and oil. The skin is constantly regenerating, which is why it produces a large number of dead cells. Sometimes dead cells get trapped under the protective moisture layer, instead of falling off; which can lead to big problems.
They can block the pores of the skin and become infected. They can also settle into lines and wrinkles, making them appear more pronounced than they really are.
This layer of dead and oily skin can sometimes be difficult to remove, something this mild acid can easily do. Glycolic acid is stronger than the skin’s natural acid balance, but not strong enough to cause harm.
Applying it regularly can help skin look younger, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, reduce discoloration, and help control acne breakouts.
But dermatologists have discovered a secondary benefit of using glycolic acid: it increases collagen production in the dermal layer of the skin . However, the benefits of collagen synthesis are generally associated with more concentrated glycolic acid formulations, such as deep peels.
Beware, glycolic acid is not for everyone. If you have damaged or very sensitive skin, consult a dermatologist before using any product with this acid.
This antioxidant present in red grapes has great properties against free radicals, and against damage caused by the sun.
It acts protectively, blocking the passage of UV light and protecting against free radicals, as well as stimulating the production of collagen and acting as an anti-inflammatory to promote wound healing.
Great repairing and healing, aloe vera increases collagen production when applied topically or even orally. This stimulating property of cell growth can help increase collagen production in the skin.
Other ways to help produce collagen
Collagen production will be more effective if, in addition to applying these ingredients topically, we include foods in our diet that also promote collagen production.
These ingredients are:
- Citrus fruits, red bell peppers, mango, green leafy vegetables, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and strawberries , rich in vitamin C which, as we have seen, can increase the levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid in the body.
- Carrots , which contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that helps counteract cell damage.
- Coriander , which contains vitamin C and linolenic acid, a powerful anti-aging factor for the skin. Linolenic acid contains antioxidants that fight free radicals in the bloodstream, which break down healthy skin cells.
- Algae , capable of preventing oxidation of the skin, which causes loss of elasticity and collagen. Seaweed is available in most health food stores as an oral supplement.
- Blue fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A (which has an anti-inflammatory effect), with antioxidants, which eliminate free radicals and prevent the loss or degradation of collagen.
If you want to reduce the loss of collagen, try not to sunbathe without protection, stop smoking, and start eating healthier, eliminating added sugars.
In summary, it is clear that the role of collagen in skin care is important, both from a functional and an aesthetic point of view.
The normal aging process causes a decrease in the skin’s collagen production, leading to a number of cosmetic problems, including fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
Despite marketing claims, topically applied collagen cannot achieve the results you want in terms of anti-aging and improving skin firmness and elasticity.
Even so, something can be done to promote the production of collagen by our body, such as incorporating stimulating ingredients both in cosmetic form and in the diet.
Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.