Does collagen serum really work? With so many different collagen products out there, it can make your head spin. So what does collagen in skin care do?
Are collagen face serums effective, and if so, why are collagen serums important? How long does it take for a collagen serum to work on your face? We're going to get into it and answer your questions about all things collagen!
Do Collagen Skincare Products Really Do Anything?
Although collagen face serums work, solely using collagen alone cannot replace lost collagen. Collagen can, however, improve the appearance of your skin. Unfortunately, scientists believe that collagen-exclusive skin care products such as collagen face serums or creams can be ineffective in promoting collagen production when not paired with other essential active ingredients. Simply because scientifically, the collagen molecule is too large to penetrate the dermis.
So if the collagen molecule is too large to penetrate the dermis, then what is all the hype about? How does collagen serum work if collagen molecules are too big to be topically effective?
Just because collagen is a big molecule, much too large to be absorbed directly into the dermis, when applied topically and when paired with activating ingredients that stimulate collagen production, it can, in fact, be highly potent. It's actually more effective to purchase and use skin care products with actives that promote collagen stimulation, such as green tea, functional keratin, glycolic acid, peptides, and bakuchiol.
Suppose your end goal of using collagen serum in your skin care routine is to stimulate collagen production. In that case, it's essential to be aware of the actives in your collagen skin care products or add these ingredients into your existing skin care regimen along with your favorite collagen serum. You also want to make sure you are exfoliating prior to applying so there is easier entrance into the pores.
Retinoids actually encourage surface-level skin cells to break down rapidly, allowing new cell growth underneath, however retinoids can be toxic so they should not be solely relied on.
On the other hand, peptides are more gentle and less irritating carriers that prompt cells to create new collagen and repair DNA damage from UV exposure.
What About Collagen and Stem Cells Together?
What are stem cells, and why are they used in skin care? Humans and plants both have stem cells, and both have the ability to repair and replace damaged tissues. So how does collagen serum work when paired with stem cells?
Plant stem cells specifically contain potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. But how do plant stem cells actually work? Plant stem cells are extracted and used within skin care products to stimulate cellular production.
These stem cell extracts signal skin stem cells to spark cell production. In addition, plant stem cells send out amino acids and proteins that can help mend and repair the skin while making the skin appear more healthy, smooth, and plump.
CELLRENEW is a supportive anti-aging and anti-acne collagen-stimulating stem cell serum that encourages skin cell regeneration. CELLRENEW offers glowing skin with its anti-inflammatory properties and non-toxic formula of collagen-derived stem cells and botanical ingredients.
CELLRENEW is delicate enough for all skin types but powerful enough to combat acne while simultaneously increasing collagen and skin elasticity. It's a collagen serum that tackles the signs of aging while also addressing facial redness and hormonal acne.
Why Collagen in Skin Care is So Misunderstood
There are a couple of reasons why collagen in skin care can be confusing and is a bit misunderstood. The first reason is that the collagen molecule itself cannot produce collagen due to its molecular size. So often, there is an assumption that just because a collagen serum contains collagen alone, it will, in turn, make more collagen.
But in reality, the way to produce more collagen is to look for active ingredients paired with collagen that will act as a messenger and catalyst to activate the collagen production required to create a more youthful and healthy appearance.
The most common actives you want to look out for that promote collagen stimulation are peptides, hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, antioxidants, and bakuchiol. Retinol specifically offers collagen-building effects while improving the absorption of collagen peptides but again, is not in the non-toxic category so is undesirable for many.
Unfortunately, using a collagen serum with only collagen alone won't stimulate collagen production. If within your existing daily and nightly skin care routines, you're only using a collagen serum without the active ingredients needed to promote collagen production, it will, however, provide the high levels of moisturizing benefits required to improve your skin's overall appearance. So it's safe to say your efforts are not in vain.
Collagen serums are said to improve signs of aging by replacing lost collagen. But in fact, what they are really doing when used alone is hydrating the skin, making it softer, smoother, and supple.
Most collagen-related skin care products today contain hydrolyzed collagen (or peptides) essential to the collagen regeneration process. Whether or not these peptides have the ability to generate more collagen on their own is still up for debate, it is proven that collagen serums paired with actives such as retinoids for example have a higher chance of providing collagen regeneration benefits.
These peptides break through the outermost layer of the skin and travel deep into the dermis, which lays the foundational building blocks for fibroblasts to produce new collagen.
Another reason collagen serums are misunderstood is that collagen serums, especially those containing the required active ingredients needed to stimulate collagen production, can take about two months to show results.
When starting a new collagen serum, it's essential to tune into your skin and body's reactions—watching out for results and how your skin reacts to your chosen collagen serum product. Being patient and having awareness is key to understanding how collagen serum can positively impact your skin.
The Most Effective Way to Use Collagen to Support Your Skin
Using collagen to support your skin can be as simple as using a traditional and trusted collagen-based serum or moisturizer that offers your skin the deepest level of hydration. This can also look like using the necessary active ingredients along with collagen-exclusive serums or skin care products to ensure maximum results when it comes to penetrating the dermis and encouraging collagen regeneration.
Whether you add other skin care products with active ingredients to your existing collagen-based serum or skin care regimen, or if you're looking for an all-in-one collagen serum that offers moisturizing benefits along with the anti-aging benefits of stimulating collagen production and elasticity, there is something out there for everyone.
As with any health-related concern, it's essential to look at the issue holistically and approach the solution that way as well. Your skin and slowing the aging process is no different.
The best way is to take a two-pronged approach: maintain a healthy lifestyle and use the necessary skin care products to keep our skin healthy. Sugar and alcohol are known to damage our skin at the cellular level, leading to decreased collagen production. Reapplying SPF throughout the day is also a way to ensure you are protecting your skin so that your collagen can thrive.
It's crucial to be mindful and intentional about what we consume in terms of nutrients and how we treat our bodies in terms of rest, exercise, stress management, toxic load, and overall health.
So, Does Collagen Serum Actually Work?
Yes! But it depends on your goal.
If you're simply looking for hydration, pretty much any collagen serum will do that.
But if you’re looking for a collagen serum that will actually stimulate your skin’s own collagen production, then you need to use a more potent serum that also contains other active ingredients such as retinoids, antioxidants, or peptides. As mentioned, these other ingredients are what allow the collagen to make its way deeper into the skin.
The decrease in collagen production as we age is inevitable. But with the holistic approach discussed here, you can slow the process and keep your skin looking supple and youthful.
Co-founder of CLEARSTEM Skincare
By: Kayleigh Christina
Holistic Nutritionist Kayleigh Christina is the co-founder of CLEARSTEM Skincare, a non-toxic skincare line that targets acne, anti-aging, and scar reversing utilizing premium ingredients. Christina’s journey into the skincare world started when she developed numerous health issues, including severe cystic acne in her mid-twenties and tried in vain to find a cure.