When should you start incorporating a collagen serum into your skincare regimen, and which one should you use? With so many options out there, it’s so easy to get lost down a rabbit hole of the thousands of serums on the market, each targeting different skin types and skin concerns.
But, not to fret, we have you covered. We’re going to answer every collagen serum question and concern, guiding you through the overwhelm that is the collagen serum selection process.
What is Collagen Serum?
We can’t talk about collagen serum without first talking about collagen. So let’s start at the very beginning.
What is collagen? Collagen is a protein made naturally within the body and is the foundation of our skin, hair, and bones. It’s responsible for making our skin healthy, youthful, and plump. Because it’s created naturally by our bodies, collagen production begins to slow down as we age.
Not only that, other factors such as sun exposure, smoking, or sugar consumption also contribute to collagen loss. This loss in collagen will result in a loss of fullness, dullness, and fine lines and wrinkles.
A collagen serum is a concentrated formula, opposed to a collagen cream or lotion, that can stimulate collagen production and create a more smooth and plump appearance in your skin.
There are collagen serums that encourage collagen production, and then there are collagen serums that are infused with collagen.
In general, collagen serums that contain collagen will offer the hydration benefits needed to create a more healthy, rejuvenated appearance within the skin. The collagen molecule itself is too big to penetrate the dermis, which is why collagen serums often contain collagen-stimulating actives such as hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides.
Hydrolyzed collagen breaks collagen down into smaller chains of amino acids called peptides that are more easily absorbed. Peptides are small enough to travel through the outer layer of the skin, promoting the production of collagen and elasticity in the skin.
What Does Collagen Serum Do?
Collagen serums cannot replace lost collagen, but they can improve the appearance of your skin while encouraging collagen production. Collagen serum is essentially designed to help stimulate the skin renewal process while restoring our skin’s natural suppleness.
Engineered with collagen proteins and often other powerful ingredients such as vitamin C and peptides that vitalize collagen production, collagen serums offer a healthy, hydrated, and more youthful appearance by minimizing the appearance of fine lines.
In addition, different collagen serums may offer additional skincare benefits based on other ingredients included in the serum. For example, some collagen serums offer ingredients that combat redness, acne, or dark spots.
When to Use Collagen Serum
Collagen serum is known to have great moisturizing benefits when applied topically. To obtain maximum absorption and get the most out of its highly concentrated ingredients, collagen serum should be applied directly after cleansing, exfoliating, and toning before any moisturizer.
You can use collagen serum morning and night for maximum benefits. It’s important to note that if you’re using a collagen serum during the day, especially one containing ingredients such as retinol and hydroquinone, you must apply sunscreen on top of your regular skincare regimen, as these ingredients can make skin more sensitive to sunlight.
It’s important to remember that our bodies rest and repair while we sleep, and this includes our skin. So applying collagen serum at night when our skin cells are repairing is essential.
Collagen serums can be used in conjunction with other serums for additional skin concerns if desired, but always layer by consistency - applying lighter, more easily absorbable serums first, followed by heavier serums that are richer, to seal your serum regimen. While there is no set number of serums to use at once, research suggests layering no more than three at a time.
With collagen serum, wait until it has fully absorbed before continuing with your moisturizer. If you’re using a collagen serum that contains additional ingredients such as retinol and vitamin C, it’s recommended to avoid the delicate skin around the eye area and use products designed specifically for the thinner, more sensitive skin around the eyes.
Important Things to Look Out for When Choosing a Collagen Serum
When searching for a collagen serum, it’s crucial to base your decision on your skin type. For example, is your skin dry, oily, combination, or acne-prone? Based on your skin type, you will want to look for a collagen serum that offers the necessary ingredients to address your specific skin type.
Someone with normal to combination skin will want a water-based serum. If your skin is on the dry side, you will want to look for ingredients that promote maximum hydration, such as hyaluronic acid. If your skin is acne-prone, you will want to be on the lookout for ingredients that assist in keeping breakouts at bay, such as salicylic acid, for example.
Once you are clear on what type of collagen serum you need based on your skin type, you will also want to familiarize yourself with the formula of the collagen serum.
The active ingredients you want to look for when choosing a collagen serum are those that promote and stimulate collagen production while keeping the skin highly hydrated and nourished. The common ingredients found in the most effective collagen serums are:
Peptides: Peptides are the most commonly used ingredient in potent collagen serums. As previously mentioned, peptides aid in collagen production.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants help protect the skin from environmental pollution and free radicals.
Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic Acid helps skin retain moisture resulting in a more plump, dewy, and supple appearance while increasing cell regeneration.
Glycolic Acid: Glycolic Acid signals collagen growth by shedding and exfoliating dead skin cells. This process accelerates skin cell renewal, increases collagen production, and helps skin retain the moisture it needs.
In addition to looking into your favorite collagen serum ingredients, it’s also essential to check if the product is non-comedogenic, meaning the product does not contain any ingredients known to clog pores.
Also noteworthy is that the ingredients are non-toxic and safe to use on skin, as anything we put on our skin gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Avoiding ingredients that can disrupt your endocrine system, such as fragrance and parabens, will ensure that you’re protecting your skin health while using the most effective and safe ingredients to remedy your skin concerns.
CLEARSTEM Skincare offers a highly effective, versatile, and gentle collagen serum, CELLRENEW, that checks off all the boxes.
It addresses multiple skin concerns in a powerful yet gentle way, all while having a calming and renewing effect on a variety of different skin types. CELLRENEW is created from a hyaluronic acid base along with all non-toxic, non-comedogenic ingredients, including a potent collagen stem cell formula that not only stimulates collagen production but increases the elasticity of the skin and helps to reduce inflammation, lighten dark spots, and control oil production.
With any skin care concern, it’s vital to take a holistic approach by bringing awareness to any lifestyle choices that contribute to collagen loss. The most prevalent lifestyle choices that can cause harm to your skin are smoking, a poor diet lacking key vitamins and nutrients, inadequate sleeping habits, a stressful lifestyle that can induce heightened cortisol levels and inflammation, a lack of physical exercise, and UVA/UVB damage.
Although we can’t entirely prevent the natural decrease in collagen production due to aging, we have control of our daily choices, which can help limit the decline in collagen production and promote overall healthier skin from the inside out.
In addition, being more mindful of what we consume in our daily diet can significantly affect our overall health and skin health. Consuming nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich foods, limiting sugar intake, making time for physical activity, getting adequate rest, wearing sunscreen, and minimizing stress can all aid in slowing the process of collagen loss in conjunction with an effective, safe, and consistent skincare regimen.