Pretty much everyone wants hydrated, dewy, plump skin, right? Well, having healthy skin is definitely important to me. After writing about skincare for a while and also just going through life, I think I have a handle on what it takes to keep my skin on track. Some things include eating well, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, keeping up with my skincare routine, and using the right products with ingredients that work for my specific skin type.
One ingredient that I've learned can be a huge help in keeping your skin moisturized and healthy? Collagen. "Collagen is the main structural protein found in the extracellular matrix of most of our body's connective tissues," explains board-certified dermatologist Naissan Wesley, MD. "It is found throughout the body in different types, in most of our tissues including bone, ligaments, tendons, teeth, connective tissue, and smooth muscle or our organs, blood vessels, and skin. It helps maintain those tissues' structural integrity, health, and elasticity (i.e., ability to stretch and snap back into place)."
In short, Kathleen S. Viscusi, MD, FAAD, FACMS, co-founder and partner at Dermatology and Surgery Specialists of North Atlanta (DESSNA), says collagen is the key component to making our skin plump. But, she also says that while our bodies naturally create collagen, our collagen production decreases with age, thus causing the skin to sag.
And while our bodies make collagen, you can also find it as a common ingredient in skincare products. "Collagen works by infusing the top layer of skin with moisture, creating a plumping effect on the surface of the skin," Viscusi says. "More intricately, many skincare products contain hydrolyzed collagen (aka collagen peptides) which is essentially collagen broken down into smaller proteins to penetrate the skin more effectively than the larger collagen protein."
It's important to note that collagen creams and other products do not work the same way as the collagen our body produces. "Most topical collagen may not always penetrate or integrate into our own skin's collagen in order to add to it," Wesley explains. But that doesn't mean that it's not helpful. Viscusi says that it's a great moisturizing ingredient, and proper moisturizing can help to improve the signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles.
The good news is that most people can use collagen creams without running into any issues with irritation or any bad reactions if you're looking to try it out. Of course, if you've used a collagen product before and had some weird side effects you'll want to avoid it. But for the most part, anyone is a good candidate for the ingredient.
In general, it's pretty harmless to use a collagen cream and most may benefit from the moisturizing properties of the cream," Wesley says. "Individuals with rare collagen vascular disorders that involve the overproduction of collagen, such as scleroderma, may want to avoid it to be safe." You can always check with a dermatologist to see if a collagen cream or another collagen product is right for you.
When you're shopping for a collagen cream, it's important to read the labels to see what other ingredients the product contains. In fact, it's a smart idea to carefully check the labels for every skincare product you use. Knowledge is power, right? Wesley also recommends looking for certain ingredients. "Besides looking for collagen in topical skincare, more importantly, look for ingredients that help you stimulate and support your own skin's collagen, such as retinols, bakuchiol, defensins, peptides, and antioxidants such as vitamin C," she says.
And Viscusi recommends prioritizing peptides. "I find that peptides can sometimes be the way to go when it comes to a collagen cream," says Viscusi. "I also find collagen-based products with some form of delivery technology are more effective as they can moisturize deeper than other creams on the market. It; also important to look for a multipurpose collagen cream with additional ingredients that work to support collagen."
Need some help finding the right collagen cream? Take a look at some options below.
1. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Firming Collagen Cream With Peptides and Niacinamide
Along with collagen, this moisturizer is enriched with peptides to smooth skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and niacinamide to improve tone and texture. One reviewer wrote, "My new holy-grail moisturizer! It arguably makes my skin feel hydrated and not greasy. I also notice my skin is smoother and brighter!"
2. Alastin Restorative Skin Complex
Viscusi says this one from Alastin is an incredible option. "It is highly effective at combating the visible signs of aging as it contains peptides within its Patented TriHex Technology. It is ideal for smoothing fine lines and wrinkles and restoring skin health for a vibrant, more youthful appearance, all with a non-comedogenic formula," she says.
3. Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 Face Moisturizer
The main ingredients in this hydrating moisturizer are collagen peptide and vitamin B3 to really plump up and firm your skin. The lightweight formula isn't greasy and keeps you hydrated for 24 hours.
4. Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF 30
This pro-collagen cream contains padina pavonica, which has firming properties, plus ginkgo biloba, which is rich in antioxidants and improves elasticity.
5. Skinbetter Science Interfuse Treatment Cream
"I love the SkinBetter Science InterFuse Treatment Cream! Its patented InterFuse technology helps to deliver collagen more efficiently into the skin resulting in improved skin firmness," Viscusi says.
6. PCA Skin Collagen Hydrator
Formulated for dry or mature skin, this moisturizer contains shea butter and hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin. Other ingredients include emollients and wheat proteins to soften texture and sweet almond oil to smooth the skin's surface.
7. Arbonne Agewell Moisture Restoring Cream With 0.5% Bakuchiol
"It contains ingredients such as bakuchiol, stabilized vitamin C, sustainable plant stem cell extract, and peptides, all of which help support and help us build our own collagen in a moisture supporting formula," Wesley says.
8. Dr. Dennis Gross C + Collagen Deep Cream
Not only does this collagen cream deeply moisturize the skin, but it also reduces free radical damage, the signs of aging, and dark spots. Ingredients include aloe vera, amino acids, antioxidants, biotin, and glycolic acid.
9. L'Oréal Paris Collagen Face Moisturizer
L'Oréal's lightweight moisturizer just bathes your skin with so much hydration that it works to fill in those fine lines and wrinkles. And you'll be happy to do know that when you apply the product it won't feel like you're wearing anything, as it doesn't leave a greasy finish and absorbs quickly.
10. Caudalie Resveratrol-Life Firming Night Cream
Caudalie's night cream is unique because it contains a vegan collagen alternative. Along with that key ingredient, there's also resveratrol and hyaluronic acid to firm and lift the skin.
11. Maryann Organics Collagen Cream
This advanced collagen cream can be used both day and night. It works to promote cell renewal, elasticity, and radiance. In addition to collagen, the formula contains hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, citric acid, and vitamin C. One reviewer said, "I've only used it for a week and it feels like I have a new face. My face has brightened up and my eye lines have all but disappeared. I'm 30 years old and my skin is better than ever."
12. Moon Juice Cosmic Cream Collagen Protecting Moisturizer
Good for normal, dry, combination, and oily skin types, this rich moisturizer targets a loss of firmness and elasticity; dryness; and fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to the usual suspects like collagen and hyaluronic acid, the formula also contains adaptogens like ashwagandha and Schisandra to nurture, protect, and support the skin and its natural collagen production.
13. Peter Thomas Roth Firmx Collagen Moisturizer
This cream contains seven forms of collagen and collagen-supporting ingredients—like marine collagen, plant collagen, hydrolyzed collagen, peptides, and fatty acids—to improve fine lines and wrinkles and firm the skin. One reviewer wrote, "This one is the best moisturizer I've ever tried. I highly recommend for women over 40."
14. Pevonia Botanica Power Repair Age Correction Marine Collagen Cream
Formulated with marine collagen and hyaluronic acid, this cream will leave your skin softer and plumper. It just thoroughly hydrates your skin so there's a little bit more "bounce" to it.
15. Sisley Paris Botanical Night Cream With Collagen and Woodmallow
Yes, this one is a splurge, but reviewers say it's worth it. One person wrote, "This night cream is the best I've ever used. I use as many of Sisley's products as I can justify due to the price and this is one I will not be without. It leaves my skin smooth, soft, and feeling wonderful. For reference, I have dry skin and am 79 years old." In addition to collagen, it contains woodmallow, which softens the skin and enhances the effectiveness of the collagen.
16. DHC Super Collagen Cream
The key ingredient in this cream is dipeptide-8, which is a skin-firming collagen molecule that stimulates collagen production and plumps fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains olive fruit and jojoba oils, vitamin E, and sodium hyaluronate to maintain the moisture barrier, fight free-radical damage, and lock in moisture.
17. Mario Badescu Collagen Moisturizer SPF 15
This is a great option for a daily moisturizer since it has SPF 15 protection. Along with collagen, the lightweight formula is enriched with nourishing and conditioning cottonseed oil.