Do collagen serums work? Plus, what to use instead

Once you hit your mid-twenties (the exact age varies from person to person), your collagen production decreases by about 1% every year. So, yes, it’s a great idea to maintain the balance between production and breakdown through supplementation, but it does require your body to absorb the collagen you give it.

Here’s the thing: For collagen-infused skincare products to work, collagen molecules need to be able to penetrate the skin, and that’s where problem #1 comes in. “Collagen is a huge molecule that sits on the surface of the skin and cannot be absorbed by the dermis,” said a board-certified dermatologist. Dendy Engelman, MD. said once mbg.

Engelman further explains that this is a common marketing tactic in the skin care industry and confirms that any topical product containing collagen is unlikely to provide the claimed benefits. Some topical active ingredients can boost your natural collagen production, but not by the same mechanism as layering collagen on the skin.

According to research, retinoids (including retinol, retinaldehyde, etc.) stimulate fibroblasts to synthesize collagen fibers and promote skin elasticity by eliminating degenerated elastin fibers and improving the production of new fibers. For this reason, it makes sense that retinol products often claim to boost collagen production, without promising to inject new collagen into the skin itself.

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