Collagen topical creams have been touted as magical cures for various skin ailments and effects of aging on the skin, such as wrinkles. Some collagen creams even go for hundreds of dollars. The question we are asking today is: Do they work? Additionally, we examine alternatives to collagen creams that actually deliver results.
The consensus among specialists is that collagen creams don't work.
Do you know that collagen is a protein that makes up 80% of your skin? It’s responsible for providing structure. Having sufficient levels of collagen makes your skin youthful, radiant, firm, and elastic.
Like all good things, unfortunately, collagen does not last forever. Once you bid your teen years goodbye and enter your 20’s, it’s estimated that you lose 1% from your collagen stores each year.
Collagen breaks down due to exposure to UV rays from the sun and other natural factors. Smoking tends to be bad for the skin because it may cause you to lose collagen faster.
Now, will applying a collagen-infused cream restore some of the lost collagen? Here are the reasons why this doesn’t work:
- Your skin cannot absorb collagen molecules: That’s because they are too big to penetrate your skin membrane. Basically, a collagen molecule resembles a braid. It consists of individually linked amino acids that bind together in long chains, and amino chains wrap around each other to form even thicker braids. More wrapping and clustering takes place, resulting in a very complex molecule
- Not much evidence points to the effectiveness of collagen: What about user stories about glorious transformations? They can be explained. Applying collagen cream provides much more than collagen. The creams also moisturize and hydrate the skin because of other ingredients, and this may lead to a reduction of wrinkles but not a permanent change. That’s why the skin may feel softer and much more elastic.
What about collagen supplements and pills?
Rather than trying to artificially induce collagen in the body, pills and supplements take a different approach by providing the vital nutrients the body needs to manufacture collagen on its own.
Based on recent studies, various supplements have shown a positive effect on improving collagen levels. But they are not a magic cure, and you’ll not see results overnight. Rather, it takes time to see a noticeable improvement in skin elasticity. You also get lasting benefits in terms of delaying the signs of aging.
Ingesting a collagen supplement does not mean that all the nutrients go to the skin. Once they enter the bloodstream, they reach other parts of the body. Boosting collagen concentrations may be done naturally by consuming certain foods.
Does this mean that no product can provide collagen?
An ongoing debate about hydrolyzed collagen is raging in the cosmetic industry. Dermatologists and researchers are split between the effectiveness of creams that contain collagen molecules that have been broken down (hydrolyzed) for easier absorption.
It’s believed that they may penetrate deeper into the dermis layer that contains most of the collagen. But currently, this is just a theory that is undergoing more research to determine if the introduction of collagen may actually aid in the manufacture of new proteins
Do we recommend throwing out your collagen creams and supplements? Not quite. Remember that nothing has been extensively proven yet. Many creams have other ingredients proven to be beneficial.
What’s more, you might be experiencing certain benefits and no negative effects. But certainly, don’t spend a fortune on a cream promising unrealistic results.