The ultimate guide to collagen
When it comes to skincare, one buzzword that you've likely heard time and time again is "collagen." It's often praised as the holy grail of youthful, radiant skin. But what exactly is collagen, how does your body produce it, and is it truly worth incorporating into your skincare routine?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, acting as a structural framework for your skin, bones, tendons, and connective tissues. Think of it as the glue that holds your body together. In terms of your skin, collagen plays a crucial role in maintaining its strength, elasticity, and suppleness.
Collagen's role in skin care is significant:
Firmness: Collagen provides structural support to your skin, helping to maintain its firmness and preventing sagging.
Elasticity: It contributes to skin elasticity, allowing it to bounce back after stretching.
Hydration: Collagen helps skin retain moisture, promoting a plump and youthful appearance.
Wrinkle Reduction: An adequate supply of collagen can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Wound Healing: Collagen aids in the healing of wounds, helping to minimise scarring.
Many skincare products claim to contain collagen and offer benefits like improved skin texture and reduced wrinkles. However, the effectiveness of topical collagen is still a topic of debate among dermatologists.
Collagen molecules are large, making it challenging for them to penetrate the skin deeply. While collagen-infused creams and serums can provide temporary hydration and a smoother appearance, they are not as effective at stimulating the body's natural collagen production.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that plays a crucial role in collagen production. It helps convert proline and lysine into collagen and protects collagen from damage caused by free radicals and UV exposure. Look for serums or moisturisers containing vitamin C for brighter, firmer skin.
Renude Recommends: Ampule SVR Anti-Ox ( C )
Retinoids (Retinol, Retin-A, Retinol Palmitate): Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that stimulate collagen production by promoting cell turnover and increasing collagen synthesis. They can also improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Renude Recommends: Medik8, Crystal Retinal
Peptides: Peptides are short chains of amino acids that can penetrate the skin and signal the body to produce more collagen. Common peptide ingredients include palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 and palmitoyl oligopeptide.
Renude Recommends: Allies of Skin, Peptides & Antioxidants Firming Daily Treatment
Hyaluronic Acid: While not a collagen booster per se, hyaluronic acid is excellent for maintaining skin hydration and suppleness. Hydrated skin appears plumper and can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles associated with collagen loss.
Renude Recommends: Garden of Wisdom, Hyaluronic Acid
Antioxidants: Antioxidants like vitamin E, green tea extract, and resveratrol protect existing collagen from damage by neutralizing free radicals. By preserving collagen, these antioxidants can help maintain skin elasticity and firmness.
Renude Recommends: The Inkey List, Vitamin B, C and E Moisturiser
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): AHAs like glycolic acid and lactic acid exfoliate the skin's surface, removing dead skin cells and stimulating collagen production in the process. Regular use can improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines.
Renude Recommends: COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs): Salicylic acid, a BHA, can penetrate the pores and promote collagen production. It's especially useful for those with acne-prone skin.
Renude Recommends: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): Niacinamide can help boost collagen production while also reducing inflammation and controlling excess oil production. It's suitable for various skin types.
Renude Recommends: SVR B3 Hydro Essence
Oral collagen supplements have gained popularity in recent years, and unlike topical creams, there's growing evidence to suggest their benefits for skin health. Here's how it works:
Bioavailability: Collagen supplements are broken down into smaller, more easily absorbed peptides. This increases their bioavailability, allowing them to enter the bloodstream and reach the skin.
Stimulating Natural Production: Oral collagen supplements may stimulate the body's natural collagen production by providing the necessary building blocks (amino acids).
Hydration: Some studies suggest that oral collagen supplements can improve skin hydration and elasticity.
Collagen is undoubtedly a vital component of youthful, healthy skin. Whether you choose to incorporate it into your skincare routine through topical products or oral supplements, there's evidence to suggest that it can offer real benefits. However, individual results may vary, so it's essential to be patient and consistent in your approach. Ultimately, the best practice is to maintain a well-rounded skincare routine that includes a healthy diet, sun protection, and products that support collagen production from both the inside and outside.
For help building a skincare routine that will fight the signs of ageing and stimulate your collagen production, get started with Renude by taking our skin quiz.
Complete our quick quiz, then upload photos or book a video call (priced at £20 or £35)
Our award-winning AI analyses your skin before your aesthetician creates your personalised routine
Message your aesthetician with any questions and check-in as your skin changes for ongoing advice