Collagen’s reputation for plumping out fine lines has given it almost mythical status in anti-aging circles - which is why it’s found in everything from beauty treatments and health supplements to high-performance skincare. It may not quite turn back the clock, but collagen can almost have us fooled by helping to keep skin looking fresh, healthy, and youthful.
Read on for your guide to the best collagen-boosting skincare products - that actually do what they say they do.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the main structural protein in skin, providing it with strength and elasticity. When we’re young, we have collagen in abundance, which is why our skin looks plumped, healthy, and line-free. As we age, the amount of collagen produced by our body naturally decreases, leading to a loss of firmness and elasticity in the skin. Wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin are all the result of depleted collagen levels.
There are different types of collagen, but Type I is the most abundant and the main protein in our connective tissue.
How can skincare boost collagen?
There are a range of products on the market designed to help support the body’s natural collagen production. While powders and supplements target collagen levels from the inside, your skincare regime plays a vital role by tackling it from the top: your epidermis, or the top layer of your skin.
What is the best way to know if a product works?
Quality is key when it comes to collagen-boosting skincare. The easiest way to determine whether a product could support your skin’s natural collagen function is to check whether it has been scientifically tested in-Vitro. Proof of this validation should be clearly displayed on the label.
What is in-vitro testing?
In simple terms, in-vitro refers to a test in a lab; as opposed to clinical trials, which are tested on living human subjects. Because an in-vitro test is performed in a laboratory environment, it is subject to specific methods and controls, which means the results are reliable and objective.
How do in-vitro tests work?
The goal of an in-vitro investigation is to measure how well fibroblast skin cells (the cells that produce Type I collagen) stimulate, or synthesise, collagen. The cells are grown in petri dishes, and the skincare product – usually a cream or serum – is applied to them directly. The higher the percentage of collagen synthesis, the more effective a product is at helping to boost collagen in skin.
What makes in-vitro the gold standard of testing?
In-vitro testing is subject to strict scientific methods. Trials are performed by an independent private laboratory, who conduct a blind study. As the scientists are not given the names of the products, the results are objective – and there are no human variables to influence the results.
Four of the best collagen-boosting skincare products
Shown to stimulate Type I collagen synthesis by up to 92%
This certified vegetarian dream cream contains New Zealand manuka honey – a natural humectant which draws moisture into the skin, helping to keep it hydrated. Meanwhile, avocado oil contains a substance called sterolin, which can trigger the production of collagen. Revolutionary Vinanza® Grape is an antioxidant-rich extract from Marlborough sauvignon blanc grape seeds that helps ﬁght the visible signs of aging. Suited to most skin types, especially mature and dry.
Shown to stimulate Type I collagen synthesis by up to 82%
Kiwi seed oil is rich in Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps brighten, protect, and plump skin by – you guessed it – helping to boost collagen. It’s no surprise, then, that this silky-smooth eye cream is one of our top creams for smoothing the appearance of fine lines around the eyes. Certified vegan. Fragrance-free and suited to most skin types, especially combination.
Shown to stimulate Type I collagen synthesis by up to 72%
A few drops of this water-based serum after cleansing is all that’s needed to freshen, hydrate, and plump up thirsty skin. Mamaku black fern encourages healthy cell turnover while Vinanza® Grape is a powerful antioxidant-rich extract that targets skin elasticity. Lightweight and fast absorbing, this super serum quenches thirsty skin, while helping to improve your skin’s radiance over time. Certified organic and vegan.
Shown to stimulate Type I collagen synthesis by up to 51%
Loaded with avocado oil, rosehip oil and macadamia nut oil – each full of essential fatty acids that nourish the skin and soften the appearance of scars and wrinkles – this ultra-clean facial oil is a must-have for tired skin. Replenish tired, dry and stressed skin with this rich, light and easily absorbed organic and vegan face oil.