Collagen vs collagen stimulating ingredients

By Gaya Samarasingha

November 9, 2023

When it comes anti-aging “Collagen” has become the gold standard and collagen products are definitely having a moment. So, I thought it is only appropriate to take a deeper dive into collagen vs collagen stimulating ingredients. No, they aren’t the same thing, so let’s chat!

What is collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and plays a crucial role in the structure, strength, and elasticity of various tissues, including the skin. It is often referred to as the body's "building block" protein. Think of it as the frame of your mattress.

Our natural collagen production can start to decline as early as in our 20s, hence the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and visible pores.

Collagen vs Collagen Stimulating Ingredients:

Most creams and serums in the market contain collagen and boast instant results when it comes to reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. In some ways they do. These creams add hydration to your skin instantly plumping your skin therefore reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. However, collagen molecules are relatively large, making it challenging for them to penetrate the skin deeply. So, applying collagen topically may not significantly increase the skin's collagen levels and most likely will not give you any lasting anti-aging benefits.

On the other hand, there are products formulated with active ingredients to stimulate skin’s natural collagen production. When formulated with proper delivery methods, these active ingredients can penetrate the deeper layers of your skin to increase collagen production giving you more long-lasting anti-aging benefits and results. They are definitely more effective in the long term. Downside is that they aren’t magic potions that can make you look 10 years younger overnight, but with consistent use you should start seeing results within 30-60 days.

If you'd like my recommendation for an anti-aging serum formulated with 7 collagen boosting ingredients, I have a link for you at the bottom of the page.

What are some of the collagen stimulating ingredients to look for in your skincare?

Peptides (Matrixyl 3000):

Peptides are short chains of amino acids that can signal the skin to produce more collagen. Different peptides serve various functions, such as enhancing skin elasticity and firmness. One of the ingredients to look for in your skincare is Matrixyl3000 that combines two peptides (Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7). Matrixyl's clinical trial outcomes are comparable to, if not superior to, those of retinol so it is an ingredient that lives up to it's hype. Plus it is an ingredient that is suitable for any skin type and safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica):

Gotu Kola is a powerful herb that's been used in Ayurvedic medicine, daily diets and ancient skincare rituals for generations. It contains several amino acids our body combines to create the unique structure of collagen. When penetrated into the deeper layers of skin, Gotu Kola can increase skin’s collagen production.

Retinoids (Retinol, Tretinoin):

Retinoids are derived from vitamin A and are known for their collagen-boosting properties. Even though I’m not particularly fond of retinol for many reasons, they do stimulate collagen production, promote skin cell turnover, and can help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Keep in mind that many find retinol to be drying and irritating on their skin and it is an ingredient you cannot use while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid):

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help protect existing collagen from damage. It also supports collagen synthesis and brightens the skin. Look for stable and high-concentration forms of vitamin C in skincare products. Unstable vitamin c degrades in the presence of oxygen or light, meaning it won't carry those same skin benefits.

Growth Factors:

Growth factors are proteins that play a role in wound healing and tissue repair. In skincare, growth factor products may help stimulate collagen production and improve skin texture. There are some controversy surrounding the sourcing of Growth Factors, which is a topic for another blog post, so make sure to take a closer look at the sourcing information if you choose to give it a try.

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3):

Niacinamide can improve the skin's moisture barrier and support collagen production. It improves skin texture, enlarged pores, and helps brighten and fade hyper-pigmentation.

Would you like a recommendation for

a serum formulated with 7 collagen stimulating ingredients?