It’s no secret that collagen is a celebrated ingredient, essential for maintaining a youthful-looking complexion. But as we age, we experience a drop in collagen synthesis, leading to the development of sagging skin, fine lines and wrinkles. It’s no wonder collagen-boosting products have become all the rage. Today, you can find collagen in both topical skin care and oral supplements — but which is more effective?
We’ll deep dive into the differences between oral collagen supplements and topical collagen in skin care, how topical peptides come into play, and what you can expect from collagen skin care.
Collagen is often termed as the skin’s mortar (fun fact: its name comes from the Greek word, “kolla,” meaning glue). This structural protein binds our cells and tissues together, helping them retain their strength and elasticity. Unfortunately, the synthesis of collagen diminishes over time, leading to the emergence of sagging skin, fine lines and wrinkles. This is where topical collagen steps in.
You’ll find topical collagen in creams, serums and targeted treatments, aiming to improve skin elasticity and strength. Although collagen molecules are too large to penetrate the skin, they do have water-binding properties. Topical collagen creams hydrate the skin, which in turn minimizes the look of fine lines and wrinkles. This hydration also leaves the skin smoother and more supple-looking.
If you're looking for an additional ingredient to work together with topical collagen, we recommend topical peptides. Let’s unpack this potent active next.
Thanks to their smaller molecular size, topical peptides are more easily absorbed than collagen molecules and help to visibly revitalize the skin’s appearance. Like collagen, peptides are a form of protein, albeit smaller versions of protein. When topical peptides reach the dermis, they provide the skin’s fibroblasts with the building blocks they need to produce new collagen. By bolstering the skin's collagen levels, peptides can improve the look of skin elasticity to enhance skin texture and reduce the look of wrinkles. As a result, many skin care products add topical peptides into their formulas as well.
Our Product Support Team here at Eminence Organic Skin Care explains the role of peptides in skin care:
“A peptide is a molecule consisting of smaller chains of amino acids making them more easily absorbed by the skin. There are various benefits that peptides provide to visibly revitalize the skin and different peptides work on the skin in different ways. Some peptides trigger the synthesis of collagen and elastin, the structural proteins responsible for skin tone and texture. Increasing these proteins can give aging skin increased elasticity and suppleness.”
Now that we’ve explored both topical collagen and topical peptide options, a different approach you can take is oral collagen supplements. But do oral collagen supplements actually work?
Oral collagen is another way to add this essential protein to your beauty routine. Liquid collagen is hydrolyzed — it’s been broken down into peptides that are small enough to be digested and absorbed.
According to NCBI, “Oral intake of collagen enhances the moisture content of the skin, especially the stratum corundum, as well as the elasticity of the skin, reducing wrinkling and roughness.” Beyond skin care, oral collagen supplements are also beneficial for hair, nails and joint health. They promote healthy digestion, exercise recovery and even more for your body’s overall wellness.
Now let's debunk a common myth! Oral collagen is not a magic ingredient for immediate results. The results from oral collagen take time and may vary by individual. It’s best to talk to your physician before introducing collagen supplements into your diet.
What do the experts say? Jeannette Graf, MD tells Byrdie that putting collagen on your skin provides moisturizing benefits and makes the skin feel softer and smoother. Marie Hayag, MD, adds that it’s the intentional layering, or cocktailing, of ingredients that work well together (e.g., topical collagen and topical peptides).
Prevention Magazine makes the case for combining all three elements together and integrating oral supplements into a skin care regimen with topical collagen and peptides, saying: “It’s the mincing of collagen into very particular small chains of amino acids and peptides that holds the secret to youthful skin.” Dermatologist Doris Day agrees, saying “supplements are here to stay” and that they have a definite place in a skin care routine, alongside a good diet, sun protection and moisturizer. The New York Times also supports ingestible collagen, saying: “Studies show that taking collagen supplements for several months can improve skin elasticity (i.e., wrinkles and roughness) as well as signs of aging.”
The best way to improve the look and feel of your skin could be to combine all three types of collagen. Topical collagen, peptides and oral collagen often work synergistically to support the skin’s health. While topical collagen provides more immediate skin-smoothing results, topical peptides and oral collagen work overtime to improve the look of elasticity in the skin. The result: A firmer, smoother, bouncier-looking complexion.
Essentials For Healthy-looking Skin
Here’s how you can incorporate topical collagen and topical peptides into your Eminence Organics skin care routine.
Marine Flower Peptide Collection
The award-winning Marine Flower Peptide Collection includes products with both botanical peptides and collagen. Let’s explore how these products combine the two to support the look of your skin.
The Marine Flower Peptide Serum, Marine Flower Peptide Eye Cream and Marine Flower Peptide Lip Serum all contain botanical collagen with water-binding properties that hydrate the look of the skin as well as botanical peptides that improve the look of elasticity in the skin, resulting in visibly reduced fine lines and wrinkles. The Marine Flower Peptide Serum and Marine Flower Peptide Eye Cream also include the Smart Collagen+ Complex, formulated with cruelty-free collagen, natural plant peptides and sustainably-sourced freshwater and saltwater algae. These advanced actives improve the appearance of the skin so that it looks significantly smoother, plumper and more youthful.
All of the products in the Marine Flower Peptide Collection, including the Marine Flower Peptide Night Cream and Marine Flower Peptide Concentrate, include botanical peptides. These peptides improve the look of elasticity in the skin, resulting in visibly reduced fine lines and wrinkles.
Pro Tip: Add the Birch Water Purifying Essence to your routine for an added dose of botanical collagen.
Both topical collagen and topical peptides have a place in your skin care routine. And oral collagen rounds them out. Together, these buzzy ingredients pack a powerful punch that leaves skin looking smoother and bouncier.
Having explored the benefits of topical collagen, peptides, and oral supplements, let's now delve into natural strategies to further enhance your skin care routine and effectively boost collagen production.
Balanced Diet and Hydration
Incorporate collagen-boosting nutrients like Vitamin C, amino acids and antioxidants found in citrus fruits, leafy greens and lean proteins. Speaking to HT Lifestyle, Hyderabad-based dermatologist Dr. Lakshmi Sowjanya shared, “You can elevate your skin's resilience and youthful allure by adopting natural strategies to enhance collagen production."
Consider engaging in activities that stimulate blood flow and oxygenation, promoting collagen synthesis and skin elasticity.
Prioritize restful sleep, as collagen production peaks during this period, aiding in skin repair and regeneration.
Use Hyaluronic Acid
Use products with hyaluronic acid to improve the look of collagen in the skin and maintain skin suppleness. Its ability to retain moisture improves skin texture and firmness, while also contributing to overall skin health and a youthful appearance.
Apply sunscreen daily to shield skin from UV damage and prevent collagen breakdown. Daily sunscreen application is a vital step in preserving your skin's firmness and elasticity.
Are topical and oral collagen part of your skin care routine? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Tell us what has worked for you in the comments below.