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Best Collagen Serums

Updated December 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 10 Models Considered
  • 5 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 11 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best collagen serums

    Last Updated December 2018

    Your skin is your first line of protection from environmental stressors. Over the years, daily wear and tear starts to take its toll. Before you know it, your once smooth skin begins to wrinkle, sag, and discolor. Collagen serums are used to turn back time and slow the signs of aging. Though the formulas vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, their main purpose is to plump and firm skin while stimulating collagen to hide and prevent further wrinkles.

    Skin care is a booming business, and serums of all types have flooded the market. If you’re not sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place.

    Our team at BestReviews has put together this shopping guide to help you find a collagen serum that will give your skin a healthy glow.

    Collagen serums that are natural, organic, and cruelty- and paraben-free may come with a higher price tag, but they also offer peace of mind knowing how the product was made and what you’re truly putting on your skin.

    What is collagen serum?

    Collagen is a protein that’s found in nearly one-third of all your body's cells. While there are 16 different types of collagen, we're concerned with the collagen found in your skin cells. These long, fibrous proteins give your skin elasticity by providing a support structure over which new cells grow. The collagen support structure weakens and breaks over time, and the body grows less able to repair the damage. A sagging support structure causes noticeable signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines.

    Collagen serum is designed to enhance the skin’s remaining natural collagen. Though manufacturers may advertise that collagen serum sinks into the skin and rebuilds collagen, that simply isn’t true. In fact, collagen is too large to pass through the skin.  These serums aren't replacing your collagen but filling in fine lines and wrinkles while other ingredients help the skin retain its natural moisture and shape, which preserves the collagen support structure underneath the skin. You may not be able to turn back the clock, but you can certainly slow it down and help your skin look tight and smooth.

    Decadent serum with impressive results

    This serum takes on wrinkles, bags, and uneven pigmentation with results that are hard to ignore. It brightens the skin while tightening and moisturizing. The depth of its moisturization is a user favorite, especially for those with dry skin.

    Collagen serum features to consider

    Skin type: Different collagen serum formulas are intended to do different things, and some do not work for all sky types. There are three general skin types: oily, dry, and combination (T-zone). If you have oily skin, definitely choose a water-based product. You might also want a formula that contains salicylic acid, which is used to break up oils and fight acne. Those with dry skin may want a formula that hydrates or brightens the skin by evening out pigmentation. If you've got combination skin, look for a water-based formula that tones skin overall. Keep in mind that a formula that works for your best friend may not work for you.

    Formula: The formula makes all the difference, and every manufacturer uses a unique mix of ingredients. Serums are a highly concentrated skincare product, which means their active ingredients have more of an impact than other products. All serums, creams, and lotions have both active and inactive ingredients. The active ingredients you need to watch for in serums include the following:

    • Peptides: Peptides are amino acids that combine to make portions of a protein. Acetyl hexapeptide, palmitoyl pentapeptide, and palmitoyl oligopeptide are the most common peptides found in collagen serums. Once absorbed into the skin, these peptides relax facial wrinkles, encourage collagen production, and protect the skin from UV damage.

    • Antioxidants: Antioxidants (such as vitamin C) reduce the daily wear and tear caused by air pollution and UV radiation from the sun. When applied to the skin first thing in the morning, formulas with antioxidants add another layer of protection against these environmental stressors. But that’s not all they do. Vitamin C, in particular, tones the skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.

    • Alpha and beta hydroxy acids: These reduce irregular pigmentation and age spots. Alpha hydroxy acids act as an exfoliant, removing dead skin cells, unclogging pores, and smoothing the skin’s color and texture. Beta hydroxy acids clear away oil and dirt so that other ingredients sink more deeply into the skin. A word of caution: if you have sensitive skin, these acids may cause irritation because some are found in acne medication, too.

    • Retinol: Retinol (vitamin A) is a popular ingredient found in many skin care products. It acts as a healing agent by attaching itself to cells damaged by sun exposure. Once attached, retinol helps the damaged cells communicate with other cells and restore the cells to normal functioning. Healthy, repaired cells can then continue to maintain the skin’s support structure, reducing wrinkles. In addition, retinol slows the production of melanin, a pigment that gives color to the skin, thus evening out skin tone.

    • Omega-3 fatty acids: Fatty acids help maintain the health of cell walls. If cell walls break down, adequate water can’t get into the cell and waste can’t get out. Omega-3 fatty acids keep the waste/water transfer process going strong. Well-hydrated skin cells look and act younger.

    • Hyaluronic acid: This occurs naturally in the body and is gradually lost as the body ages. Though some serums contain hyaluronic acid and some manufacturers claim their formula replaces the acid that’s been lost, once it’s gone, it’s gone. That doesn’t mean it’s not a valuable ingredient. It’s a highly effective moisturizer that hydrates and softens the skin.
    EXPERT TIP

    Some ingredients found in collagen serums, like exfoliants and salicylic acid, also help prevent acne. That also means they could irritate sensitive skin. A quick check of the ingredients can give you a clue as to how your sensitive skin will react.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Retinol is a vital ingredient in many collagen serums because it acts as a collagen booster. However, some manufacturers make false claims that it can create new elastin. While new collagen cells can be created, elastin cannot.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Though collagen is too large to pass through the skin, it can be directly injected or taken orally. These two methods are also used to prevent the signs of aging.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Collagen serum prices

    Collagen serums have a broad price range and are one of the more expensive skincare products on the market. The price generally starts at just over $5 per ounce. At the low end of the range, you won’t find as many of the active ingredients listed above, and the ingredients are often synthetic. At the other end of the price range are serums that cost over $500 per ounce.

    In general, the more skin-enhancing ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, and peptides, the higher the price. Natural, organic formulas with plant extracts and botanicals cost more as well.

    Collagen serums typically come in bottles of one to three ounces, and it doesn’t take much to cover your problem areas. A single bottle could potentially last for a year or more.

    Light scent, smooth skin

    Elemis takes an aromatic approach to skin care. This serum acts as an incredible moisturizer for dry skin and is a popular product in professional spas. It feels like a light oil that’s slowly absorbed into the skin, smoothing wrinkles and leaving behind a warm glow.

    Tips

    • Apply collagen serum twice a day. Collagen serum is your first defense against aging. It should be applied in small amounts after washing and toning the skin but before applying sunscreen or moisturizer. Two applications per day are usually enough for noticeable effects.

    • Use collagen serum alone or in addition to moisturizer. Collagen serums are lighter than moisturizing creams yet still hydrate the skin. Depending on your skin type, they can be used as an additional moisturizer or as stand-alone moisturizer if you have oily skin.

    • Apply collagen serum sparingly. When applying collagen serum, use one or two fingers to prevent wasting the serum on your fingers. Gently massage the serum into the skin until it’s fully absorbed.
    Collagen serums offer some protection from UV rays but should not be used in place of a high-quality sunscreen.

    FAQ

    Q. Can I use a collagen serum around my eyes?

    A. Most serums are gentle enough for use around the eyes unless you have extra sensitive skin. However, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If they advise avoiding the eye area, it would be wise to do so.

    Q. Are collagen serums scented?

    A. Some serums contain essential oils, which can add a scent. However, because collagen serums penetrate deep into the skin, their formulas are designed to be gentle. That means if there is a scent, it’s usually very light.

    Q. Do collagen serums have a shelf life?

    A. The shelf life of the collagen serum will depend on its ingredients. Vitamin C, for example, starts to break down once exposed to oxygen. It gets cloudy and then turns yellow, at which point it has lost its effectiveness. We recommend buying collagen serums in small bottles to make sure the expensive ingredients don’t break down before you’ve used all of it.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer
    • Stacey
      Stacey
      Writer

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