Collagen is becoming an increasingly hyped ingredient in anti-aging care, but can collagen really do something against wrinkles, tighten the skin or prevent skin aging? We took a closer look at the beauty trend and revealed what is behind the miracle protein and what it can really do.

What is collagen?

Collagen is not an additive in cosmetic products or a dietary supplement, but primarily a protein in our body. And it is the most common protein, as 30 percent of our proteins are collagen proteins. Different forms of the structural protein collagen give not only the skin, but also bones, cartilage and connective tissue their strength. Collagen plays a key role in the structure of the skin and, together with ceramides, the natural moisturizing factors (NMF) and hyaluronic acid, forms the basis of the skin.

The structural protein collagen stretches like a framework over the skin and gives it firmness. However, the older we get, the more the collagen effect and collagen production decrease, so that the framework becomes more unstable, the connective tissue slackens and wrinkles appear. Free radicals, for example from cigarette smoke or alcohol, also attack the collagen framework and promote skin aging.

Not only the skin, but also organs such as the lungs and heart, blood vessels, cartilage, bones, tendons, ligaments and joints are held together by collagen. There are different types of collagen that differ in their structure and are each responsible for different biological functions. Types I, II, III and V collagen support the skin, skeletal muscles, bones, tendons, cartilage and connective tissue. There are 28 different types of collagen in total, and ten other proteins have collagen-like structures. Thanks to the versatility of the protein, collagen is not only important for our skin, but also for the maintenance of joints, ligaments and cartilage. This means that it plays an important role for athletes, but also for older people who suffer from muscle loss.

Beautiful skin with skin cycling? Find out here what the 4-day plan can really do! We also reveal 6 advantages of cosmetics without alcohol – whether body lotion, shampoo or face cream. Certain exercises can also help to achieve a smooth complexion: facial yoga is so effective against wrinkles, double chins, etc.! We show you remedies and tips for wrinkles around the mouth here – so you can say goodbye to your nasolabial folds! We also reveal the secret of face cupping and how cupping on the face ensures beautiful, plump skin.

Does collagen help against wrinkles?

When it comes to firm skin and facial features, the word collagen is usually mentioned. Collagen creams are supposed to reduce wrinkles, tighten tissue, and nutritional supplements containing collagen are supposed to give ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and bones elasticity and firmness. Does collagen really work against wrinkles and how does it work? Do collagen powders, capsules, etc. help against premature skin aging? We have put together all the information about the anti-aging booster for you.

There are collagen creams, powders and capsules – which product is best?
There are collagen creams, powders and capsules – which product is best?© LanaStock

Collagen for the skin: What can collagen creams do?

Collagen in cosmetic products has moisturizing and binding effects, but does not work like the body’s own collagen and does not stimulate collagen production. The collagen molecules are too large to penetrate the top layer of skin and reach the connective tissue, where the body’s own collagen is located. However, it can moisturize dry skin, making the skin plumper, making dents disappear and the collagen cream has a smoothing effect, at least temporarily. Cosmetic products that contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and retinol in addition to collagen are particularly suitable, as they protect the skin from free radicals and promote the formation of new skin cells.

This content comes from external providers such as Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. Please activate personalized ads and content as well as providers outside the CMP standard to display this content.

Collagen as a dietary supplement

Dietary supplements in the form of collagen capsules, tablets, powder or drinking ampoules are flooding the market, but they are not really promising. To ensure that the collagen can be better absorbed by the body, hydrolyzed collagen is used, which has been made water-soluble through a specific process. It usually comes from animals, for example from chicken bones, fish skin or products from beef and pork; synthetic collagen is used less frequently. The preparations are broken down into the required components in the stomach or intestines, but it has not yet been proven that complex collagen is actually produced from them, placed in the right places and that results are visible. Unfortunately, it is not the case that the collagen goes directly from the stomach into the skin and irons out the wrinkles there. With a healthy lifestyle that stimulates the body’s own collagen production, you will probably achieve much better results.

Many people resort to tablets, capsules and ampoules – but what do dietary supplements actually promise?
Many people resort to tablets, capsules and ampoules – but what do dietary supplements actually promise? © Antonio Diaz

These foods support collagen formation

To form collagen, you need foods with certain amino acids or antioxidants. The amino acids proline, hydroproxylin and glycine are mainly responsible for collagen production, while antioxidants ensure that free radicals are rendered harmless and thus the formation of collagen is supported. Therefore, include plenty of soy, peas, lentils, beef, salmon, oatmeal, nuts, eggs and fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet to provide you with all the important amino acids and antioxidants. If you are unable to consume these important components in sufficient quantities, dietary supplements can be an alternative. By taking antioxidants such as vitamin C or amino acids, you can boost your body’s own collagen production.

However, make sure that your lifestyle does not counteract collagen production: smoking, lack of sleep, stress and alcohol put a strain on the skin and lead to increased formation of free radicals. On the other hand, you can create a good basis for your body to produce collagen by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and lifestyle and exercising daily in the fresh air.

What else helps against wrinkles besides collagen

Collagen: What are the side effects?

Side effects of collagen primarily relate to oral ingestion of collagen. But the use of collagen in creams or serums on the skin can also cause skin irritation, as with any other care product. Sensitive skin can react with redness, pimples or itching. Allergic reactions can occur when taking collagen products, especially if the collagen was made from fish skin and you are allergic to fish. If the product also contains nicotinamide, facial redness and hot flashes can occur.

This content comes from external providers such as Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. Please activate personalized ads and content as well as providers outside the CMP standard to display this content.

Is there vegan collagen?

Collagen is a protein in the human or animal body and does not occur in the plant world – so it cannot be included in the range of vegan cosmetics. A new and still rarely found in cosmetics is a type of collagen that is produced by microorganisms. Corn, soy or wheat, for example, serve as the basis for a vegan collagen alternative. Plant products that have a positive influence on the body’s own production of collagen are also often referred to as vegan collagen. It is used in cosmetic products, but also in collagen capsules, tablets or powder for oral use.