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Trendy skincare ingredients come and go, but the collagen craze lives on. Chances are you’ve seen this word slapped across vials of skincare products and supplements over the past few years. But what exactly is collagen, and is it really worth the hype?
“Collagen is the major protein in the human body, providing the structural support for our body’s connective tissue, including the bone, joints, and skin,” says Dr. Yunyoung Claire Chang, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist. Collagen provides support in the skin by acting as “a scaffolding structure,” according to Dr. Chang, and is essential for skin firmness and elasticity. But, Dr. Chang notes that as we mature, the production of collagen slows down and is also more easily broken down by environmental exposures like UV rays, smoking, and environmental pollution. As a result, we develop wrinkles, fine lines, and looser skin over time.
“Given the importance of collagen for the skin, numerous collagen-rich products have entered the market in the form of topical skincare and oral supplements purported to fight the aging process,” says Dr. Chang. So, if you’re in need of a new collagen-infused boost to your skincare routine, look no further.
Below, we’ve researched some of the best collagen serums to prevent premature aging.
Best Overall: Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen
We’ve fawned over this serum before, and we’ll do it again. It may be on the pricier side, but its impressive formula of microalgae oils, omegas 3, 6, and 9, vitamin E, and of course, collagen—which all work together to reduce visible signs of aging, improve skin texture and strength, and boost suppleness—makes it worth every penny.
Best Drugstore: Olay Wrinkle Correction Serum
Users can't get enough of this drugstore serum formulated with a powerful combination of vitamin B3 and dual collagen peptides. It works by boosting your skin's collagen levels so your skin feels softer and looks more lifted. Plus, it promises to reduce the appearance of wrinkles in just 28 days, which many happy reviewers report is something this serum actually delivers on.
Best Budget: Physician’s Formula 24-Karat Gold Collagen Serum
The words budget and 24-karat gold aren't used in the same sentence all that often, but that's part of why we love this affordable serum. It's packed with vegan collagen and 24-karat gold for a luxe treatment without the hefty price tag. The results? Plumper, smoother skin, and a happy bank account.
Best for Wrinkles: Peter Thomas Roth Pro Strength Retinoid Peptide Serum
If your wrinkles and fine lines need an intensive treatment, then this may be the fit for you. Not only does this formula contain collagen-boosting peptides, but it’s also infused with a hefty dose of another anti-aging favorite: retinoids.
Runner-Up, Best for Wrinkles: NuFace Collagen Booster Copper Complex Serum
This top-rated serum uses the power of copper peptides (aka collagen molecules cut into smaller pieces for better absorption into the skin, according to Dr. Chang) to boost collagen production in the skin. Plus, it works overtime to bring back your complexion’s youthful radiance and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Best for Dry Skin: Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion
One of the main causes of wrinkles is dehydration, so why not grab a serum that’s packed with collagen and some hydrating properties? This serum contains collagen and hyaluronic acid (another wrinkle-reducing favorite) to hydrate and boost suppleness, giving your skin a smoother and firmer appearance.
Best for Oily Skin: DHC Super Collagen Supreme
If your skin tends to look like an oil slick after one too many drops of your average serum, then you may want to give this lightweight alternative a try. This Japanese beauty favorite is not only packed with collagen but has a weightless formula that absorbs easily into the skin, sans the greasy aftermath.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Derma E Advanced Peptide & Collagen Serum
Sometimes, one wrong ingredient is all it takes for sensitive skin to completely flare out. So, if you’re on the hunt for a collagen pick that won't irritate sensitive skin, reach for this serum. Its fan-favorite gentle, vegan formula is free of any GMOs, gluten, or soy.
Best Brightening: Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
This serum contains collagen to target fine lines and wrinkles, plus antioxidant vitamin C to brighten skin, target dark spots, and protect skin against free radicals for a clearer, brighter-looking complexion.
Runner-Up, Best Brightening: Dr. Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Vitamin C Serum
We don’t know about you, but our skin could really use a brightening boost after one too many late nights. If your skin is looking a tad lackluster, then that’s when you reach for this brightening and tightening serum. It contains collagen to smoothen out any fine lines as well as a heavy dose of vitamin C to boost the radiance of your skin when you need it the most.
Best for Lips: BeautyBio The Pout Sparkling Rosé Volumizing Lip Serum
If you have stubborn lip lines, then give them a surge of collagen with this lip serum. It also contains hyaluronic acid to moisturize and plump dry lips, plus it has a tasty vanilla-mint flavor that leaves a slight tingle as this intensive treatment goes to work.
Best Natural: InstaNatural Anti-Aging Collagen Serum
This natural formula contains a strong blend of collagen, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and a unique stem cell technology to smooth out wrinkles while increasing radiance and hydration. So you get to absorb all of the wrinkle-fighting benefits you need without any added synthetics, dyes, or mineral oils.
Best Vegan: Tarte SEA Deep Sea Collagen Super Serum
Think of this serum as a cocktail of skincare benefits. It has plant-derived marine collagen to hydrate the skin and give it a firmer look, marine plant extracts to smoothen and soften the look of fine lines, and antioxidant and fatty acid-rich argan oil to nourish and brighten skin. The result? A dewier, plumper, and a younger-looking complexion that can’t be beaten.