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Many skin care products claim to help the body retain and make more collagen, thus smoothing and diminishing wrinkles. It turns out a few skin care ingredients may help in this regard. For example, topical vitamin C may dampen inflammation that hastens collagen’s breakdown, and topical DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may support collagen production (DHEA is a hormone, so ask your doctor before using it regularly on your skin, to make sure it’s safe for you). The collagen molecule, however, is too large to penetrate through the skin’s outer layer; it never reaches the areas where your own natural collagen resides. So why would collagen-containing creams and serums offer any benefit at all? It comes down to moisture.
Should you try skin care products with collagen? Collagen is fairly gentle and non-irritating, so most people tolerate topical collagen well. Some collagen comes from cows (bovine) or pigs (porcine); other products contain fish (marine) collagen. Some people claim marine collagen is less likely to cause allergic reactions, though this isn’t proven.
To ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction to topical collagen, do a ‘patch’ test when trying any new skin care product. Apply to a small area of the face or neck for a few days. If you develop any irritation or redness, try a different product after it clears up.
In addition to skin care products, several things can help keep your skin’s collagen in good shape: