Type of fibrous protein arranged in a triple helix pattern and found extensively throughout the body, both in people and animals. It supports skin, internal organs, muscles, bone, joints, and cartilage.

There are at least 16 types of collagen that occur naturally in the body; the most abundant form in the human body is known as type 1 collagen. Collagen works in tandem with elastin to give skin its texture, structure, ability to stretch, and its smooth appearance. [5,6]

Sun damage (extrinsic aging) and chronologic aging (intrinsic aging) cause collagen in the skin to deteriorate. [1, 2]

As a cosmetic ingredient, collagen is derived from animal sources, but plant derivatives that act like collagen (pseudo-collagen) and amino acid fragments of collagen such as hydroxyproline are also used. In any form, collagen is a good water-binding agent. Collagen in cosmetics, regardless of the source, has never been shown to have a direct effect on producing or building collagen in skin, even when it is manipulated to be small enough to penetrate past skin’s uppermost layers.

References Cited:

  1. Baumann L. Skin ageing and its treatment. J Pathol. 2007;211(2):241-51.
  2. Puizina-Ivic N. Skin aging. Acta Dermatovenerol Alp Pannonica Adriat. 2008;17(2):47-54.

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

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