How to Choose the Best Collagen for You
Updated: Nov 3
What is your collagen supplement made of?
Dr. Hannah Sivak, PhD, developed a new vegan collagen skincare formula for the skincare line, Skin Actives Scientific. While formulated with epidermal growth factor (EGF), hyaluronic acid, and sea kelp bioferment for collagen stimulation, plumping hydration, and antioxidant protection, it was the vegan collagen ingredient that stood out to me.
With so many collagen supplements and beauty products featuring the trending ingredient, choosing among all our options takes research. To help decide which collagen product is right for you, consider the points below.
What is your primary concern?
For digestive benefits, an ingested capsule or powder is your best bet. When you digest it, the collagen is broken down into its components yet fans swear that it translates into hydrated, plump skin. As a supplement, collagen is fantastic for healing the gut, the integrity of whose epithelial cell lining helps to determine whether toxins leak into your blood (AKA leaky gut syndrome). Not only is gut health the backbone of holistic health, but the benefits of a healthy gut will also show up on your skin in ways like fewer breakouts. When it comes to ingestible collagen, one of the dermatologists I often interview for articles, Dr. Hadley King, shares that preliminary studies looking at the benefits tot he skin looked "promising."
For hydration and moisture barrier support, you can use a topical product containing collagen. The effect of applying it topically is said to be similar to that of hyaluronic acid, great for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, providing topical barrier support, and improving overall skin-tone and texture.
Where is your collagen sourced from?
Most collagen is made from crushed up bones and cartilage from dead animal carcasses, which is why I strongly prefer vegan collagen. (Not only is it more humane, but going vegan is an earth-friendly, sustainable lifestyle shift.) Different blends of collagen cite bovine (i.e. cows), chicken, and marine (i.e. fish) sources, unless specifically designated as vegan in which case it comes from plants. If you choose an animal-derived brand, you can seek out brands like Crushed Tonic that source their supply of collagen sustainably. (In the case of Crushed Tonic, it's from the scales of tilapia.)
Can animal collagen be inflammatory?
The founder and esthetician behind the skincare line Skin Design London once explained to me that animal collagen can be inflammatory for some, and that she doesn't consider this to be worth the risk. That's why she uses vegan collagen in her skincare line. For instance, there is a form of thyroid medicine that derives its hormones from pigs, and another that derives T3/T4 from plants. While the porcine thyroid works well for some patients (like my stepmom), it caused me to have an immune response.
Keeping this information in mind, here are some collagen choices.
The wellness company also launched a collagen-protective moisturizer, too, and make a point to include stress-reducing adaptogens in their blends. If you want animal-sourced collagen, Crushed Tonic and La Sirene both use collagen from the scales of tilapia, but I strongly prefer vegan collagen.
Skin Design London
Sleeping Beauty, $110
Meet the clean cosmeceuticals line that makes this gentle, soothing, anti-inflammatory night cream that is safe even for the most reactive (i.e. post-laser) skin. The vegan collagen makes for an incredible humectant on dry, dull, or barrier-compromised skin.
This article’s inspiration.
The Beauty Chef
Inner Beauty Boost ($25 - 50)
This is a great beauty line that treats your skin from within, holistically and using clean, food-grade ingredients. We spoke to the founder, Carla Oates, on her top self-care tips here.
Anima Mundi Apothecary
They sell this at our favorite health food café in France, Wild and the Moon.
Glow Sweet Glow ($25)
If you go the gummy route, hyaluronic and vitamins C and E really are great for the skin.
This indie skincare line makes some of our favorite CBD skincare products. Their hero product is this blend of potent actives: rosehip oil, vitamin C, Niacinamide, Vitamin A, hyaluronic acid, and marine collagen sourced from algae. Just wow.
xWell+Good The Rose Renewal, $74.40
A formula for self-care: facial serum, an oil-scented candle, and crystals.
These are luxe and reiki-infused.
These won't go on sale until later in January, but you can read up on the elasticity-boosting, vegan collagen formula to prepare.
Have you tried collagen supplements? Tell me on Instagram!
I am using affiliate links in this post and might receive a small commission from sales. Emphasis on small.