A dermatologist demystifies the trending ingredient.

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Collagen Creams That Actually Make A Difference
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Collagen is having a moment.

In case you've somehow missed the influencers, celebrities, and wellness brands raving about adding collagen powders to their smoothies or taking a supplement with their morning vitamins, the ingredient is praised for minimizing the signs of aging like wrinkles and loss of elasticity as well as promoting healthier hair.

Naturally, collagen has made its way into skincare products, namely rich moisturizers. But does collagen actually do anything for your skin, specifically when applied topically?

First, it's important to understand what collagen is, and the relationship it has to your skin.

"Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body often referred to as a building block, especially in the skin," explains Dr. Marissa Garshick, board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "Collagen serves as a structural protein in the dermis of the skin, and helps to provide structural support, keeping the skin firm and tight."

As we age, we naturally lose collagen, which can result in textural changes, loss of elasticity and firmness, along with fine lines and wrinkles. Dr. Garshick notes that incorporating vitamin C and/or retinoids in your skincare routine, along with wearing sunscreen every day are two ways to boost collagen production. In office procedures include laser resurfacing, microneedling (with or without PRP or radiofrequency), and chemical peels.

Ok so what about all of those skincare products with collagen in them? It's complicated.

Collagen has a large molecular size, which can make it difficult to penetrate past the skin barrier. That being said, innovations in formulas can make the surface of skin appear plumper, and some include the use of collagen peptides, which can penetrate the skin deeper and collagen-supporting ingredients.

"It [a collagen cream] still may result in changes on the skin - it can have a plumping effect on the surface of the skin, making the skin appear smoother and healthier," says Dr. Garshick. "Some products contain hydrolyzed collagen, also known as collagen peptides, which are smaller proteins that may be incorporated into topical creams to strengthen the skin and boost collagen and penetrate more easily than the larger collagen molecule."

The following eight collagen-infused creams check off the above boxes. Keep scrolling for highly-reviewed moisturizers that firm and plump the skin.

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L'Oréal Collagen Moisture Filler

Best Collagen Creams
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Fragrance-free and tested on sensitive skin, this $10 moisturizer is a universal affordable pick.

To shop: $10; amazon.com

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream

Best Collagen Creams
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Thanks to hero ingredient padina pavonica, this marine collagen-infused gel cream minimizes wrinkles and dehydration.

To shop: $89; ulta.com

Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 Moisturizer

Best Collagen Creams
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This supercharged version of the classic drugstore moisturizer features collagen peptide and niacinamide to firm and boost hydration.

To shop: $39; ulta.com

Dr. Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Deep Cream

Best Collagen Creams
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Add vitamin C to a rich, collagen-boosting moisturizer and you have yourself a winning anti-aging combo. This Dr. Dennis Gross cream brightens and reduces dark spots while simultaneously targeting texture and dehydration.

To shop: $72; sephora.com

Neutrogena Rapid Firming Peptide Contour Lift Cream

Best Collagen Creams
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Powered by micro-peptides, Neutrogena's firming, smoothing cream plumps skin and minimizes wrinkles and fine lines in no time - two weeks to be exact, according to the brand. Apply the mineral-oil free cream twice a day for optimal results.

To shop: $30; amazon.com

Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Collagen Moisturizer

Best Collagen Creams
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Peter Thomas Roth's moisturizing base of hyaluronic acid and squalane is infused with seven different forms of collagen to target visible signs of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, and loss of elasticity.

To shop: $85; sephora.com

Algenist GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream

Best Collagen Creams
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If you're in the mood to splurge, this top-rated collagen-powered moisturizer is worth it. The formula's hero ingredient is vegan collagen, with Algenist's patented anti-aging alguronic acid and radiance-boosting microalgae oil playing supporting roles.

To shop: $112; sephora.com

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Firming Collagen Cream with Peptides and Niacinamide

Best Collagen Creams
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Is there anything this anti-aging moisturizer can't do? If the ingredient list is any indication, that answer is a hard no. With collagen, peptides, and niacinamide in the formula, First Aid Beauty's rich cream tackles loss of firmness, wrinkles, fine lines, uneven tone, and texture.

To shop: $42; sephora.com