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Five Ways to Boost Collagen

Collagen Helix
May 7, 2015 Reviewed by Marta 6 Comments

You’ll have noticed that collagen boosting products and ingredients are considered to be a good thing. But what is really going on with collagen boosting products and can we, by understanding it better, be surer to target the ones that are really likely to work?

Collagen and skin

Collagen is the main structural protein of connective tissues and makes up from 25% to 35% of the protein content in our bodies. Collagen, in the form of elongated fibrils, is mostly found in fibrous tissues such as tendons, ligaments and skin.

You might have noticed that high tech potions and lotions claim to reach the fibroblasts. This is important because a fibroblast is a type of cell that synthesizes the extracellular matrix and collagen.

Possessing great tensile strength, collagen functions in a manner that is very different from many other types of proteins. For example, it can be found both inside and outside of cells. Collagen gives the skin its strength and elasticity, and is also responsible for the replacement of dead skin cells.

Basically, collagen is one of the body’s key natural resources, so it’s unfortunate that collagen production typically begins to decline after the age of 40. When collagen breaks down, your skin becomes weaker, and this can lead to sagging.

So what can we do to prevent this, or at least ameliorate it? Slapping collagen on your skin won’t help. Collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin. Collagen dressings attract new skin cells to wound sites. A study on rats concluded that topical application of collagen did not facilitate wound healing.

However, now that we understand more about collagen, we can make some more educated stabs at how to replenish our stocks.

Amino acids – especially proline

A good place to start is by appreciating that collagen is comprised of amino acids. And if you want to hone in on just one, know that a good proportion of collagen is made up of the amino acid proline. Proline is a major component of connective tissue and has the ability to strengthen and renew aging skin cells. One-sixth of collagen is comprised of proline.

BRAD Biophotonic Essential Elixir Multi-Peptide Youth Regenerating Serum ($95) features the two amino acids expecially important to collagen, L-proline and L-threonine, as well as many others. Skin Nutrition Cell CPR ($150) has proline and tyrosine, apple stem cells and peptides. Cell CPR’s formula mimics the proteins, phospholipids, vitamins and minerals found in the skin.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a co-factor with several amino acids for the synthesis of collagen. Indeed a deficiency in vitamin C will result in destroyed collagen. So a good vitamin C serum will help boost collagen.

Medik8 CE-Thione Rechargeable Vitamin C Serum ($150 in the shop) is the latest addition in the brand’s range of vitamin C serums. CE-Thione boasts being the first ever form of "rechargeable" vitamin C, at 15%. Sciote Vitamin C Face Lotion ($65) has 15% vitamin C, while Your Best Face Advanced CE Concentrate ($50 in the shop) still has a great quality to price ratio. With no less than three forms of vitamin C, amounting to a concentration of 8.7%.


Our recent clinical trials for Truth Vitality Lux Renew showed that 88.9% of subjects using ultrasound showed improvement in collagen. Ultrasound vibrations (which are subsensory) oscillate the tissue and cause movement of fluid waves against cells. This facilitates movement between the inner and outer cells and thereby increases fibroblastic activity and collagen formation.

Ultrasound is combined with LED light on my FDA cleared Truth Vitality Lux Renew ($279 in the shop).

Copper peptides

Not only do copper peptides promote collagen, they actually remove any that is damaged. Copper is the key mineral in lysyl oxidase, an enzyme that weaves together collagen and elastin.

Research has shown that copper peptides and red LED light make a powerful combination. Red light alone maintains fibroblast activity and increases collagen synthesis. When used with copper peptides, collagen 1 expression increases even more. So use a copper peptide based serum with the red LED light feature of True Vitality Lux Renew.

Kenneth Mark MD Antioxidant Hydrating Cream ($120). This serum contains the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin, along with potent collagen boosters, copper peptides, minerals, vitamin A and two forms of vitamin C.

Benir Beauty BV Nine Platinum Anti-Aging Bee Venom Cream ($136 in the shop). This cream uses copper peptides and bee venom to encourage collagen production, while simultaneously delivering antioxidants.

Medik8 Firewall ($145 in the shop). Medik8 has significantly upped the concentration of copper peptides in Firewall in its formula and there are plenty of other useful things, including Matrixyl 3000.

Matrixyl 3000 and ‘Synthe 6

Matrixyl 3000 is a proven skin improver. There’s no independent research on its collagen boosting prowess, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence justifying this ingredient as the mainstay of any serious serum. There’s also the newer Matrixyl Synthe’6 and it works on collagens I, III and IV.

You’ll find Matrixyl Synthe’6 in Your Best Face Correct ($150 in the shop), while Nutra-Lift Rejuvenating Nano Reneu ($48) has Matrixyl 3000 at 5%. 


Study on pigs' ingestion of collagen peptide induces increased fibroblast density and enhances formation of collagen fibrils in the dermis in a protein-specific manner.

  • May 8, 2015

    by Marta

    Hi Carole, since you should use retinol only at night as it increases photosensitivity, the simplest would be to use Firewall in the mornings.

  • May 8, 2015

    by Marta

    Hi Ginger, I was going to include retinol on the grounds that there is the assumption that increased cell turnover boosts retinol. But when I started to do the research, I couldn't find any evidence that it works directly on collagen. Descriptions of how retinol works focus on its interactions with cells with no discussion of collagen. Since I wanted this article to focus on collagen and mechanisms directly related to it, not to mention the controversy and side effects involved in retinoids, I decided not to include them in this post.

  • May 8, 2015

    by Carole

    I purchased the Medik8 firewall, but I don't know how to incorporate in my routine. I use vitamin c & a retinol..... When do I use the Medik8?

  • May 7, 2015

    by Ginger Berman

    Hi Marta,

    I thought retin-A was the gold standard for collagen production. Not true?


  • May 7, 2015

    by Marta

    Hi Cherlyn - it would be a good idea to combine Ultrasound/LED with a good collagen boosting serum. But you don't necessarily need more than one serum. A good option, though, would be to use a vitamin C at night and which ever of the others that appeals in the morning.

  • May 7, 2015

    by Cherlyn

    Do you recommend using a combination of these products together to boost collagen?

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