Gone are the days when you had to go under the needle for a dose of collagen. Today, the powerhouse protein, responsible for making our skin look and feel more plump, is being infused into creams, serums and even ingestible powders. There’s a reason it continues to be a buzzy beauty topic. It’s long been linked to major health benefits that go beyond your complexion and it isn’t just for “old” folks. Ahead, NYC-based celebrity dermatologist, Dr. Whitney Bowe breaks down everything you should know about collagen and why it’s wise to start using sooner than later.
MORE: Why You Actually Do Need to Worry About Collagen in Your 20s
For starters, it’s important to understand what collagen is and how it works inside our bodies. “Collagen is a vital component of most structures in the body and plays a role in the support of skin, muscle and bone,” says Dr. Bowe. “It’s the body’s most abundant protein and the main connective tissue that holds us together.” This explains why a loss of collagen may result in loose skin or a dull complexion.
There is a greater amount of this structure-building protein in women of color than the amount found in fairer skin tones. “This means those with darker skin tones have less fine lines and wrinkles, but their collagen tends to be more temperamental,” Dr. Bowe says. “It’s prone to being disorganized during the repair process and this results in scar tissue.”
MORE: The 11 Best Vitamin C Serums for Glowy, Bright Skin
When incorporating collagen into your skincare routine, Dr. Bowe suggests looking for products with retinol, peptides and growth factors. To add collagen boosts into your diet, try an ingestible powder, flavored or unflavored, to add into smoothies, drinks or meals. No matter how you try, just remember rebuilding and strengthening your body’s structures may take time. It’s best to wait 8-12 weeks to see results.
MORE: WTF is a Botox Facial and Should You Try One?
From smoother and stronger skin and hair to muscle recovery, this potent protein is definitely worth the hype. Here are some editor and derm-approved collagen boosters to try today.