If you’ve stepped foot in a beauty store within the last few months, you’ve seen it: the word “collagen” splashed across every other cream, serum, and on countless supplement pills and powders. Skincare enthusiasts have become obsessed with collagen for a solid reason: this protein found in our tissues and organs is the key to keeping our skin supple and firm.
But collagen isn’t always kind. It’s an ephemeral visitor that begins to bid farewell beginning as early as our 20s. If you’ve started noticing hollowness in your cheeks or tear troughs and fine lines on the delicate, thin skin under your eyes, those are all typical signs of a slow down in collagen production.
Of course, we don’t take any loss of youth lying down these days, which is why products as disparate as drugstore cleansers and $300 moisturizers are making similar promises: restoring collagen in your skin. If a moisturizer, procedure, or smoothie truly can reduce signs of aging, it’s worth its price tag—and if it’s a marketing gimmick or a far-fetched goal, we’re here to tell you so you can blow your money on something far more fabulous.
We asked experts to separate collagen fact from fiction. Here are all of the ways you can rebuild collage in your skin—and a few that aren’t going to do the trick.
PLATELET PLASMA INJECTIONS
When Kim Kardashian posted a photo of herself receiving a bloody vampire facial, most people dismissed it as another wacky celebrity beauty trend that would never fly in the real world. But credit where it’s due: Kardashian’s platelet-rich plasma injections, which use growth factors found within our own platelets, can remodel wounds and promote new cell growth and cell regeneration, Abramowitz says.
“These growth factors are released by the platelets and injected into an area of concern such as lower lids, nasolabial folds, crow’s feet, neck lines, as well as full face and neck rejuvenation,” Abramowitz says. “An easy way to understand the science behind PRP rejuvenation is that we are treating wrinkles, acne scars, stretch marks and volume loss as wounds. You are basically healing yourself and reversing your aging process.”