The best collagen serum

Ana Sanchez

Added ingredients to collagen serums, like salicylic acid, retinol, or alpha hydroxy acids, can irritate sensitive skin while providing huge benefits to other skin types. Always check the ingredient list before purchasing if you’ve got sensitive skin.

Starting at 30, the collagen production in our skin begins to break down and the first signs of aging appear on our faces. Collagen serums are designed to stimulate production of this structural protein, which is responsible for youthful, supple skin, and fight back against sagging and fine lines. The best serums on the market plump and firm skin, both erasing and preventing wrinkles from developing. What's not to love?

There's a dizzying array of anti-aging products on the market, and we're here to help you choose a collagen serum that fits your budget and needs. This quick buying guide lays out what you need to consider when shopping for a collagen serum. We've also included our top pick, La Prairie's premium formula, which is liquid gold for aging skin.

How collagen serums work

While there are 16 types of collagen found in your body, collagen serums enhance the type found in your skin cells. This type is responsible for your skin's elasticity and structure. As you age, the support provided by your collagen starts to collapse, causing skin to sag and wrinkle. While collagen serums can't replace lost collagen because the molecules are too large to penetrate the dermis when applied topically, they can fill in fine lines and help skin retain moisture resulting in tighter, smoother skin. Dermatologists report that collagen serums in most cases do stimulate production of the protein.

Considerations when choosing collagen serums

Skin type: Consider your skin type when choosing a collagen serum. Not all serums will work for all skin types.

Oily and combination skin types should choose a serum that's water based. Serums in general are well suited for oily skin because they're lighter than lotions or creams.
Acne-prone skin may benefit from a serum that contains salicylic acid to break up acne-causing oil and treat existing blemishes.
Dry skin types should look for formulas with added hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid.


Serums in general contain more concentrated forms of active ingredients that other skincare products, like lotions or creams, while also being more lightweight. Collagen serums typically contain other ingredients to enhance their anti-aging properties.

Peptides: Amino acid peptides are the building blocks to collagen. You may see them listed as palmitoyl pentapeptide, palmitoyl oligopeptide, and acetyl hexapeptide. These peptides enhance collagen production. 

Antioxidants: Vitamin C is a popular antioxidant you'll find in collagen serums that help protect skin against UV sun damage and pollution. Vitamin C in particular evens out skin tone and diminishes the appearance of wrinkles.

Alpha hydroxy acids: AHA works as an exfoliant to remove dead skin and smooth out skin texture. They also work effectively to diminish age spots and other irregular pigmentation.

Beta hydroxy acids: These work to clear skin of oil and debris so that other ingredients, like collagen, can seep deeper into the skin.

Retinol: A derivative of vitamin A, this popular anti-aging ingredient helps repair damage to skin cells and evens out skin tone by slowing the production of melanin.

Hyaluronic acid: Like collagen, HA naturally occurs in the skin and slows in production as we age. Hyaluronic acid is responsible for moisture retention and our skin's suppleness. When added to a collagen serum, it adds potent hydration.

Collagen serums prices

Collagen serums range wildly in price, from $5 for a five-ounce product to upward of $500 per ounce.


Q. How often should I apply a collagen serum?

A. For optimal anti-aging results, apply your serum twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Apply after you wash and tone your face but before applying sunscreens and moisturizers. If irritation occurs, apply less often.

Q. Do I still need a separate moisturizer if I'm using a collagen serum?

A. Collagen serums will hydrate the skin and can be used in place of a moisturizer if you have oily skin. If you have dry skin, a collagen serum probably won't cut it alone, and you should use a moisturizing cream or lotion following application and absorption of the serum.

Collagen serums we recommend

Best of the best: La Prairie Cellular Serum Platinum Rare

Our take: A deluxe anti-aging serum with cutting-edge technology.

What we like: Contains Hesperidin Smart Crystals to protect skin's DNA repair mechanism. Platinum nanoparticles protect against aging and free-radical damage.

What we dislike: Extremely expensive.

Best bang for your buck: Elemis Pro-Collagen Super Serum Elixir

Our take: A super serum packed with natural ingredients to help collagen production.

What we like: African birch bark and seaweed extract enhance skin's smoothness and softness. Omega-3s also added for hydration.

What we dislike: May cause breakouts for some.

Choice 3: Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster

Our take: Mid-priced collagen serum featuring vitamin C.

What we like: Vitamin C brightens skin and fades sunspots. Collagen naturally plumps skin. Together, these ingredients even out tone and soften skin.

What we dislike: Doesn't work for some users.

Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.