You may have seen a collagen facial offered at your local facial spa or noticed advertisements for collagen powders and creams online. So what is a collagen facial and how does it benefit your skin?
In this article, I’ll discuss what collagen is and how it benefits our skin, as well as if a collagen facial can help.
I do not recommend a collagen facial to increase the production of collagen in the skin. Boosting collagen density in skin takes regular treatments over at least 3 months. Collagen facials can benefit the skin in other ways by moisturizing, infusing antioxidants, and gently exfoliating.
What Does Collagen Do For Our Skin?
Collagen is one of the most common proteins in the human body. It‘s found in our connective tissue (tendons, etc) as well as hair and nails.
It makes up about 70% of the dermis, the thickest skin layer. Collagen production decreases around the age of 25. It slows each year by about 1% until we hit menopause, where it starts to decline even quicker. Sun damage and smoking speed up this process.
You can see in the diagram below that collagen serves as the “scaffolding” that holds our skin smooth and strong. Collagen loss quickens the aging process as our skin starts to lose its structure and begins to sag and wrinkle.
Depleted collagen and skin elasticity also contribute to large pores as the skin sags and stretches the pore, making it appear bigger. This can happen regardless of skin type, although if you have a lot of natural oils it may be more noticeable.
The good news is that there are ways to increase collagen levels in our skin.
This is crucial to reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and preventing sagging skin. It takes about 3 months to start seeing results from any treatment or ingredient to increase collagen. This isn’t something where you can use a night cream or get a facial and expect overnight results.
Benefits of A Collagen Facial
Can a collagen facial benefit our skin? Yes, but most will not in the way you may expect. Unfortunately, many collagen facials simply use collagen creams, which don’t actually increase collagen in the skin since the collagen molecules are too large to penetrate the dermis.
However, a collagen facial can benefit your skin even if it doesn’t increase collagen levels. Mostly this will just be improving the appearance of your skin just as any facial would.
They often contain hyaluronic acid which moisturizes skin so it looks firmer and plumper. A massage during a facial can improve blood circulation that gives your complexion a youthful glow. Some facials gently exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells to reveal brighter skin underneath.
While these may not increase the amount of collagen in your skin long-term, they can still be a relaxing experience and make your skin look great for a few days. As long as you know what results to expect, there’s nothing wrong with most spa facials. And combined with a Swedish massage or hot stone massage services they can make for a relaxing spa experience.
For a collagen facial to be effective at increasing collagen levels, it must contain a skin treatment or ingredient that has actually been proven to increase collagen production within the skin itself.
Collagen Facial Treatments That Work
Skin treatments proven to increase collagen production include:
- Antioxidants (Vitamin C, Green Tea, and Resveratrol are among the best)
- Topical retinoids (retinol, tretinoin)
- Chemical peels
- Exfoliating acids (AHAs such as Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid)
- Red Light Therapy
- Laser Treatment
Stimulating collagen production takes repeated treatments over several months to accomplish. If you find a collagen facial that includes one of the treatments below, you must continue to treat your skin repeatedly at home. You won’t see long-lasting results from just one facial.
Which Collagen Facials Actually Work?
There are a few collagen facials that I have seen advertised that do include treatments that can be effective if done repeatedly. The most common one I’ve found is a facial that includes red light therapy.
Red light at the correct wavelengths penetrates the skin and can be very effective. I’ve written an article here on how this treatment can easily be continued at home. It’s one of my favorite treatments for sensitive skin as there is no risk of allergic reactions and no side effects that I’ve heard of.
Another type of collagen facial to look for are those that include an antioxidant serum or facial mask. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C (only the ascorbic acid form), green tea, and resveratrol have all been shown to increase collagen production. In order to see results make sure you continue to use an antioxidant serum at home.
I’ve written extensively about how to use both Vitamin C and Green Tea at home as I believe antioxidants are one of the most important ingredients to prevent collagen loss in our skin.
Frequently Asked Questions About Collagen Facial Benefits
Are collagen creams effective?
Collagen products in a cream or lotion form have collagen molecules too large to penetrate the skin into the dermis. The cream may have other ingredients that could be helpful and may improve the appearance of the skin by moisturizing. But just including collagen in a facial cream won’t have any real impact.
Are collagen powders effective?
Collagen protein powders are another story. Collagen powders contain natural collagen, usually from either cows or fish, as well as amino acids. These powders can be mixed into drinks or soft foods like yogurt.
There seem to be new studies coming out each week with conflicting results. There’s not yet enough randomized clinical studies that actually compare collagen powders to a placebo to convince me that it works.
And yet, I still tried it! I used Vital Proteins powder for 3 months…..and saw no difference in my skin. I don’t think there is any harm in trying it but I prefer to spend my money on the proven collagen-building treatments I listed above.
How much does a collagen facial cost?
Because these facials vary so much there is a wide range of prices. However, you can expect to pay between $100-$200 for most collagen facials. As with most things, expect the price to be higher in big cities and lower in rural areas.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Collagen Facials
It’s rare that I write an article on a skincare treatment I don’t recommend. But I think it’s important to know what not to spend your money on. There are so many skincare products promising unrealistic results that make many women just want to give up.
I’ve heard from many readers that feel like they’ve wasted money on product after product that doesn’t work.
There are products that are clinically proven to be effective. One of my goals for this website is to educate women on which treatments and ingredients are the ones that really deliver and offer good value.
I hope this article has been helpful for you in doing that today.