Real Talk: a Dermatologist Says Applying Collagen to Your Skin Doesn’t Do Anything

Welcome to ‘Dear Derm,’ our new beauty series in which dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD shares serious skin-care realness. In each episode, she’ll answer your most burning beauty questions and give you all the tools you need to take your glow game to the next level. 

Collagen is a fibrous protein that basically holds our bodies together via our bones, connective tissues, and our skin—which is why zillions of products exist to boost it. But, even though it's well studied, there are so many myths surrounding it.

This is why Mona Gohara, MD, board-certified dermatologist, is talking all about collagen in the latest episode of Well+Good's video series Dear Derm. The biggest myth-bust of 'em all? Slathering collagen on your skin topically isn't going to do anything for you. Seriously. The molecules are too large to actually penetrate your epidermis.

Shook? Don't worry—there are plenty of other ways to boost your collagen. In your skin-care regimen, it's all about using ingredients to stimulate collagen, rather than applying the ingredient itself. Dr. Gohara reveals the best three ingredients that do this all-important task to keep our skin healthy and thriving (click the vid above, we share all—promise!).

As for those other myths I was mentioning? Dr. Gohara has some thoughts on ingestibles (like collagen powders, gummies, and supplements). And she also doles out the truth about whether your body's collagen production stops as you age (Spoiler alert: It doesn't.) Really though, Dr. Gohara's main point is that collagen is complex, and there's not a one-product elixir that helps repair it all. "I like stuff with a lot of science behind it," she says. "I don't think there's a magic cream or a magic procedure. It's important to integrate many things into a goal—so if your goal is increasing collagen production, the more ways you can approach it, the more efficacious the result is going to be." But your collagen-spiked cream? Yeah, you can toss it.

For more dermatologist intel, here's what Dr. Gohara has to say about the right acne facial moisturizer to use, along with the best drugstore retinoid you can buy. 

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