Collagen Serum vs Hyaluronic Acid

Can’t decide if you should be using hyaluronic acid or collagen serum? I tried over 15 different products with hyaluronic acid and collagen over the last six months. I’ll share my key findings in this post so you don’t have to waste your time or money like I did.

For those unfamiliar both hyaluronic acid and collagen provide numerous benefits for the skin: both ingredients offer deep, long-lasting hydration and both can be used to treat fine lines, wrinkles and help fade acne scars and other skin imperfections. But when it comes to collagen serum vs. hyaluronic acid – which is better for glowing, nourished skin? Let’s take a look. 

What Is Collagen Serum?

Before going into detail about the benefits of collagen serum, it’s important to first explain what collagen is. Collagen is a protein found in the body: it’s estimated that around 33% of your body’s protein is made up of collagen, and it can be found in the muscles, tendons, joints, and even in the blood vessels and nails.  

So, Why Is Collagen Beneficial For Skin?

Collagen is great for the skin because it’s what keeps your skin looking firm, supple, and youthful. Unfortunately, around your mid-twenties, your body will stop producing endogenous collagen and as a result, you’ll start to notice fine lines, laughter lines, and other sneaky signs of aging begin to appear on your skin. 

The good news is that collagen production can be stimulated using techniques such as micro-needling; however, for a pain-free and less expensive anti-aging solution, a collagen serum can work wonders for keeping your skin radiant and youthful. 

Collagen serum benefits:

  • Super hydrating
  • Reduce and prevents visible signs of aging (fine lines, wrinkles)
  • Can help improve the appearance of uneven skin texture
  • Nourished, glowing skin
  • Antioxidant benefits

What Is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid is definitely having a skincare moment: whether it’s a new must-have night serum or a glowing mask, you can be almost guaranteed to find hyaluronic acid somewhere in the key ingredients list. And for good reason! Hyaluronic acid is one of the most potent active ingredients when it comes to hydrating the skin and providing deep, long-lasting nourishment. But what is hyaluronic acid, and why is it so great for the skin?

So, what is hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is found in the dermis layer of the skin: it’s a natural substance whose job is to cushion the joints and provide lubrication for various parts of the body. You can find hyaluronic acid in the fluids around the joints, as well as the eyes.

Why is Hyaluronic Acid Good For The Skin?

Hyaluronic acid is an amazing skincare ingredient because of its weightless, ultra hydrating properties. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, making it a humectant: this means that it holds onto water, providing intense hydration deep into the skin’s pores. It’s also non-comedogenic, which means that it won’t clog pores – making it an ideal hydrant for acne-prone skin. 

Hyaluronic acid benefits:

  • Intense, long-lasting hydration
  • Helps to treat fine lines and wrinkles
  • Can be used to reduce acne scars and dark spots
  • Helps the skin maintain elasticity 
  • Won’t clog pores
  • Can be used on all skin types
  • Helps stabilize oil production in oily prone skin

Collagen Serum vs Hyaluronic Acid: Similarities & Differences

So, what’s the difference between collagen and hyaluronic acid, and in what ways are these two products similar? 

Similarities Between Collagen Serum & Hylauronic Acid

When comparing hyaluronic acid and collagen serum, it’s important to note that these two products both have their advantages; in fact, these products are quite similar, while both do different jobs. 

Both collagen serum and hyaluronic acid:

  • Are natural components found in the human body
  • Decrease in production with age
  • Provide deep hydration to the skin
  • Help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Can be used for medical purposes as well as skincare 
  • Can be taken as a supplement either internally or topically

Differences Between Collagen Serum & Hyaluronic Acid

While collagen and hyaluronic acid do similar jobs, there are major differences between these two properties:

  • Hyaluronic acid is used to repair the skin and keep it supple, hydrated, and smooth, while collagen is responsible for skin cell turnaround and the skin’s elasticity – collagen can firm up the skin, while hyaluronic acid cannot
  • Hyaluronic acid is present in all living organisms (with the exception of algae), while collagen exists mostly in mammals
  • Collagen can be used to improve the appearance of hair and nails, while hyaluronic acid is not
  • Collagen can help improve skin firmness, while hyaluronic acid cannot
  • Collagen is used in plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery on the body, while hyaluronic acid is used mostly for treating wounds and repairing damaged skin tissue

What’s the major distinguishing factor between collagen serum and hyaluronic acid?

The most important difference between hyaluronic acid and collagen is its principle usage: while collagen improves the skin’s firmness and elasticity, hyaluronic acid helps the skin’s hydration and smoothness. Collagen can help stimulate new skin cell regeneration, which helps combat aging and firm up the skin. Hyaluronic acid does not have the power to regenerate new cells, but to improve the appearance of existing skin and repair tissue.

This difference is important when choosing between collagen skincare products and hyaluronic acid skincare products – if your major concern is to improve visible, already-existing signs of aging, you’d be better opting for a collagen serum. If you have youthful skin and you want to keep it hydrated without causing breakouts, hyaluronic acid might be more appropriate. 

Can I Use Hyaluronic Acid & Collagen At The Same Time?

While these two products share beneficial properties and can be used for similar reasons, you can also create a nourishing mix for your skin when combining these two ingredients in your daily routine. In fact, I actually recommend using both, as the mix allows you to target the two most common skincare concerns at the same time: aging and hydration. The good news is that you don’t need to invest in two separate products to do this: there are a few cutting edge skincare products that now contain a combination of both hyaluronic acid and collagen. This helps keep your skin supple and smooth while also providing skin renewal and anti-aging support. 

I’ve personally used and recommend Clearstem Skincare’s CELLRENEW Collagen Infusion Serum. This serum combines both hyaluronic acid and collagen alongside skin-boosting ingredients such as almetto, green tea, and reishi mushrooms to nourish the skin and keep breakouts at bay, while also providing anti-aging benefits. I’ve personally used this serum for about 6 months to keep my skin hydrated and help slow my wrinkles. I highly recommend for anyone dealing with acne, dry skin or wrinkles.

CELLRENEW – Collagen Stem Cell Serum

  • Ingredients That Target Breakouts & Wrinkles
  • Reduce active breakouts
  • Reduce redness and inflammation while simultaneously increasing collagen and skin elasticity

Collagen Serum vs. Hyaluronic Acid: Which is Best For Me?

For Anti-Aging Purposes

When it comes to the question of collagen serum vs. hyaluronic acid for wrinkles, collagen is going to be the most effective addition to your skincare routine. If you have scars, wrinkles, fine lines, or other visible forms of aging, collagen will help speed up skin renewal, while hyaluronic acid can only help repair tissue damage in existing skin cells. If you have deeper fine lines and wrinkles, you might want to combine a collagen serum with micro-needling, as using both will double your efforts and help speed up skin cell turnover and combat any existing signs of aging.  

For Treating Loose Skin

As our collagen depletes and collagen production slows down with age, the skin’s firmness will decrease too. To help treat loose skin and give your complexion a firmer, more youthful appearance, collagen is more effective as an active ingredient than hyaluronic acid. While hyaluronic acid can help smooth out the appearance of fine lines and give your skin a nourished glow, it can’t stimulate the production of new cells in the way collagen can. When trying to firm up loose skin, collagen is the best option. 

For Hydrating Acne-Prone Skin

When it comes to the question of collagen serum vs. hyaluronic acid for acne, Hyaluronic acid is the best option for those with acne-prone skin. Not only does it provide weightless hydration, but it’s also non-comedogenic, meaning that it won’t clog pores and cause breakouts. Collagen serums will often add supplementary ingredients to the formula, some of which might inflame acne-prone skin and cause breakouts. The humectant properties of hyaluronic acid can keep your skin soft and hydrated and can be used alone, without the need for extra ingredients – just make sure to use hyaluronic acid correctly if you have oily skin. 

For Giving Skin A Radiant Glow

If you love that dewy, just-ran-a-marathon type of glow, you might be better off opting for a hyaluronic acid product. While certain collagen serums also offer glow-enhancing benefits, the hydration provided by hyaluronic acid can do the job without enlisting the help of other active ingredients. 

Collagen vs. Hyaluronic Acid: Final Takeaways

Overall, when it comes down to deciding which of these two skincare ingredients is better, there is no real objective answer, only subjective suggestions. We could argue that collagen serum is more versatile: not only does it offer anti-aging benefits, but it also hydrates, plumps, and smooths the skin. 

However, we could also easily argue that hyaluronic acid is the supreme between the two: not only is it lightweight and non-comedogenic, but it can be used alone without the need for supplementary ingredients. The truth is that both of these products are great for the skin, and one only becomes better than the other when it comes to treating individual skincare concerns. If you want to treat visible aging and wrinkles, the combination of hyaluronic acid and collagen serum would offer your skin a double boost. If you have youthful, acne-prone skin, hyaluronic acid might be sufficient.

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Stephanie Nera (Pharmacist)
Analyzed by Stephanie Nera

I am a pharmacist who graduated cum laude in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the University of Santo Tomas. I have worked as a writer for over 5 years, handling small time and multinational clients alike. Most notably, I have worked as an in-house writer and medical reviewer for Hello Doctor. I’m an Arizona native who has spent a good number of years in the Philippines. With that said, my health journey has gone through many extremes throughout my entire life. As a former “fat kid”, stressed-out medical student, and current PCOS warrior, I am passionate about sharing my professional and personal insights with those struggling with these problems and more. (Spoiler alert: you’re probably using way too many medications and products right now). Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn, anytime! Read more of Stephanie's articles.

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1 thought on “Collagen Serum vs Hyaluronic Acid”

  1. I don’t understand. If collagen cannot be absorbed into the skin due to its molecules being to large to pass through the epidermis how can this product do what it says? I want something to reduce my facial jowls.


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