All Topics
Formes de collagène

The different forms of collagen used in cosmetics.

Widely used in the cosmetic industry, collagen comes in various forms. Here, we present the different types of collagen, their sources of extraction, and their applications in this sector.

Published May 24, 2024, updated on May 24, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 5 min read

Native Collagen.

Native collagen (INCI: Collagen) is a form of collagen that has not undergone hydrolysis. Naturally present in the human body, it is composed of long, intact protein chains, often of type I or II, extracted from various animal sources (bovine, porcine, or marine collagen). This biomaterial is specifically made up of repetitive triplets of the amino acids glycine (Gly), proline (Pro), and hydroxyproline (Hyp).

Due to its significant molecular weight (300 kDa), native collagen cannot penetrate the epidermis. Indeed, to consider trans-epidermal passage, collagen must be hydrolyzed to achieve a molecular weight approximately between 1,000 and 100,000 Da. Nevertheless, present in a variety of cosmetic products such as creams, serums, or masks, collagen plays primarily a moisturizing role for the skin. It indeed helps to strengthen the skin barrier by forming a film capable of attracting and retaining water molecules on the surface of the epidermis. Thus, native collagen protects the skin from dehydration and certain external aggressions.

Hydrolyzed Collagen.

Hydrolyzed collagen (INCI: Hydrolyzed Collagen), also known as collagen hydrolysate, is a group of low molecular weight peptides (3000 to 6000 Da). It can be extracted from various sources (bovine, porcine, marine, etc.), and is generally obtained after enzymatic action in acidic or alkaline environments at a specific incubation temperature. Found in creams, powders, and balms, hydrolyzed collagen acts on skin tissue and provides numerous benefits. It hydrates the skin and restores its suppleness, elasticity, and firmness. Collagen hydrolysate also reduces wrinkles and fine lines.

The hydrolyzed collagen also plays a role in the healing process. It is found in healing treatments to accelerate cellular regeneration. Studies have shown that it can stimulate the proliferation and activity of fibroblasts, the skin cells responsible for producing most of the molecules in the extracellular matrix.

Collagen peptides.

Collagen peptides are short chains of amino acids resulting from the breakdown of collagen. More specifically, they are fragments of hydrolyzed collagen. They are generally smaller than hydrolyzed collagen, which makes them particularly valued in cosmetics for their ability to easily penetrate the superficial layers of the skin. Like hydrolyzed collagen, the benefits of collagen peptides include stimulating the skin's production of new collagen, promoting cellular repair and growth, improving skin elasticity and firmness, and hydrating and protecting the skin.

Found under the INCI names "Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides" and "Collagen Amino Acids," collagen peptides are widely used in formulating skincare products targeting skin aging. Indeed, in addition to their hydrating and firming properties, they have antioxidant effects. Studies have shown that these effects are even more potent when the peptides have a low molecular weight. By inhibiting oxidative stress, collagen peptides protect endogenous protein fibers (collagen, elastin, etc.) and glycosaminoglycans from oxidation, a phenomenon that can disorganize them and lead to the loss of their function.

Recombinant Collagen.

Collagen is a protein exclusively found in the animal kingdom. However, to meet evolving needs and align with the vegan lifestyle of some individuals, an environmentally friendly alternative has been developed: plant-based collagen. This is actually recombinant collagen produced using biotechnological processes. The first recombinant collagen production systems used mammalian cells that expressed native enzymes. Today, the production of type I collagen relies on yeast and plants, hence the term plant-based collagen for this latest version.

This biomimetic collagen does not have exactly the same structure as native collagen, nor the same sequence of amino acids. Studies show that this type of collagen cannot form the same fibrillar assemblies as native collagen, due to the absence of intact telopeptides at its ends. Despite this, it appears that collagen recombinant still provides benefits for the skin and possesses moisturizing, restructuring, and anti-radical properties similar to those of collagen peptides.

What form of collagen is used by Typology?

In line with our ethical and environmental commitments, we have decided to use recombinant collagen in our skincare products, achieving results similar to those of collagen derived from animal sources. Specifically, our collagen is a biomimetic fragment of the native human type I collagen sequence. After its synthesis, this molecule underwent post-translational hydroxylations to become fully active. This collagen was then cloned into an expression vector, transcribed in vitro, and inserted and produced in plant cells from wild plants.


  • RODRIGUEZ M.I. Collagen: A review on its sources and potential cosmetic applications. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (2018).

  • AGUIRRE-ÁLVAREZ G. & al. Hydrolyzed collagen—Sources and applications. Molecules (2019).

  • AGUIRRE-ÁLVAREZ G. & al. Collagen hydrolysates for skin protection: oral administration and topical formulation. Antioxidants (2020).

  • FERTALA A. Three decades of research on recombinant collagens: Reinventing the wheel or developing new biomedical products? Bioengineering (2020).


Understand your skin
and its complex needs.