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North America’s First Vegan, Bioidentical Human Collagen

HumaColl21® delivers unprecedented results in a vegan, environmentally friendly formulation 

A quick look at any beauty counter these days and one ingredient crowds out the others: collagen. Whether in creams, make up or supplements, collagen is in demand as a method to fight the impact of aging, and with good reason. A protein, collagen makes up 75 percent of a body’s dry mass of connective tissue. Translated to your skin, it’s the difference between that youthful firmness everyone is after, and an older, less elastic appearance.

Unfortunately, collagen begins to decline as early as the age of 25 at a rate of one percent per year. By the time you hit 45, you will have lost approximately 30 percent of your overall collagen. While you might not see that loss on an internal level—think the connective tissues surrounding bones, like ligaments, and tendons—collagen loss beneath your skin is readily apparent. 

But just what  products and types of collagen will have the most impact in fighting that loss is where it can get confusing and overwhelming. The beauty industry clouds the picture with a wide variety of claims, some scientifically accurate, and some far off the mark. Understanding the difference between “natural” and synthetic ingredients and what that means when applied to collagen in skincare, can prove challenging.

Collagen That Works

To understand how collagen-infused skincare arrived at this confusing place, it’s helpful to look at the history of ingredients in the beauty industry. “Humans have been using plant oils, extracts and herbal ingredients for centuries,” says Leslie Iddison, chief product officer at Orora. “In the early 1900s, industrial manufacturing began developing synthetic ingredients for mass production of cosmetics” 

About fifteen years ago, however, the industry began a marketing push for “clean” and “natural” ingredients, falsely pointing fingers at the “dangers” of synthetics. With no FDA definition for what constitutes a “clean” ingredient, there’s a Wild West approach to claims surrounding ingredients. Brands, retailers and consumers may have completely different understandings of what any of these terms mean.

The truth of the matter is that often, synthetics come out on top with performance. Not only that, but ingredients deemed synthetic are frequently derived from natural ingredients, like plants.

This Vegan, GMO-free, Ethically Grown Collagen Is A Game Changer 

Traditionally, the collagen used in beauty products derived from a couple of main sources: marine, or fish skin, and bovine (cow) tendons. “The truth is that, while these types of collagen creams have moisturizing qualities, their collagen molecules are too big for skin absorption,” explains Iddison. “There’s no evidence that they will therefore contribute to more collagen or stimulate the skin to produce more.”


“The truth is that, while these types of collagen creams have moisturizing qualities, their collagen molecules are too big for skin absorption,” explains Iddison.


As the science into collagen and its anti-aging role for skin progressed, the beauty industry began adding ingredients from plant sources that stimulate collagen production. Popular and somewhat effective ingredients/antioxidants from plant sources include Vitamins C, B3 and E, which can penetrate the skin via their smaller molecular weight. Add to the mix cell regulators, such as vitamin A derivatives, polypeptides and botanicals, which can induce the biosynthesis of collagen. Commonly recognized as retinol, retinaldehyde and tretinoin, these ingredients are widespread in skin creams today.

The latest and most promising collagen skincare ingredient to emerge, however, is bio designed. HumaColl21®, the main ingredient in Orora products, is the first of its kind, vegan bioidentical human collagen  ingredient to hit the market. What sets it apart is its biocompatibility, says Iddison. “If you were to look at HumaColl21® under the microscope, you would see that the structure of its protein is identical to the structure of human collagen, type 21” she says. 

At the heart of HumaColl21® is Type 21 collagen, the molecular root of which, out of the 28 different types of collagen in the human body, best matches youthful human collagen. When studied in third-party clinical testing, HumaColl21® demonstrated several powerful outcomes: it stimulated the expression of collagen type 1 in human fibroblasts; it stimulated the expression of fibronectin in human fibroblasts; and it stimulated the expression of elastin.

In simpler terms, what does that mean for you?

In the study, HumaColl21® proved to increase skin elasticity by 107 percent; skin collagen increased in 93 percent of users; 78 percent of the subjects saw a reduction in skin redness; and 93 percent of the group showed wrinkle reduction. Additionally, HumaColl21® outperformed retinol and vitamin C in stimulating collagen type 1 production in vitro.

Beyond The Results

How did Geltor, maker of HumaColl21®, develop a bio-identical human collagen in the lab? “HumaColl21® is made up of fermented plant bio-products,” says Iddison. 

These ingredients and their processing have many advantages over other collagen products. For one, by using plant inputs, HumaColl21® is sustainable and eco-friendly. “The processing doesn’t involve growing and harvesting plants, which ends up saving land and water,” says Leslie.

Additionally, by producing HumaColl21® in a lab, there’s an opportunity for more stringent quality control. “Plants can be inconsistent, so when you use them to produce a synthetic ingredient, you can control the process,” says Iddison. “That means it is also free of any known allergens, which is not always the case when working with products that are not bio-designed.”

HumaColl21® brings other benefits to the table, as well: It is free of phthalates, parabens, tricoslan, urea and BHT/BHA. It is GMO-certified, cruelty-free certified and has never been tested on animals. 

Orora is committed to this simple formulation, but also adds ingredients to its serum and moisturizer like hyaluronic acid for plumping and niacinamide to improve skin texture. “HumaColl21® is the hero ingredient, but it’s the whole recipe that really makes the Orora line stand out,” explains Iddison. “The ingredients have a synergistic effect that deliver the high-performance level.” 

The opportunity to safely and responsibly replicate natural ingredients in the lab for a bio-identical human collagen is a concept whose time has come.  HumaColl21® is the result of those efforts, and in Orora, consumers now have a collagen skincare line that truly delivers.

About Orora

Orora Skin Science is a holistic beauty brand dedicated to bringing the world's most unique and effective ingredients to skin care. Orora partners with cutting-edge science to make the latest innovations accessible for those seeking the next frontier of beauty.

Orora launched in 2021 with a product line formulated with the first vegan, bioidentical human collagen ingredient in a skincare product line in North America.