Sure, collagen is kind of a beauty buzzword when it comes to anti-aging skin and wellness trends. But collagen peptides are a new form of the structural protein that adds elasticity and strength to our skin—and one you won’t find in a cream. Here, everything you need to know about the beauty supplement and how to incorporate it into your routine.

First, what are collagen peptides? Collagen peptides are a supplement that you can add to your diet to help repair your skin from the inside out. Since collagen (which keeps skin looking young and wrinkle-free) starts to break down after the ripe old age of 21—yikes—collagen peptides can help reverse this and all it takes is popping a pill.

OK, but do they really work? Supposedly, collagen peptides are more effective than straight topical collagen since they have a lower molecular weight and therefore a faster absorption rate into your bloodstream. Basically, this means that within a few hours of taking the supplement, it gets to work traveling throughout your body to repair and rebuild skin cells.

What about the benefits? Beyond beauty (aka the fact that it fights fine lines and wrinkles and keeps your skin hydrated and plump), collagen peptides can also reduce joint pain, stiffness and inflammation, according to studies like this one published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. There’s also early research being conducted to explore whether they have a positive effect on overall gut health. Not too shabby.