Collagen for Skincare: How Can Collagen Help Me?

If you’re searching for the best ways to prevent premature wrinkles and sagging skin, collagen could be the answer.

Because this protein is naturally found in the tissues which maintain your skin’s structure, many industries have studied its properties – and whether it could make your body’s “canvas” beautiful and healthy for years to come. Are you interested in learning how your skin could benefit from collagen? This guide will help you find out!

Key Facts

  • Collagen, in conjunction with other components like elastin and hyaluronic acid, functions as a “mesh” which holds skin together and gives it elasticity. Plus, because it’s the protein which gives skin thickness and structure, it prevents wrinkling.
  • Collagen production starts to naturally decline around age 25. It can be further worsened by factors like sun exposure and cigarette smoking.
  • Skincare is a holistic process. It should include an overall healthy lifestyle, but can be supported by collagen supplements if approved by your regular doctor.

What You Need to Know About Collagen and Skincare

Skin is the largest organ in the human body. It protects us from the outside world, allowing us to interact with it safely. As such, collagen (a protein with massive importance for your skin) can be involved in these functions:

Effect on Skin Format Dosage Time to Take Effect
Wrinkle prevention Oral supplements 2.5 to 5 grams 12 weeks
Tightening skin / preventing sagging Oral supplements 2.5 to 5 grams 12 weeks
Reducing sun damage Oral supplements Not established 10 weeks
Hydrating skin Oral supplements; can also be administered percutaneously  1 gram 12 weeks

Ways Collagen Benefits Your Skin

Up to 80% of your skin consists of collagen. In other words, it’s massively important for your skin’s health and beauty over time (1)

However, it can’t do it alone! Thanks to the combined effects of hyaluronic acid and elastin, it’s able to keep skin hydrated and elastic. (2, 3)

The potential skincare benefits of collagen products have been widely discussed. Potential benefits discovered include (4):

  • Wrinkle prevention:  Collagen supplements could shrink existing wrinkles and prevent future wrinkles’ appearance (5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). This may be the result of skin’s increased thickness, hydration, and ability to repair itself.
  • Reducing sagging: By forming the “mesh” which keeps skin firm and elastic, collagen is able to keep skin taut. As such, supplements could have an important role in preventing loose or sagging skin.
  • Reducing sun damage: The influence of ultraviolet rays can hinder your skin’s collagen production. Experiments and research found that applying collagen to skin cells made them start to produce their own new collagen. This could prevent and even repair sun damage (11, 12)
  • Hydrating skin: Collagen, combined with hyaluronic acid, has the ability to retain water molecules in the skin, improving its hydration. Some studies suggest that collagen supplements could enhance that effect (7, 13, 14).

Remember to use collagen supplements responsibly and with your doctor’s approval. In the case of percutaneous collagen treatments (injections), they should only ever be given by qualified professionals.

The collagen in your body is important for maintaining structure in your skin, muscles, joints, bones, and cardiovascular system. (Source: Laminto: LL1vA5sUs6g/ Unsplash.com)

Factors Which Can Block Collagen Production

Though collagen tries its hardest to maintain your skin’s integrity against the odds, it’s susceptible to internal and external factors which lessen the skin’s ability to produce it or damage it directly. These are the most important of those factors:

  • Age: Collagen production gradually begins to decrease around age 25. After age 40, your body may no longer produce enough collagen to stop wrinkles (15).
  • Hormones: With the onset of menopause, the female hormones which maintain collagen production (oestrogen and progesterone) dwindle. This accelerates wrinkling (16)
  • Ultraviolet rays: Your skin’s aging is very influenced by sun exposure. UV rays have the ability to block collagen production, making you prone to wrinkles prematurely (17, 18).
  • Smoking: Cigarettes and tobacco severely affect collagen production, accelerating skin aging. It also reduces skin’s ability to heal cuts and damage (19, 20).

Healthy Habits to Keep Your Skin Radiant

There are many different ways to help your body produce more collagen, preventing premature skin damage. These are the most crucial healthy habits to include in your everyday life:

  1. Healthy eating: When you consume vitamins and minerals which are fundamental for collagen production, you’re naturally increasing your body’s reserves of this important protein.
  2. Physical activity: Regular physical activity, on top of its hundreds of other benefits for overall health, can increase blood flow to your skin. This improves skin’s oxygenation and nutrition.
  3. Sunscreen: Using sunscreen on a daily basis is a step in the right direction to prevent premature aging and skin cancer (melanoma) (21). This practice should begin in childhood, since solar damage accumulates in your skin cells over time.
  4. Ask your doctor: Skincare can become a complicated task, especially if you find some habits – like smoking or unhealthy eating – hard to avoid. We know that you can’t change everything overnight, but your doctor could help you develop the necessary techniques to regain control over your own health.
Collagen represents 25% of the total proteins in humans. As such, it’s your body’s most abundant protein. (Source: Sosiukin: 121623138/ 123rf.com)

Choose the Best Collagen Skincare Products

Collagen skincare products can come in many forms and formats. It’s quite important that you learn to choose between them and know how to recognise a product which doesn’t suit your needs.

Format

To begin understanding collagen supplements, you should first know which format suits you best:

Format Benefits Downsides
Pills and capsules Easy to measure dosage 
More affordable
Able to combine with other ingredients
May be difficult to swallow
Many have low concentrations of collagen
Drinkable liquid Higher collagen doses
Easy to take
Varied flavours
More expensive
May contain sugar
Powder Can be mixed with juice and beverages
Easy to take
May taste unpleasant
More difficult to measure dosage
Cream More immediate hydrating effects
Able to combine with other ingredients good for your skin
Collagen in topical creams doesn’t increase your skin cells’ collagen levels 
Benefits come primarily from the other ingredients
May be expensive

Types of Collagen

The collagen in supplements is derived from three main animal sources: marine life, pigs, and cows. These three forms have their own upsides and downsides (22, 23, 24):

Source:

  • Marine: Considered the best type of collagen for its high absorption and lower chance of allergic reactions (unless you’re allergic to fish or shellfish).
  • Bovine (from cows) o porcine (from pigs): Is absorbed less than marine collagen, but may be more affordable or better suited for people with fish/shellfish allergies.

Forms:

  • Pure collagen: Collagen’s most “natural” form. This form is trickier to absorb due to the large size of the molecules. It’s the collagen you’ll find in edible gelatine.
  • Hydrolysed collagen: In this form, collagen is divided into smaller molecules your body can absorb more easily.
  • Liposomal collagen: This form combines hydrolysed collagen with a barrier known as a “liposome”. Liposomes protect the collagen and increase the body’s absorption of it.
You’ll find collagen in many forms: pure, hydrolysed, liposomal, in creams, etc. (Source: Vlasova: 137598197/ 123rf.com)

Collagen and Dietary Restrictions

Collagen may be incompatible with certain diets or lifestyles, whether due to allergies, food sensitivities, or cultural and moral objections.

Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

Collagen is incompatible with vegan and vegetarian diets, since it’s manufactured from the bones, cartilage, and skin of fish or land animals.

However, if your diet is rich in nutrients and you take supplements with vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium, you can give your body the tools it needs to produce its own collagen (25).

Allergies and Food Sensitivities

If you’re allergic to any fish or shellfish, look for collagen supplements from porcine or bovine sources.

As far as other allergies and food sensitivities like lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, or nut allergies, your supplements should always indicate if those ingredients are present.

Remember to buy products from trustworthy sources and ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Our Conclusions

Collagen could be a step in the right direction to improve your skincare strategies. It helps skin stay healthy and youthful in a completely natural way.

Collagen supplements, however, will not be able to assist you if you don’t care for yourself and lead a healthy lifestyle. As such, try to combine a balanced lifestyle with your favourite supplements – and use sunscreen!

Have you enjoyed finding out about collagen’s many benefits? We have, too! Let your friends and family in on it by sharing this article. Plus, feel free to leave us a comment.

References (25)

1. Ricard-Blum S. The Collagen Family. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology. 2010;3(1).
Source

2. Oxlund H, Andreassen TT. The roles of hyaluronic acid, collagen and elastin in the mechanical properties of connective tissues. Journal of Anatomy. 1980.
Source

3. Papakonstantinou E, Roth M, Karakiulakis G. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermato-Endocrinology. 2012;4(3):253–8.
Source

4. Choi FD, Juhasz M, Mesinkovsk N. Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2019.
Source

5. Laing S, Bielfeldt S, Ehrenberg C, Wilhelm K-P. A Dermonutrient Containing Special Collagen Peptides Improves Skin Structure and Function: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Triple-Blind Trial Using Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy on the Cosmetic Effects and Tolerance of a Drinkable Collagen Supplement. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2020;23(2):147–52.
Source

6. Sibilla S, Borumand M. Daily consumption of the collagen supplement Pure Gold Collagen® reduces visible signs of aging. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2014;:1747.
Source

7. Sibilla S, Borumand M. Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkles. Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals. 2015;4(1):47.
Source

8. Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(1):47-55.
Source

9. Sibilla S, Borumand M. Daily consumption of the collagen supplement Pure Gold Collagen® reduces visible signs of aging. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2014;:1747.
Source

10. Ganceviciene R, Liakou AI, Theodoridis A, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC. Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermato-Endocrinology. 2012;4(3):308–19.
Source

11. Jeong-Kee K y cols Beneficial Effect of Collagen Peptide Supplement on Anti-aging Against Photodamage. Korean Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2009.
Source

12. Kang M, Yumnam S, Kim S. Oral Intake of Collagen Peptide Attenuates Ultraviolet B Irradiation-Induced Skin Dehydration In Vivo by Regulating Hyaluronic Acid Synthesis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2018;19(11):3551.
Source

13. Aust MC, Fernandes D, Kolokythas P, Kaplan HM, Vogt PM. Percutaneous Collagen Induction Therapy: An Alternative Treatment for Scars, Wrinkles, and Skin Laxity. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2008;121(4):1421–9.
Source

14. Kim DU, Chung HC, Choi J, Sakai Y, Lee BY. Oral Intake of Low-Molecular-Weight Collagen Peptide Improves Hydration, Elasticity, and Wrinkling in Human Skin: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2018 Jun 26;10(7):826
Source

15. Varani J, Dame MK, Rittie L, Fligiel SE, Kang S, Fisher GJ, et al. Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin. The American Journal of Pathology. 2006;168(6):1861–8.
Source

16. Nelson V., Marianela F. Efectos poco publicados de los estrógenos [Internet]. Revista de Obstetricia y Ginecología Venezuela. 2004.
Source

17. Hee-Bong P. y Cols. Effects of Collagen Tripeptide Supplement on Photoaging and Epidermal Skin Barrier in UVB-exposed Hairless Mice [Internet]. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science.
Source

18. Jariashvili K, Madhan B, Brodsky B, Kuchava A, Namicheishvili L, Metreveli N. Uv damage of collagen: Insights from model collagen peptides. Biopolymers. 2011;97(3):189–98.
Source

19. Jorgensen L. Kallehave F., Christensen E., Siana E., Gottrup F. Less Collagen Production in Smokers [Internet]. National Library of Medicine. 1998.
Source

20. Knuutinen A, Kokkonen N, Risteli J, Vähäkangas K, Kallioinen M, Salo T, Sorsa T, Oikarinen A. Smoking affects collagen synthesis and extracellular matrix turnover in human skin. Br J Dermatol. 2002 Apr;146(4):588-94.
Source

21. Bora NS, Mazumder B, Mandal S, Patowary P, Goyary D, Chattopadhyay P, et al. Amelioration of UV radiation-induced photoaging by a combinational sunscreen formulation via aversion of oxidative collagen degradation and promotion of TGF-β-Smad-mediated collagen production. European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2019;127:261–75.
Source

22. Silvipriya K, Kumar K, Bhat A, Kumar B, John A, Lakshmanan P. Collagen: Animal Sources and Biomedical Application. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science. 2015;123–7.
Source

23. Proksch E., Schunck M., Zague V., Segger D., Degwert J.,Oesser S. Oral Intake of Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides Reduces Skin Wrinkles and Increases Dermal Matrix Synthesis. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. 2014.
Source

24. Jérome A., Elian L., Toshiaki S., Janne P. The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo‐controlled clinical trials. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2015.
Source

25. Beatriz B. Funciones de la vitamina C en el metabolismo del colágeno. Instituto de Nutrición e Higiene de los Alimentos. 2000. p. 46-54
Source

Scientific Article
Ricard-Blum S. The Collagen Family. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology. 2010;3(1).
Go to source
In Vitro Study
Oxlund H, Andreassen TT. The roles of hyaluronic acid, collagen and elastin in the mechanical properties of connective tissues. Journal of Anatomy. 1980.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Papakonstantinou E, Roth M, Karakiulakis G. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermato-Endocrinology. 2012;4(3):253–8.
Go to source
Systematic Review
Choi FD, Juhasz M, Mesinkovsk N. Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2019.
Go to source
Human Study
Laing S, Bielfeldt S, Ehrenberg C, Wilhelm K-P. A Dermonutrient Containing Special Collagen Peptides Improves Skin Structure and Function: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Triple-Blind Trial Using Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy on the Cosmetic Effects and Tolerance of a Drinkable Collagen Supplement. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2020;23(2):147–52.
Go to source
Human Study
Sibilla S, Borumand M. Daily consumption of the collagen supplement Pure Gold Collagen® reduces visible signs of aging. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2014;:1747.
Go to source
Human Study
Sibilla S, Borumand M. Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkles. Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals. 2015;4(1):47.
Go to source
Human Study
Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(1):47-55.
Go to source
Human Study
Sibilla S, Borumand M. Daily consumption of the collagen supplement Pure Gold Collagen® reduces visible signs of aging. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2014;:1747.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Ganceviciene R, Liakou AI, Theodoridis A, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC. Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermato-Endocrinology. 2012;4(3):308–19.
Go to source
Study on Rats
Jeong-Kee K y cols Beneficial Effect of Collagen Peptide Supplement on Anti-aging Against Photodamage. Korean Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2009.
Go to source
Study on Rats
Kang M, Yumnam S, Kim S. Oral Intake of Collagen Peptide Attenuates Ultraviolet B Irradiation-Induced Skin Dehydration In Vivo by Regulating Hyaluronic Acid Synthesis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2018;19(11):3551.
Go to source
Human Study
Aust MC, Fernandes D, Kolokythas P, Kaplan HM, Vogt PM. Percutaneous Collagen Induction Therapy: An Alternative Treatment for Scars, Wrinkles, and Skin Laxity. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2008;121(4):1421–9.
Go to source
Human Study
Kim DU, Chung HC, Choi J, Sakai Y, Lee BY. Oral Intake of Low-Molecular-Weight Collagen Peptide Improves Hydration, Elasticity, and Wrinkling in Human Skin: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2018 Jun 26;10(7):826
Go to source
Scientific Article
Varani J, Dame MK, Rittie L, Fligiel SE, Kang S, Fisher GJ, et al. Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin. The American Journal of Pathology. 2006;168(6):1861–8.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Nelson V., Marianela F. Efectos poco publicados de los estrógenos [Internet]. Revista de Obstetricia y Ginecología Venezuela. 2004.
Go to source
Study on Rats
Hee-Bong P. y Cols. Effects of Collagen Tripeptide Supplement on Photoaging and Epidermal Skin Barrier in UVB-exposed Hairless Mice [Internet]. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science.
Go to source
In Vitro Study
Jariashvili K, Madhan B, Brodsky B, Kuchava A, Namicheishvili L, Metreveli N. Uv damage of collagen: Insights from model collagen peptides. Biopolymers. 2011;97(3):189–98.
Go to source
Human Study
Jorgensen L. Kallehave F., Christensen E., Siana E., Gottrup F. Less Collagen Production in Smokers [Internet]. National Library of Medicine. 1998.
Go to source
Human Study
Knuutinen A, Kokkonen N, Risteli J, Vähäkangas K, Kallioinen M, Salo T, Sorsa T, Oikarinen A. Smoking affects collagen synthesis and extracellular matrix turnover in human skin. Br J Dermatol. 2002 Apr;146(4):588-94.
Go to source
Study on Rats
Bora NS, Mazumder B, Mandal S, Patowary P, Goyary D, Chattopadhyay P, et al. Amelioration of UV radiation-induced photoaging by a combinational sunscreen formulation via aversion of oxidative collagen degradation and promotion of TGF-β-Smad-mediated collagen production. European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2019;127:261–75.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Silvipriya K, Kumar K, Bhat A, Kumar B, John A, Lakshmanan P. Collagen: Animal Sources and Biomedical Application. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science. 2015;123–7.
Go to source
Human Clinical Trial
Proksch E., Schunck M., Zague V., Segger D., Degwert J.,Oesser S. Oral Intake of Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides Reduces Skin Wrinkles and Increases Dermal Matrix Synthesis. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. 2014.
Go to source
Human Clinical Trial
Jérome A., Elian L., Toshiaki S., Janne P. The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo‐controlled clinical trials. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2015.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Beatriz B. Funciones de la vitamina C en el metabolismo del colágeno. Instituto de Nutrición e Higiene de los Alimentos. 2000. p. 46-54
Go to source
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