Can collagen supplements really make you look younger?

Do Collagen Supplements Really Reduce Wrinkles and Stop Your Skin Aging?

Posted by Sandra Scott on

Your skin is made up of collagen proteins, so it makes sense that collagen supplements might improve it.

Collagen firms and strengthens your skin, enhances elasticity, encourages cell renewal and even increases moisture levels.

Basically the more collagen you have, the firmer and smoother your skin will look.

And the things that happen to our skin as we age – wrinkles, sagging skin, an uneven skin tone and a dull complexion - are largely the result of a breakdown in collagen.

So can collagen supplements restore skin collagen levels and stop this breakdown?

Studies show that they can.

Read on to find out more…

 

Can collagen supplements really make you look younger?

 

Collagen is one of the main proteins in the body.

It provides structural support to skin, connective tissue, bones, and cartilage. Playing an important role in tissue repair, immune response and cellular regeneration.

And collagen is fundamental to smooth, healthy-looking skin.

Now research shows proven results of supplemental collagen combatting the signs of aging -

  • smoothing fine lines and wrinkles
  • improving elasticity
  • increasing hydration and
  • firming skin. 

So collagen supplements leave your skin looking smoother, and softer too.

 

What the science says about collagen supplements 

Several scientific studies have shown the benefits of collagen supplements in improving signs of skin aging.

One review of 11 different studies found that taking 3–10 grams of collagen per day for an average of 69 days led to a notable improvement in skin elasticity and hydration, as well as an increase in skin firmness.

Another 2018 study found the same thing. Treatment with just 1 gram of collagen peptides for 12 weeks significantly reduced wrinkles, and improved hydration and elasticity of the skin compared to a placebo group. 

And in 2021 a meta-analysis of 19 separate studies all showed favorable results of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation compared with placebo in terms of skin hydration, elasticity, and wrinkles.

They concluded that, based on results, taking hydrolyzed collagen supplements for 90 days is effective in reducing skin aging, as it reduces wrinkles and improves skin elasticity and hydration.

 

Here’s how it works…

How do collagen supplements work to improve your skin? 

Collagen supplements stimulate your body to produce collagen on its own. At the same time they promote the production of other proteins, like elastin and fibrillin, that help the structure of your skin.

Most collagen supplements are hydrolized, which means the collagen has been broken down and is more easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

Collagen supplements come primarily in powder form and contain the amino acids glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and alanine, which help promote collagen synthesis in our body.

You can also use specific skincare to promote collagen production – and we wrote about it here:

 

Can you increase collagen through your diet?

There’s some controversy over whether eating collagen-rich foods can directly benefit your skin. 

Collagen gets broken down into amino acids in the stomach. However, the collagen in supplements has already been broken down, or hydrolyzed, so it’s thought to be absorbed more efficiently than collagen from foods.

Absorption from collagen-rich food may not be as efficient as from supplements but many of the foods that support collagen production are also good for your health so worth including in a healthy eating plan.

Foods like:

  • Bone Broth
  • Red meat
  • Fish
  • Nuts (especially walnuts)
  • Egg Whites
  • Berries
  • Leafy Green Vegetables – Spinach, Kale, Broccoli

It’s also worth noting that effective collagen production also requires:

Vitamin C – from citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, bell peppers, and tomatoes.

Zinc – found in shellfish, legumes, meats, nuts, seeds and wholegrains.

 Can collagen supplements really reduce wrinkles and stop skin aging?

 

FAQs 

Why is collagen so important for your skin? 

Collagen is the protein responsible for giving your skin structure - It’s essentially the building block of your skin.

It does this in several ways...

  • Collagen firms skin- In the dermis, the middle layer of skin’s structure, collagen helps form a fibrous network of cells called fibroblasts, giving support and firming your skin.

  • Improves elasticity- Collagen works alongside another key protein in the skin, elastin. Elastin gives your skin flexibility so that it bounces back after facial movements and remains plump.

  • Boosts hydration - Collagen encourages the production of Hyaluronic Acid, which increases the moisture in your skin.

  • Regenerates skin cells - Collagen helps the skin to naturally renew, shedding old skin cells in order to allow new healthier ones to grow. It’s this that gives your skin a healthy glow. 

 

How long does it take for collagen supplements to work?

Collagen turnover is a slow process. And it will take at least 8 weeks for you to see noticeable results.

Most studies use a minimum of 8 weeks to assess collagen’s effects on skin health.

So you need to be patient, but the results are worth waiting for.

 

Are there any side effects to taking collagen supplements?

Collagen supplements are generally well tolerated, with very few reported side effects.

However, there are some reports that they may cause digestive issues, such as nausea and bloating. But research has not shown these as side effects.

These supplements appear to be safe for most people.

 

The Takeaway 

Collagen is fundamental to smooth, healthy-looking skin.

It firms and strengthens your skin, enhances elasticity, encourages cell renewal and even increases moisture levels.

But collagen production decreases as we get older.

And the signs of skin aging – wrinkles, sagging skin, an uneven skin tone and a dull complexion - are largely the result of a breakdown in collagen.

Taking collagen supplements can stop that breakdown.

Numerous scientific studies have shown the benefits of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation in improving the signs of skin aging: 

  • smoothing fine lines and wrinkles
  • improving elasticity
  • increasing hydration and
  • firming skin. 

So collagen supplements leave your skin looking smoother, and softer too.

  

References:

Choi FD, Sung CT, Juhasz ML, Mesinkovsk NA. Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019 Jan 1;18(1):9-16. PMID: 30681787.

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. doi: 10.3390/nu10070826. PMID: 29949889; PMCID: PMC6073484.

de Miranda RB, Weimer P, Rossi RC. Effects of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on skin aging: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Dermatol. 2021 Dec;60(12):1449-1461. doi: 10.1111/ijd.15518. Epub 2021 Mar 20. PMID: 33742704.

 

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