Is Collagen Helpful in Skincare Products? Should You Eat it Instead ?- Everything you need to know

Collagen has been added to so many products in the past year, from moisturizers to makeup, to foods and supplements.

But can it actually improve your skin?

Does would supplements do anything for your joints?

Collagen in skincare – hype or health?

It is said to be one of the best anti-aging ingredients you can eat or put on your skin but are there any real benefits?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about collagen, today!

What is Collagen

Collagen is a fiber-like protein in your body.

In fact, it is the most abundant produced by your body and a major building block for bones, skin, muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments,

It is also found in various other parts of your body from your eyes and blood vessels, to even your teeth!

There are 4 types of collagen, with type I being the most common, accounting for 90% of all your body’s collagen. Type II cushions the joints, type III supports muscles and vessels, and type IV is found in a layer of your skin for filtration.

Is Collagen Necessary?


Oh my goodness yes.

Not only is it used for a variety of functions and supportive roles in the body, but its production also reduces with age.

As you grow older, your body produces less and weaker collagen. One of the signs of this can be seen in the skin, as it becomes less firm and plump.

Collagen in Skincare

You would think collagen straight on the skin is gonna be a home run right?

Well actually.

Topically applied collagen cannot easily penetrate the skin. As we say, the collagen in the skin is produced on a deeper layer.

So collagen in skincare is not reaching this deep to supply collagen for your body to use.

However, it is a humectant, meaning it has moisturizing properties, which can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

This will leave the skin feeling softer and looking smoother.

What is a Better Skincare Option to Improve Collagen?

Topical treatments like retinol and tretinoin are the only ones proven to increase collagen production and protect the collagen in your skin.

Even a topical vitamin C treatment, a powerful antioxidant, can reverse collagen damage in your skin.

Collagen supplements come in pills, powders, liquids, and gummies – Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich

Collagen in Supplements

While there are some studies that show that collagen supplements help support the body, we don’t how how well they are adsorbed, especially when broken down by stomach acid.

There are natural forms of collagen you can consume found in bone broth, gelatin, pork skin, and chicken skin.

Skin, however, is tough to break down and may not be fully absorbed by the body. 

Look for high-quality gelatin or alternatively, collagen peptides. These are smaller and simpler and may lead to better absorption by the body.

These can be added to soups, smoothies, baked goods, desserts, and much more.

Nutrients that Increase Collagen

There are important nutrients you can consume that will help your body produce collagen.

To make collagen your body needs copper, vitamin C, proline, and glycine.

Citrus, bell peppers, and strawberries are high in vitamin C, proline is found in egg whites, dairy, cabbage, asparagus, and mushrooms, glycine is found in gelatine, and copper can be found in cocoa, cashews, and lentils.

Proteins found in meats, seafood, dairy, and legumes are also vital for its formation.

Risks of Collagen Consumption

As of now, there are limited studies on the effects of long-term use of collagen supplements and effects on the skin.

Some people are left with a bad taste, heartburn, or stomach ache if consumed too directly and in large quantities.

Even if the jury is still out on whether or not supplements work, it certainly can’t help as long as you follow proper dosages.

The Takeaway

Collagen is an important protein in the body, supporting the skin, bones, muscles, joints, and more.

As we age, its production decreases and it becomes weaker.

To support it, eat food vital in the production of collagen, with vitamin c and various proteins.

Collagen in skincare is a no-go. While it can be moisturizing and acts as a humectant, these products do not penetrate the skin deep enough to help in the formation of new collagen.

Retinols or vitamin C topical treatments may to more for the collagen in your skin.

Supplements may work, but there are also natural forms of collagen one can eat to support its products in the skin.

Remember to give your body the basic tools it needs to grow stronger and healthier, one day at a time!

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