5 scientifically proven benefits of taking collagen for the skin
Perfect and healthy-looking skin is a goal that many wish for but very few attain. Such an ideal skin but not only appear to look good on the outside but must be a reflection of how healthy the skin is on the inside. The outer layers should be free from blemish and radiant, the middle layers resilient, and the inner layers must provide good support, structure, and nutrition. Any deficiency in any of these results in unhealthy, sub-optimal appearance and wellness.
The skin is known to be the largest organ of the body and it plays an important role in defending the body against unwanted external substances. It acts as a barrier against diseases, environmental challenges, and infection. In addition to this, it also helps to regulate the body’s temperature.
The skin is made up of 2 main layers; the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the exterior layer that is made up of layered keratinocytes and intercellular substances whereas the epidermis is made up of mainly collagen and elastin which also supports the epidermis. When the collagen and elastin are young and intact, the skin is elastic and wrinkle-free. As the collagen in the skin degenerates, the epidermis becomes thin and disorganised, resulting in wrinkles and sagging skin. Because of this, most cosmetic treatments or procedures for wrinkles and folds are aimed at restoring collagen and other support structures that may have been damaged.
Why Collagen is Important
Collagen is a fibrous protein that is found throughout the body. It is tough and provides structure to connective tissues such as skin, arteries, tendons, bones, teeth, and cartilage. Collagen protein comprises almost half of all the protein in the body. Collagen also plays an important role in the veins, heart valves, cornea, and the lens of the eye.
Benefits of taking collagen for the skin
There are significant benefits of taking collagen for the skin to stay healthy and wrinkle-free. There are scientific studies that support the benefits of taking collagen for the skin. Below are some of the studies that have been carried out to explore the effect of taking collagen for the skin.
- A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of taking collagen supplements on skin aging and skin health. The study was carried out on 72 healthy women aged 35 years or older with healthy-looking skin. The study group was split into two cohorts (36 each) with one cohort receiving the collagen supplement and the other group receiving a placebo for twelve weeks. The study reported that taking collagen for the skin significantly improved skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density. The differences between the two cohorts were statistically significant for all test parameters. This study reported no adverse effects on collagen supplementation. The study also reported that one benefit of taking collagen for the skin orally is that its effects reached the deeper layers of the skin and sustainably improved skin physiology and appearance. Reference: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/10/2494/htm
- Effects of collagen tripeptide supplement on skin properties: A prospective, randomized, controlled study. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of collagen peptide supplement on skin properties or in simple terms the effect of taking collagen for the skin. The study involved 32 healthy participants that were split into four groups to receive either no supplement (Group A), CP 3 g (Group B), CP 3 g, and vitamin C 500 mg (Group C), or vitamin C 500 mg (Group D) daily for 12 weeks. The report concluded that taking daily collagen peptide supplementation may improve skin hydration and elasticity but concomitant intake of low-dose vitamin C did not enhance the effect of collagen peptides on skin properties. Reference: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/14764172.2013.854119
- Four-weeks daily intake of oral collagen hydrolysate results in improved skin elasticity, especially in sun-exposed areas: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of taking collagen for the skin. The study looked at how ingesting collagen hydrolysate for 4 weeks will affect the skin’s elasticity as well as to compare the effects of collagen hydrolysate ingestion on skin elasticity between sun-exposed and sun-protected areas. A total of 36 participants were enrolled in the study and at the end of the 4-week study, it was concluded that there was significant improvement of skin elasticity in sun-exposed areas after 4 weeks of taking marine collagen hydrolysate. The improvement of elasticity remained 4 weeks after discontinuation of study agents. Reference: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09546634.2020.1725412
- Effect of an Oral Nutrition Supplement Containing Collagen Peptides on Stratum Corneum Hydration and Skin Elasticity in Hospitalized Older Adults: A Multicenter Open-label Randomized Controlled Study. This study was carried out to investigate the effect of an oral nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on stratum corneum hydration and skin elasticity. During the study, 39 inpatients 65 years or older were given collagen peptides (10.0g) for 8 weeks. The study concluded that taking collagen for the skin can reduce the vulnerability of older adult skin, helping to prevent problems such as skin tears. Reference: https://journals.lww.com/aswcjournal/Fulltext/2020/04000/Effect_of_an_Oral_Nutrition_Supplement_Containing.4.aspx
- Clinical Effects of Ingesting Collagen Hydrolysate on Facial Skin Properties―A Randomized, Placebo—controlled, Double—blind Trial. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of daily ingestion of a specific collagen hydrolysate, which contains prolylhydroxyproline（Pro-Hyp）and hydroxyprolylglycine（Hyp-Gly）, on facial skin properties. 56 women aged between 30-55 years were involved in the study for 8 weeks. They received 2.5 g of collagen hydrolysate or 5g of placebo once daily for the duration of the study. After the 8-week study period of taking collagen for the skin, levels of skin hydration, elasticity, and roughness had improved significantly. The candidates that received the placebo experienced no significant improvement. The study concluded that daily ingestion of 2.5g of collagen hydrolysate improves facial skin hydration, elasticity, and roughness. Reference: https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Clinical-Effects-of-Ingesting-Collagen-Hydrolysate-Sugihara/fb5cc1e4264f3daddb3540fa29b8d0dd80394bc3?p2df
Which collagen powder is best for skin
There are some factors worth considering before deciding on which collagen supplement or collagen capsules you want to take to support healthy skin. While it is important to have whole foods in your diet, it may not always be the easiest route of filling any collagen deficiencies you may have. Some points to consider when choosing a collagen supplement include;
- Opt for hydrolised collagen or collagen peptides. This simply means that the collagen molecules have been broken down to help the body absorb it easily.
Click here to learn more about What is Hydrolysed Collagen or Collagen Peptide?
- Choose Collagen products that offer different types of collagen. There are different types of collagen found in the body. These include; Type 1,2 and 3 collagen. A collagen supplement that offers the different types provides you with better value
- Check the dose of collagen per serving.
- Source of collagen. Collagen products can be obtained from different sources. The more common sources include fish collagen, chicken collagen, and bovine collagen.
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There is significant evidence that supports the benefits of taking collagen for the skin. It is known to improve skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, appearance, and also reduce wrinkling. From the studies reviewed, these results were obtained when collagen supplements were used for at least 8 weeks on doses of about 2.5g to 10g of collagen. Good collagen support can help your skin look young and reduce wrinkling.
Axe, J., n.d. The Collagen Diet.
Beer, K., 2006. Palm Beach Perfect Skin. New York: MD Publish.com.
Blake, S., 2011. Vitamins & Minerals Demystified. New York: McGraw Hill Professional.
Preedy, V., 2012. Handbook Of Diet, Nutrition, And The Skin. [Wageningen]: Wageningen Academic Publishers.
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