You can see someone stirring it in their coffee. Or drink a brownish liquid at noon (and no, it’s not coffee). Or by taking capsules with other vitamins in the morning. It’s collagen, and it’s one of the most active ingredients in skin care.
“Collagen is an abundant protein naturally found in the body and can be found in bones, muscles, organs, and skin,” says Marisa Garshick, MD, a certified dermatologist in New York City and clinical assistant professor of dermatology. at the NewYork-Presbyterian and at Weill Cornell Medical Center.
When it comes to your skin, collagen is what makes it soft, smooth, and elastic. The more collagen on your face, the less wrinkles you have. There are at least 28 different types of collagen, and type 1 and type 3 collagen is found in the skin, as discussed in an April 2020 article in Marine Drugs.
“Your skin begins to lose collagen in your twenties,” says Dr. Garshick. The visible effects of this loss may appear when fine lines start to appear later in your 30s, but it does happen. Exposure to UV rays from the sun and free radical damage, which occurs as a result of environmental exposures such as air pollution, are two main factors that weaken collagen and cause collagen to break down.
There are several ways to promote the growth of collagen in your skin, including protecting your skin from environmental exposures such as UV rays and air pollution, and eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in antioxidants, notes one article. published in May 2018 in Cell Transplant.
An increased awareness of the importance of collagen for health has led to an increase in the popularity of topical supplements, powders, and creams. “When collagen supplements and powders came out, there was a lot of healthy skepticism,” said Whitney Bowe, MD, a famous board certified dermatologist in New York City. “The collagen molecule itself is large,” he explains, which can make it difficult for collagen to access the skin, regardless of how it is applied.
Is Ingestible Collagen Effective?
In order for collagen to have a chance of entering the skin, where it could have a measurable effect, it must be absorbed from the intestine into the bloodstream. So does it really smooth out wrinkles?
The proof is that the process isn’t so streamlined that the collagen you eat now shows up on your skin later, says Dr Bowe, who is passionate about educating his patients about collagen in person, as well as on social media. like your TIC Tac. (@drwhitneybowe).
After consuming collagen, the molecule breaks down into dipeptides and tripeptides, which are made up of amino acids. Bowe says these peptides are then absorbed through the gut and into the bloodstream, where they travel through blood vessels in the skin. “Once these little pieces of collagen reach the skin, they act as signals to collagen-producing cells called fibroblasts that tell the skin that there has been a wound that needs to be repaired,” Bowe explains, which corresponds to the findings of the researchers in an article published in Nutrients of March 2020.
Think about when the skin is scratched. The wound has now damaged collagen, which triggers increased collagen production during the healing process. Except in this case of taking collagen powder, it didn’t cause any injury to the skin, but the presence of these tiny pieces of collagen has triggered a switch in your body’s healing mechanisms, Bowe explains.
Capturing ? Collagen is everywhere in your body. So you can’t tell a collagen supplement where you want the collagen to do the work. Some can target joints, for example. “Your body makes this decision for you,” Bowe says.
Plus, the data is still emerging, and there are still questions about how much oral collagen is absorbed into the bloodstream, Garshick says. Some evidence is promising, including a study that looked at the effect of taking an oral hydrolyzed collagen supplement for 90 days and found that it resulted in improvements in hydration, elasticity, and body strength. Skin wrinkles better than a placebo, a review and a meta-analysis concluded published in March 2021 in the International Journal of Dermatology. (Hydrolyzed collagen is basically already broken down collagen, which can make it more easily absorbed.)
These supplements do not carry serious health risks for most people, but check with your doctor if you are taking any medications to be sure. Also, keep in mind that these products can be expensive, says Garshick. They may therefore not be worthwhile given the lack of research to back them up.
Best: Collagen Supplements
As mentioned, there is still some skepticism about collagen supplements, but among the external ways to stimulate collagen, they may be the most effective.
Collagen capsules can be formulated as collagen in powder form, although some brands also include other ingredients that support the skin, such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. The powder requires you to enjoy drinking it. in a liquid or mixed with a shake.
Collagen can also be made into a gum, which then adds sugar, along with other ingredients to bring it together as a gum. If you don’t like gummies, capsules are an alternative.
However, scan the label and look at the dosage of collagen peptides in the recommended serving of capsules and compare it to what you would get in the powder. A dose of 2.5 to 10 grams (g) of collagen peptides per day has been used in recent quality clinical studies to observe an increase in the production of collagen leading to better hydration and elasticity of the skin and a improvement in skin aging, according to a review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology in January 2019.
Collagen Powder vs. Collagen Capsules
Collagen can be taken in both powder and capsule form, and these include collagen peptides, which are broken down into collagen. One of the main differences between the two is the dose per serving.
For example, one scoop of a popular powdered brand called Vital Proteins contains 20g of collagen peptides, while the brand’s own collagen capsule (which has powdered collagen peptide in the capsule) contains only 3. , 3 g of collagen peptides per dose, or six capsules. . (These require a commitment to swallow multiple pills regularly – they recommend taking six capsules twice a day for 6.6g of collagen peptides per day.)
Whenever collagen powder fits your budget, look for a bovine or marine collagen supplement, containing type 1 and 3 collagen necessary for healthy skin, from a reputable brand. (Trusted supplement brands will use third-party independent lab tests to validate that their products contain what they say they contain and are free of contaminants.) Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides ($ 25, VitalProteins.com), Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolyzate ($ 25.99, GreatLakesGelatin.com) and Live Conscious Collagen Peptides ($ 28.99, WeLiveConscious.com) are three suitable options. It is also helpful if the formula (or your diet) contains vitamin C, which is important in the production of collagen.
If you’re more interested in capsules, Hum ($ 40, Hum.com) sells collagen capsules that contain a blend of collagen peptides, along with other skin-friendly ingredients like hyaluronic acid. One serving of three capsules provides 600 milligrams (mg) of collagen peptides (equivalent to 0.6 g). Olly Glowing Skin Gummies ($ 13.99, Olly.com) contain 120 mg of collagen peptides per serving of two gummies (equivalent to 0.12 g). Therefore, you will need to take several capsules to get closer to the same amount of powder.
Some collagen capsules are also for joint health and contain type 2 collagen, so make sure yours is type 1 or 3 (or both), or say it specifically targets joint health. skin. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Capsules is a brand that provides what you need.
So-So: Collagen Foods
“While a healthy diet complete with protein sources of chicken, bone broth, fish and beef probably contains peptides that can promote skin health and likely contains other vitamins, minerals and nutrients. that promote healthy skin, they often don’t. studies that show proven effects, ”says Bowe.
However, consuming protein can provide the building blocks for your body to produce the collagen it needs, Bowe explains. And that includes things like incorporating lean protein, eggs, and fish into your diet. Dietary protein, as a study published in March 2020 in Nutrients notes, is crucial for skin structure and repair.
Healthy eating is very important for the overall health of the skin, which means eating fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and those lean proteins, Bowe says. It has been found that consuming this type of whole foods, a plant-based diet (which may include animal and fish protein, but which focuses on foods rich in antioxidants such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes) slows skin aging and promotes the appearance of younger-looking skin, found a study published in May 2020 in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.
Lacks Evidence: Topical Collagen
Topical collagen as an ingredient added to creams or serums cannot provide the best results. Because collagen is a large molecule, it is unlikely to be effectively absorbed to stimulate collagen production, Garshick says. A topical collagen cream may provide a temporary plumping effect on the skin, but it’s not the best use of your skin care budget.
“Retinoids, vitamin C, or exfoliating acids like glycolic have been shown to stimulate collagen production in the skin and are accepted ways to improve collagen production,” she says. Retinoids and retinol (a type of retinoid found in over-the-counter topicals) notably help stimulate collagen production by targeting type 1 and 3 collagen genes, according to a study published in March 2016 in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. People who used retinol for 12 weeks saw their collagen levels improve and therefore wrinkles decreased.
A Final Word on Collagen Sources
If you want to increase the production of collagen in your body, hydrolyzed collagen supplements may be your best option despite the lack of extensive research on their effectiveness and side effects. That said, experts are wary of their promises. “We are in yellow light territory. We do not yet have enough data to recommend oral collagen supplements at all levels. It’s hard to tell everyone to take it without knowing exactly how it will affect your skin, ”says Garshick. But so far, the initial research looks promising. Healthy eating is important for overall health, so it’s worth following. Either way, topicals may be less valuable, meanwhile.
Before splurging on a collagen supplement, consult with a certified dermatologist who can help you develop a holistic approach that includes eating and nutritional habits that help protect your skin from environmental damage.