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August 31, 2021


Lindsay Delk, RDN
Collagen For Vibrant Skin

Fact Checked By Lindsay Delk, RDN
 August 31, 2021

Collagen For Vibrant Skin

Did you know that your skin is an organ?

Actually, it’s the largest organ in your body. It keeps vital nutrients and fluid in the body and is your body’s first defense against disease, infection, and injuries.

Your skin does a lot of hard work, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the first places you start to see signs of aging.

Collagen supplements may offer a proactive way to keep skin looking smoother, firmer, and healthier for longer.

All about Your Skin

Skin is the largest organ in your body, and like other organs, it ages as you age.

Many people strive to have younger-looking skin, but your skin shows your aging process.

Skin aging is influenced by outside factors (sun exposure, pollution, chemicals, smoking, etc.) and internal factors (genetics, hormones, cellular changes, etc.) (1).

As you age, there is a decrease in elasticity and moisture in your skin as well as a noticeable increase in wrinkles (2).

And this gradual loss of skin elasticity leads to sagging skin (3).

The skin is made up of three layers: the epidermis (outermost layer), the dermis (middle layer), and the subcutaneous layer (the deepest layer) (4).

The dermis is where elastin and collagen are made (5).

The processes associated with skin aging also take place in the dermal layer of your skin (6).

So, topical skin products may not help because they don’t reach the dermis.

Consuming different nutrients, such as collagen, to reach the deep dermal layer may be more effective.


All about Collagen

Many people describe collagen as the glue that holds your body together.

Maybe this is because the word collagen actually comes from the Greek word kolla, which means glue (7).

It’s a fibrous, supportive protein that makes up about 1/3 of the protein in your body (8).

Collagen is one of the major building blocks of bone, skin, muscle, tendons, and ligaments (9).

As you age, you break down collagen faster than you replace it (10).

Starting in your mid-20s, you begin to lose about 1% of your collagen each year. And you lose up to 30% during the first five years of menopause.

There are at least 16 types of collagen, but the vast majority of collagen in your body consists of types I, II, and III (11).

  • Type I Collagen

Type I collagen is usually considered the best type for your skin. Levels of type I collagen begin to decrease in your body around 25 years old (12).

  • Type II Collagen

Type II collagen is the main part of your cartilage and may be helpful for your skeletal system and joints (13).

  • Type III Collagen

Type III collagen is usually found in your bone marrow (14).

Collagen and Your Skin

Collagen is a major component of your skin (15).

It has a key role in providing your skin’s integrity and elasticity.

Besides water, collagen makes up about 75% of your skin (16).

It provides volume that keeps your skin looking plump with fewer lines and wrinkles.

Collagen gives the skin strength and elasticity by helping skin cells adhere to one another.

For your skin to appear youthful, the dermis must maintain its structure because it provides structural support to the epidermis (17).

Aging can affect the structural integrity of your dermis because less collagen is produced in the dermis as you age.

The result is visible signs of aging.

Your body produces less collagen as you age, which leads to dry skin and wrinkles.

But, several studies showed that taking collagen peptide supplements may help slow your skin’s aging and reduce wrinkles and dryness.

Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptide Supplements

Collagen has been used for years as an injectable filler to soften wrinkles and plump lips.

But, more recently, collagen has become available as a supplement to ingest either as a powder or pill.

Collagen supplements are sometimes hydrolyzed to make collagen protein chains that are easier for the body to absorb.

Hydrolyzed means that the collagen is already broken down.

Hydrolyzed collagen supplements are an excellent source of easy-to-digest protein (18).

Because it is hydrolyzed, it is also easy to dissolve in hot or cold water or other liquids and soft foods.

Collagen peptides are obtained from animal sources, such as eggshell membrane and beef, pork, chicken. and fish skin or bones.

After being consumed, collagen peptides are digested and distributed throughout the body.

How to Choose a Collagen Supplement

Marine (fish) collagen and bovine (pig) collagen are considered the best types for skin elasticity and hydration (19).

They are also good for healthy eyes, bones, and wound healing.

Marine collagen is high in type I collagen, and bovine collagen is high in type I and II collagen.

You need to take collagen peptides daily for eight to twelve weeks to see results in your skin.

Vitamin C plays an important role in the synthesis of collagen which can help prevent skin aging (20).

Taking your collagen supplement with a source of vitamin C will help the beneficial effects.

Collagen supplements can be contaminated with heavy metals, such as mercury and titanium, so make sure you buy your collagen supplement from a reputable source.

Buy your collagen supplements from companies that get their ingredients from cage-free, free-range, pasture-raised, or antibiotic-free sources (21).

Choose a supplement with no artificial sweeteners or additives.

While collagen is generally safe, you should always talk to your doctor before taking any supplement.

Collagen Supplement Research

Taking a daily collagen peptide supplement has been shown to improve skin hydration and elasticity (22).

One study found that collagen peptide supplements reduced eye wrinkles after four weeks and eight weeks, and the positive effects were still seen four weeks later (23).

Another study found that women who took one gram of a collagen supplement each day for three months had 76% less dryness, 12% fewer visible wrinkles, better blood flow in the skin, and a 6% higher amount of collagen in the skin (24).

A 2019 study found that collagen supplements of up to 10 grams per day improved skin elasticity, hydration, and the amount of collagen in the dermis (25).

If you are looking for a healthy, noninvasive way to slow the aging of your skin, try a hydrolyzed collagen peptide supplement.

Mix the powder into any beverage or soft food each day.

After eight to twelve weeks, you may notice that your skin looks vibrant with more hydration and fewer wrinkles.