Collagen injections and fillers have long been a staple of cosmetic surgeons to provide men and women with younger-looking skin. Now there is a new trend that claims to provide you with the antiaging benefits of collagen in a less invasive way – collagen supplements.
But can taking oral collagen supplements really make you look younger? Let’s take a closer look.
Collagen is one of the major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Unfortunately, collagen breaks down as we age; it is this breakdown of collagen that causes wrinkly, saggy age looking skin. Think of it like the foundation of a house sinking. It’s no wonder, then, that collagen has been used for decades as an injectable filler to plump lips and soften wrinkles.
In recent years, it has become more and more accessible, with ingestible pill and powder forms readily available. A “collagen booster” is even an option at some smoothie counters!
The is some evidence that these oral collagen supplements can indeed reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Some studies have even shown that collagen supplements may improve joint pain and osteoarthritis.
Collagen supplements are synthesized into protein chains called collagen hydrolysates and are absorbed by the body and then used directly by skin cells. They come in pill and powder forms. The powders should be dissolved in hot or cold liquid prior to consumption. All studies indicate that each form is equally effective, but none have stated that a pill or powdered collagen is better than the other for improving skin health.
Several studies, albeit small ones, have shown that collagen supplements can help achieve improved skin elasticity and appearance of the skin for at least six weeks.
If you want to be sure to achieve similar results to the collagen studies, when looking for collagen supplements, be sure to look at the label for collagen hydrolysate, hydrolyzed collagen, or collagen peptides, as these were the compounds studied. Like any supplement or beauty product, there are always copycat products that make claims about younger-looking skin and do not really contain any of the proven active ingredients.
By the way, certain foods contain collagen, and if ingesting collagen truly can help your skin look younger, you might want to consider adding these to your diet. Collagen-rich foods include red meats, chicken, fish, nuts, beans, and grains.