Collagen Supplements for Skin

Can Collagen Supplements Improve Your Skin?

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Collagen supplements are often marketed as anti-aging products that help improve skin. A protein found in connective tissues throughout your body, collagen is a major component of your skin. As you age, your skin's inner layer loses collagen and—as a result—becomes less supple and firm and more vulnerable to damage. However, despite claims that collagen supplements can restore collagen and reverse the aging process, there is a lack of evidence that collagen supplements can benefit your skin.

Health Benefits of Collagen Supplements:

To date, very few studies have tested the health effects of collagen supplements. Here are some findings from the available research:

1) Bone Health

In a 2010 study published in the journal Maturitas, researchers found that collagen supplements failed to improve bone health in postmenopausal women. For the study, 71 women with osteopenia were assigned to take either hydrolyzed collagen supplements or a placebo every day for 24 weeks. Results revealed that the collagen supplements did not produce any effects on bone metabolism.

See Ratural Remedies for Osteopenia for more information. Also learn about natural approaches to osteoporosis prevention.

2) Body Composition

Taking hydrolyzed collagen supplements may help preserve lean body mass in older women, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The study involved nine healthy elderly women, all of whom were given hydrolyzed collagen supplements for 15 days.

Find out about other ways to lose weight naturally in 15 Popular Diet Supplements and Natural Approach to Weight Loss.

Common Uses for Collagen Supplements

Some proponents claim that collagen supplements offer a range of benefits, including:

Additional Forms of Collagen:

1) Hydrolyzed Collagen

Hydrolyzed collagen is a substance produced by breaking down collagen derived from animal bone and/or connective tissues. The collagen is broken down by means of a process called hydrolysis, which involves the decomposition of compounds by reaction with water molecules. Many products marketed as collagen supplements or collagen-based beauty products contain hydrolyzed collagen.

2) Collagen Injections

Referred to as a "filler," one type of cosmetic procedure involves injecting certain substances in order to reduce signs of aging in the skin (such as fine lines). Poly-L-lactic acid fillers, for instance, help fight the effects of aging by stimulating collagen production in the skin. Although fillers are generally considered safe, they sometimes lead to side effects like skin discoloration and allergic reactions. What's more, the anti-aging effects of these procedures are temporary and require repeat treatments to maintain results.

3) Collagen Creams

There is currently a lack of scientific evidence for the anti-aging effects of creams, lotions or other beauty products containing collagen. However, preliminary research suggests that applying DHEA to the skin may help promote the production of collagen and help reduce signs of aging. Since this finding has yet to be tested in large clinical trials, it's important to consult a dermatologist prior to using DHEA-based skin-care products.

Find out about ceramides, a type of fat molecule found in skin care products which may fight aging-related skin dryness. Also learn about the use of cosmetic acupuncture, white tea, argan oil and sea buckthorn oil.

Using Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplements haven't been tested for safety and keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get tips on using supplements here but if you're considering the use of collagen supplements for anti-aging purposes or in the treatment of a condition, talk with your primary care provider first. 


The American Academy of Dermatology's AgingSkinNet. "Cosmetic Procedures: Fillers". August 2010.

Cúneo F, Costa-Paiva L, Pinto-Neto AM, Morais SS, Amaya-Farfan J. "Effect of dietary supplementation with collagen hydrolysates on bone metabolism of postmenopausal women with low mineral density." Maturitas. 2010 Mar;65(3):253-7.

Dioguardi FS. "Nutrition and skin. Collagen integrity: a dominant role for amino acids." Clin Dermatol. 2008 Nov-Dec;26(6):636-40.

Frey J. "Collagen, ageing and nutrition." Clin Chem Lab Med. 2004 Jan;42(1):9-12.

Hays NP, Kim H, Wells AM, Kajkenova O, Evans WJ. "Effects of whey and fortified collagen hydrolysate protein supplements on nitrogen balance and body composition in older women." J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Jun;109(6):1082-7.

Shin MH, Rhie GE, Park CH, Kim KH, Cho KH, Eun HC, Chung JH. "Modulation of collagen metabolism by the topical application of dehydroepiandrosterone to human skin." J Invest Dermatol. 2005 Feb;124(2):315-23.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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