Collagen has several benefits, from decreasing joint pain, preventing bone loss, and improving gut health. However, one of the most sort after benefits is for improvement in the skin's complexion and wrinkle reduction. Nowadays, there is a constant search for beautiful and glowing skin.
While a good skincare routine is essential for healthy skin, the foods we eat are just as important. Thus, the importance of boosting your collagen intake.
Research shows good evidence to back up the claims that collagen can improve your skin. But does it apply to both collagen supplements and cream?
In this article, I will discuss everything related to collagen for your skin. Is it a healthy choice or a hype?
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins you find in your body. It's the main component in your ligaments, tendons, muscle, and skin. It is composed of the amino acids glycine, hydroxyproline, and proline.
It provides structural roles in your body and helps with tissue repair and cellular migration (crucial for tissue maintenance).
Even though our body has internal collagen production, this system starts having problems as we age. Studies have shown that you can lose 1-1.5% of your collagen each year.
With less collagen production, our skin loses hydration and elasticity, which leads to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles. Thus, finding external ways to supplement collagen can potentially aid in the reduction of wrinkles.
Types of Collagen
Even though there are various types of collagens (28 in total), there are only three types that we need to pay attention to when it comes to skincare.
Type I Collagen
Type I collagen is the most common type found in the body. This is the primary type of collagen that should be included in any supplement. It is inall our connective tissues, and it begins to decline after we turn 25. Without adequate levels of this type of collagen, we might see our skin sagging, fine lines, thin hair, and brittle nails.
Type II Collagen
This type of collagen is mainly found in joints and intervertebral discs. It also plays an essential role in the formation of cartilage.
Type III Collagen
Type III Collagen is found primarily on reticular fibers (in blood vessels and skin). It's typically seen along with type I collagen.
What About Collagen Supplements?
Since we stop producing collagen as we age, it makes sense to have a collagen supplement to increase the collagen in our body. Right? But what does scientific research say?
A meta-analysis (an analysis of different studies) investigated the impact of collagen supplementation. They analyzed 19 studies in total, and they found that women between the ages of 20 to 70 saw an improvement in their skin hydration levels and elasticity.
In another study on 99 healthy women, they were given either a placebo or collagen peptides. They received 1-5 g of collagen peptides per day for 12 weeks. They evaluated the skin's hydration levels, elasticity, and thickness. At the end of the study, they concluded that women who took collagen peptides saw an increase in their hydration levels compared to those in the placebo group.
It seems that having an intake of collagen can help stimulate the production of internal collagen levels. Thus, the benefits are seen in several studies. However, more research still needs to be conducted on collagen's possible skin benefits.
How Long Does It Take To See A Change?
The production of collagen is a slow process. This means that you won't notice collagen supplementation results from one day to the other. It’s recommended you take collagen for at least eight weeks to see some changes.
Be patient. The changes are coming! You just need to give it some time.
Do Collagen Creams Work?
While there is a lot of research regarding collagen supplementation, the same doesn't apply to collagen creams. With little to no research regarding collagen creams, there seems to be inconclusive support from doctors.
Several dermatologists agree that it might make your skin seem more hydrated and smoother than it is, this is just a temporary illusion of the surface. This means that you must tackle the problem from within to have a long-term silkier-looking skin.
Ultimately, this means that collagen creams are not so helpful when decreasing your wrinkles or improving your skin's hydration levels. It's the oral collagen supplementation that seems to work best.
Tips For Healthy Skin
There are several things (besides taking collagen) to help you have healthier-looking skin. Here are some tips you can implement to start having glowing skin.
- Avoid drinking and smoking. Both have adverse effects on collagen production in the body, meaning that they can significantly decrease your internal collagen levels making your skin look older.
- Vitamin C boost. Vitamin C plays an essential role in the formation of collagen. Thus, whenever you take your collagen supplement, make sure to have some vitamin C. It can be taken in supplement form or include berries, citric fruits, or kiwi fruit.
- Include antioxidants in your diet. Antioxidants help decrease the damage free radicals can produce. An excess of free radicals can affect the aging of your skin (making it look older). Fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants. Search for those intense color-looking foods since they are the highest antioxidant content.
- High collagen foods. Along with a collagen supplement, you can also include collagen-rich foods in your diet. Add foods like bone broth, fish, eggs, gelatin, and chicken to increase your daily intake of collagen.
The Bottom Line
Collagen has a lot of benefits in our body (like helping our joints and providing structure), but one of the most sought benefits of collagen is skin improvement. While there is a lot of research stating the benefits of collagen in skin with oral supplementation, there is not much research on collagen creams.
If you are looking to decrease your wrinkles and improve your skin's hydration, you might want to take a collagen supplement for at least eight weeks to see some results.
Remember that it needs to go hand in hand with healthy eating choices like avoiding smoking, leading an active life, and eating a balanced diet full of colorful ingredients.