Do Collagen Supplements Work? 

Despite the rise in popularity surrounding collagen supplements, there are many questions still unanswered about whether or not ingesting collagen can truly affect our skin, joints, hair and nails as many might have you believe. What most experts agree on is more research is needed. 

Before we dive into whether or not collagen drinks or supplements in general work, we probably need to clarify what exactly collagen is and what role it plays in our bodies. 

Collagen is the most plentiful protein in your body, containing important amino acids that play a variety of roles in supporting overall health. Among those are giving your skin strength and elasticity and stimulating production of hyaluronic acid. (You should already be well aware of how important we think hyaluronic acid is for your skin health and beauty!)  

So now that we know just how important collagen is to our health – and skin – it’s time for the bad news. After the age of 20, your body produces less and lower quality collagen. Visible signs of this includes the loss of our skin’s elasticity and hydration, resulting in fine lines and dull, sagging skin.

That brings us to the Collagen Supplement trend … now to determine if they actually work! We have selected a few of our favorite articles and provided a brief summary of each below to allow you to get the big picture about collagen supplements, and dive in where you would like a little more information.

But before we review the articles, we asked Dr. Erin Olah, Medical Director for Timeless Skin Solutions, for her insight into the potential impact of collagen supplements on your skin health. She notes:

  • There is limited data outside of laboratory testing regarding the effectiveness of collagen supplements.
  • A great deal of the existing collagen studies that have been conducted have been implemented by collagen manufacturers which is a potential source of bias.
  • While the jury is still out, taking a quality collagen supplement should not be harmful, in fact, they contain protein and other vitamins and minerals which are known to have associated health benefits.
  • We suggest sticking with the trusted treatments and product cornerstones for collagen rejuvenation.

Treatment: Secret RF
Product: Sunscreen – this is a MUST!

Treatments: Micro-Needling
Product: Antioxidants (our favorites are TNS A+ Serum and Lumivive)

Treatment: Chemical Peels
Product: Retinoids 

Treatment: Laser Treatments


Now onto a few articles that we found that try to determine, do collagen supplements work?

Elle dives into What Dermatologists Really Think About the Collagen Drinks Flooding Your Instagram Feed, to determine whether these “wonder shots” are  as effective as their makers would have you believe. Are collagen drinks just a #spon fad? Do they actually work? And exactly how much would you need to knock back to notice a difference in your skin?

The fact is “that there is little evidence that ingesting whole collagen will survive digestion and then travel in the bloodstream to the skin in high enough quantities to make any meaningful change to the skin’s structure or function.” And, in general, evidence of the effectiveness of collagen supplements on human skin outside of the laboratory is scarce

In its article, Do Collagen Supplements Work?, Healthline notes that it is not necessary to take collagen supplements to produce collagen since your body does this naturally using the amino acids from whichever proteins you eat. Yet, they do acknowledge that some studies suggest that taking collagen supplements may enhance its production and offer other benefits, including helping to reduce wrinkles and relieve joint pain.

In its similarly titled article, Do Collagen Supplements Work? Here’s What the Science Says, the National Academy of Sports Medicine says that consuming dietary collagen appears to be far more effective for replacing collagen than making collagen from other sources. In fact, NASM points to studies done over the last several decades that show when sufficiently large quantities of collagen supplements are consumed (around 15 grams), there is evidence that shows supplements are beneficial for skin health and joint pain.

Byrdie shares Here’s What Three Dermatologists Think of Collagen Supplements, noting there is a lot of speculation around this “fountain of youth” in a bottle. While new data suggests that oral collagen supplements may be effective, they cautioned that more data needs to be gathered to validate initial studies. If found to be effective, they recognize that these supplements can help the way we treat aging skin.

Should You Be Using Collagen Supplements for Plumper, Glowier Skin? InStyle admits that this is the million dollar question. What the dermatologists that they interviewed agreed upon is that more research needs to be done in order to determine if ingestible collagen is effective and to what degree.  But, according to one dermatologist, “While we don’t yet have enough data, I am optimistic about collagen supplements.”

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