Collagen skin supplements are everywhere these days – are they really the promised ‘Fountain of Youth’, or just more hype? In this post, we’re looking at the research to help you decide if taking a collagen supplement makes sense for healthier skin.
Retinaldehyde Boosts Collagen Production
When it comes to boosting the production of collagen with skincare products, nothing has more research to support this benefit than retinoids. Derived from vitamin A, retinoids like the gentle, yet effective retinadehyde, found in our A is for Anti-Aging Serum, boost collagen production and help prevent its destruction. Retinaldehyde also increases skin cell turnover, and improves skin tone and texture. And, it helps to minimize oil production, decreasing the appearance of pore size and keeping skin blemish free.
Don’t you think it deserves a place in your skin care arsenal?
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What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein and the one most abundant in our bodies. Think of it as the glue that holds everything in your body together keeping your tendons, bones, ligaments, joints and your skin, in good shape. Working in conjunction with another protein, elastin, it also helps to keep your skin looking plump and line free. 75% of the dry weight of your skin is made up of collagen, which is rich in amino acids, the building blocks for protein.
Unfortunately, as you get older, your body breaks down collagen faster than you can replace it. External factors like sunlight, pollution and smoking, along with a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, can accelerate its decline and impair its repair.
The Evidence For Collagen Skin Supplements. And How to Choose One That’s Right for You
Collagen skin supplements have been promoted as a way to help make up for the loss that you experience as you age. But do they work?
A 2019 literature review in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found some data to support that collagen could increase skin elasticity, collagen density and overall hydration.* Additionally, supplementation has been shown to help with arthritis pain and sports related joint pain.
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Many experts believe that the data is promising. And while they are noticing patient benefits, they’d like to see more studies before giving supplements a firm thumbs up. There don’t seem to be any downsides associated with the use of collagen skin supplements so if you’re interested in giving them a try, here are some tips on finding one that’s safe and effective:
- Look for a high quality source to ensure lack of contamination from heavy metals. The USP and NSF labels in the USA or an NPN number in Canada, mean that the product has been reviewed to meet safety and quality standards.
- Buy from a reputable company. Do they follow standards like Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)? Do they offer good customer service policies?
- Organic, grass fed or pastured may be a good idea, to minimize the risk of BSE. Wild caught fish is another great source.
- Seek out hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides, which are collagen proteins that have been broken down into smaller, more easily absorbed forms.
What about vegan collagen? Vegan collagen sources don’t exist. However, plant based foods, like spinach, beans, soy, avocados and sunflower seeds, can help to boost your body’s production of collagen. Foods high in vitamin C also play a role in collagen production.
What About Topically Applied Collagen?
Since ingesting collagen shows promise, you may think that it’s a good idea to apply it topically. Not so fast! Collagen is a large molecule and while it’s a great moisturizing ingredient, it doesn’t absorb well into skin and cannot replenish lost collagen.
The best way to boost collagen production in skin is by using a topical retinoid, like the retinaldehyde found in our A is for Anti-Aging Serum. It works to help boost collagen levels in the skin by increasing the lifespan of collagen, as well as by blocking certain enzymes that destroy collagen. In addition, retinaldehyde can also help facilitate skin cell turnover, improve skin tone and texture, even decrease the appearance of pore size.
Additional Tips to Help Protect Collagen
- Wear sunscreen every single day to protect skin against UV rays, which break down collagen fibers
- Consider adding in peptides to help stimulate collagen and elastin production in the skin
- Use a vitamin C serum, which also helps to boost collagen production
*J Drugs Dermatol. 2019 Jan 1;18(1):9-16. Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications (Franchesca D. Choi, Calvin T. Sung, Margit L.W. Juhasz, Natasha Atanaskova Mesinkovsk)
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Because your skin renews once every 30 days, we recommend that you allow 4 to 6 weeks before assessing the efficacy of any skincare product.