The Science Behind Collagen Supplements for Skin Health
Collagen is a protein that makes up a significant portion of the skin, bones and connective tissues. As we get older, our body’s natural production of collagen declines, which leads to signs of aging such as wrinkles and sagging skin.
Many experts believe that taking collagen orally in the form of a supplement increases the amount of collagen in the body and improves skin health. But what’s the scientific evidence behind this? And how effective is collagen supplementation for skin really?
If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, we aim to answer all your questions in our short and simple guide.
What is Collagen?
Collagen has a fibre-like structure and is essential for our body’s structure and function.
There are around 28 types of collagen but the most abundant and well-known types are Types I, II and III.
- Type I is found in skin, bones, tendons and other connective tissues, providing strength and promoting skin health.
- Type II is found in cartilage and helps to cushion and lubricate the joints, reducing the risk of injury, pain and inflammation.
- Type III collagen is found in skin, muscles and blood vessels and provides strength and structure to these tissues. It’s important for maintaining skin elasticity and hydration.
Collagen can be naturally found in animal flesh that contains connective tissue, such as meat and fish. That said, both animal and plant foods can contain materials that stimulate collagen production.
How Collagen Supplements Work for Skin Health
The theory is, if we consume collagen, the body can use it to build and repair the collagen in our skin, bones and connective tissues. Applying collagen topically may not be beneficial because its fibres are too large to permeate the skin’s outer layers.
Collagen is naturally present in the deep layers of the skin. Therefore, oral collagen pills and powders have been found to be more effectively absorbed by the body. When we ingest collagen, our digestive system breaks it down into smaller peptides, which are then absorbed into our bloodstream and transported to various tissues.
As well as containing amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, collagen supplements also contain vitamin C, biotin or zinc. These nutrients can all contribute to healthy skin and hair. (Where do we sign up?)
Scientific Evidence for Collagen Supplements
Although collagen supplements are super popular, scientists are still divided on their effectiveness.
Some studies indicate that they can significantly improve skin elasticity and hydration, whereas others aren’t conclusive. It’s important to realise that the results of these studies can be impacted by several factors, such as the type of collagen used, the dose and the individual’s specific skin needs.
In truth, more human studies are needed, given that many of those claiming collagen supplements are definitive in reducing the signs of aging have been conducted on animals.
Bovine Collagen Versus Marine Collagen Supplements
Bovine and marine collagen are two kinds of collagen supplements that are used to slow down the signs of aging.
- Marine collagen is derived from fish and is highly bioavailable (meaning that it is easily absorbed by the body). It’s rich in Type I collagen and known to be beneficial for skin hydration and elasticity.
- Bovine collagen comes from the hides and bones of cows and is rich in Type III collagen, which is a less abundant type of collagen in our skin. It’s important for skin health but bovine collagen is more effective in improving joint health and building lean muscle mass.
If your primary goal is to improve skin health, marine collagen may be a better choice as it is rich in the most abundant type of collagen in our skin. Try THEAGEHACK CGN - Marine Collagen, which has been shown to improve sun damage, even skin tone and create a smoother complexion.
Final Thoughts on Collagen Supplements for Skin Health
While the science behind collagen supplementation for skin health is still being researched, both marine collagen and bovine collagen can be effective. The supplement that is best for you will depend on your individual needs and goals, but it doesn’t hurt to give one a try!