I have no doubt you’ve asked yourself before; “is collagen good for my skin?” and you wouldn’t be alone. We shed some light on the most recent science on collagen & skin health. We too were curious.
A full admission though, back in early 2021 we wrote a semi-viral social post about collagen supplements and why you don’t need ‘em. What was particularly frustrating at the time (and in the months leading up to the post) was the rampant influencer campaigning going on. Skin-fluencers all over IG, being paid the big bucks to convince you, that you had terrible looking skin and needed an $80/month supplement fix it. Particularly when science wasn’t overly convincing at the time.
We shared that your body doesn’t NEED to ingest collagen to make collagen, it simply needs food (mainly protein and Vitamin C rich foods) and that there are far more affordable, accessible foods to eat that will support skin health. We stand by those statements. For a seriously skin loving recipe- try our best ever Bircher Muesli.
However, what’s cool about nutrition science is that it evolves as more interest and funding gets poured into a topic. Hence so do professional opinions about certain nutrition science topics. Collagen is one of them.
Now, I’m not saying go out rn and buy a bunch of collagen supps, but I am saying that the evidence to support the use of collagen supplements (particularly hydrolysed collagen, which is found in most collagen supplements these days) for skin hydration, skin elasticity, skin density and wrinkles, is becoming more robust.
What’s funny, is a few days after we wrote the social media post, a decent meta-analysis (one of the highest quality pieces of research you can conduct) was published. The findings essentially supported that consuming between 0.6-12g of [animal based] hydrolysed collagen per day for between 1-3 months had positive benefits to skin health (as shared above).
Interestingly, I once thought there were a few key flaws in a bunch of the research and those have since been debunked by the legendary Tim Crowe (he writes excellent scientifically sound articles on a bunch of stuff like this). He shares two key misconceptions…
One about how all of the science is funded by supplement companies. Some are, but some have zero bias from the authors which is great!
And the second being that when you eat protein (of any kind) it just breaks down into single amino acids (the building blocks of protein) so your body just utilises all protein that you eat, in exactly the same way, and will send it to where it’s needed the most (which could be your skin but also could be your muscles). Turns out this may not be the case with collagen proteins in particular. They may act as signalling molecules for your body to produce more collagen.
Personally, I’ve never been one to jump on the skin supp band wagon, but you do you! You can read more on the topic here.