The anti-aging industry is now a billion-dollar industry as society continues to focus on anti-aging. Many consumers yearn for young-looking skin that is free from wrinkles. Products are marketed as providing youthful looks by moisturising or toning the skin by increasing the production of collagen in the body to lift tired skin.

Collagen Supplements

Collagen nutritional supplements are found in health and grocery stores, with many companies proclaiming that swallowing a collagen supplement can turn back the clock by rebuilding new skin from within. Collagen and hyaluronic acid have long been used for the improvement of skin elasticity and hydration.

Collagen accounts for nearly a third of protein composition in the human body, and is required for skin structure and helping blood clot. There are 16 types of collagen that are present in the human body. The main types of collagen include:

  1. Type I – comprises 90% of skin, hair, nails, organs, bone, ligaments.
  2. Type II Collagen – applies to cartilage.
  3. Type III Collagen – applies to fibrous protein in bone, cartilage, dentin, tendon, and other connective tissues

Collagen Cream Myth

You will find that there are many topical anti-aging creams with collagen as the active ingredient. These have been around for many years but it is important to note that collagen molecules in these topical products are usually too large for skin absorption. So, collagen creams perform a redundant function. Some manufacturers sell partially hydrolysed collagen; smaller collagen fragments that are supposed to be small enough to penetrate the skin, but there is no evidence that these are small enough to effectively penetrate into the skin’s own collagen framework. Therefore, oral consumption of collagen is of more benefit. Collagen supplements are derived from animals such as pig, cow and fish. Many skin supplements use a combination of hyaluronic acid,Vitamin C as they help the body to build collagen.

Research Evidence

To date, the best clinical evidence to date comes from oral collagen supplements such as the VERISOL (Gelita AG) product which has shown reduction in eye wrinkles and increase in elastin. Another study on this product showed improvement in skin elasticity of the inner forearms and increase in type-1 collagen in skin fluid.

Another clinical trial using the product NeoCell Derma Matrix Collagen Skin Complex product showed a 6% increase in the collagen content of their facial skin after six weeks of oral supplementation.

Other small clinical trials from Japan have shown that consumption of hydrolysed collagen has beneficial effects in the skin i.e.1 g of hydrolyzed collagen for 12 weeks led to a significant reduction of skin dryness/scaling and global lines/wrinkles.

Bottom Line

What many folks fail to realise is that skin aging is a complex process that involves:

  • Genetics
  • Cellular Metabolism
  • Hormone
  • Metabolism
  • Sunlight Exposure
  • Pollution
  • Ionizing Radiation
  • Chemicals
  • Toxins
  • Emotional Factors
  • Diet

So, just taking a collagen supplement will not have a great effect reducing wrinkles. An integrative medicine approach is required such as having a healthy diet which includes vitamin C, manganese, copper, proline, and anthocyanidins such as blueberries, cherries and blackberries to support the collagen build up.

Other integrative healthcare approaches are also required such as stress management, getting enough sleep and exercise.

The old expression, ‘beauty is only skin deep’ sums up this topic well.