Collagen: What Is It and Does It Work?

Do we recommend collagen supplements or products containing it? It’s a question that comes up from time to time from our patients.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and makes up around 70-80% of the dry weight of skin. It is responsible for giving skin its strength and elasticity. Collagen supplements claim to improve the skin, but whether or not they work is debatable. We asked Dr. Sarah Schram and Dr. Christine Moussa to weigh in on the efficacy of oral and topical collagen supplements.

“Both topical and oral collagen have many benefits but it’s not clear on long-term results, which type of collagen is best, nor what dose is best,” said Dr. Christine Moussa. “Products of collagen peptides can be considered to have antiaging factors but there are many differences in the weights of collagen being topically and systemically absorbed, so it is difficult to identify which, if any, work best.”

As for Dr. Sarah Schram, she isn’t opposed to putting a spoonful into her coffee cup. “There is some limited data that collagen taken orally may make its way to the skin and thus may improve skin appearance and hair and nail growth. This data seems limited at this point but I still add a scoop of vital proteins to my coffee in the morning.”

Collagen supplements are believed to be generally safe but it’s always ideal to check with your doctor prior to use if you have concerns. Common side-effects can occur, such as bloating, heartburn, and allergic reaction to the collagen source (fish, beef, chicken).

If you’re seeking to improve skin tone and texture, consider topical vitamin C in your daily skin care routine, which helps to support collagen growth and rebuilding. Other advantages include skin brightening, improvement of skin tone and protection from skin damage caused by sun exposure and harmful free radicals (air pollution, environmental stressors). Check out our two best-sellers for added health and radiance for your complexion: iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance and Revision Skincare C+ Correcting Complex 30%.


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