Ok, we get this question ALL the time. We as advanced, medical aestheticians deal with the production of collagen on a daily basis. So it only makes sense that clients ask us about ingesting the popular supplement for more youthful skin.
I always tell my clients the truth, and sometimes that means I have to tell them “I don’t know” or in this case ” here’s the research that is out there and here’s my opinion.”
So let’s start with the research. If you look at most of the studies out there on ingesting collagen peptides you will find that, simply put, they break down to amino acids in the stomach. The collagen that we want to build up our dermis is type I and III. While most of these supplements ARE hydrolyzed collagen ( meaning I and III) this doesn’t mean that the supplement turns into the correct collagen for skin repair OR that it gets exactly where it needs to go for more youthful, plump skin via ingestion. A few newer studies out there are showing some promise for that happening but if you rely on the studies specifically then they just aren’t concrete enough at this time. Below is a newer study showing some promise.
[Studies have shown that age-dependent reduction in collagen synthesis can be reversed by oral administration of specific bioactive collagen peptides [4,7,8,9,10,11]. These oligopeptides are obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis of natural collagen. After ingestion, they are further metabolized to bioactive di- and tri-peptides in the gastrointestinal tract, which are then released into the blood stream and accumulated in the skin to form the collagen biomatrix [4,7,9]. Typical collagen hydrolysates are composed of peptides of different lengths and, depending on the collagen source, are characterized by a special amino acid composition. The unique (high coverage—[HC]) collagen complex (ELASTEN®) tested here contains short chain oligopeptides composed of 5 to 8, 9 to 15, and 16 to 26 amino acids and have a high coverage with amino acids sequences found in human skin collagen proteins.] Published online 2019 Oct 17 by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health
Now for my opinion- We as Medical Aetheticians working along side Dermatologists rely greatly on scientific studies and research. It’s impossible not to. But even though I know the studies are not concrete and i know that several doctors and providers may disagree with or ignore studies that collagen supplements helps keep the skin plumper and more youthful, I take it every day anyway. My reasoning is : why not? It could be helping stave off aging even a small amount, helping ease the demise of my over used joints and muscles. It’s definitely not hurting anything and if nothing else, it’s a clean, low calorie protein source in my coffee everyday!
We DO know that consistent use of high quality, medical grade products such as Vitamin C and Retinol (Vitamin A) are proven to stimulate collagen and prevent loss of collagen, so those are no brainers! Everyone should be doing those as basic anti-aging skincare.
We also know without a doubt that several treatments stimulate the right type of collagen for lifting, firming and smoothing the skin. Microneedling, Radio Frequency, RF Microneedling, Ultherapy, different wavelenghth laser treatments, chemical peels, etc. Most of these treatments stimulate elastin as well which gives the skin its elasticity or “snap-back”, but that’s for another post…
So in conclusion: rely on tried and true products and treatments for collagen stimulation and prevention. Drink lots of water, stay out of the sun and WEAR SPF DAILY, limit processed foods and sugar specifically and get plenty of sleep! A healthy lifestyle and an excellent skin care regime will be just what the doctor ordered and you can sprinkle some collagen peptide powder on top for good measure!