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Oral Collagen Supplements for the Skin- Fact or Fad?

Collagen is a protein that is found in abundance in the human body. It is a vital component of the skin, bones, tendons, and muscles. As we age, the production of collagen decreases, notably resulting in wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin. Oral collagen supplements are marketed as a way to combat these signs of aging by promoting the production of collagen in the body. But is there any scientific evidence to support these claims, or is it just another fad?

Collagen supplements come in different forms, including pills, powders, and drinks. They are made from animal collagen, usually sourced from cows, pigs, or fish. The idea behind these supplements is that they provide the body with the building blocks it needs to produce new collagen, which in turn will improve the appearance of the skin. However, the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of collagen supplements for the skin is mixed.

One study found that women who took collagen supplements for 12 weeks experienced a significant improvement in skin elasticity compared to those who took a placebo [1]. The researchers suggested that the collagen supplements may have stimulated the production of collagen in the skin, resulting in the improvement. Another study found that a collagen supplement improved the appearance of wrinkles in women after eight weeks of use [2].

However, not all studies have found a benefit from taking collagen supplements for the skin. A review concluded that while some studies have shown positive results, the evidence is not yet conclusive [3]. The researchers noted that many of the studies had small sample sizes or were not well-designed, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions about the effectiveness of collagen supplements.

One possible explanation for the mixed results is that the effectiveness of collagen supplements may depend on the individual's age and the condition of their skin. In younger people with healthy skin, the body is already producing a significant amount of collagen, so taking additional collagen may not make a noticeable difference. In contrast, older individuals with more significant collagen loss may benefit more from taking collagen supplements.It's also worth noting that not all collagen supplements are created equal. The quality and effectiveness of a collagen supplement depend on factors such as the source of the collagen, the processing method used, and the dosage. Some supplements may contain low-quality collagen that is not absorbed well by the body, making them less effective.

In conclusion, the evidence on the effectiveness of collagen supplements for the skin is mixed. While some studies have found a benefit, others have not, and the evidence is not yet conclusive. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of collagen supplements, particularly in older individuals with more significant collagen loss. If you do decide to try a collagen supplement, it's essential to choose a high-quality product and to speak with your doctor first, particularly if you have any underlying health conditions.


  1. Asserin, J., Lati, E., Shioya, T., & Prawitt, J. (2015). The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 14(4), 291-301.

  2. Choi, S. Y., Ko, E. J., Lee, Y. H., Kim, B. G., & Shin, H. J. (2014). Effects of collagen tripeptide supplement on skin properties: a prospective, randomized, controlled study. Journal of cosmetic and laser therapy, 16(3), 132-137.

  3. Bello, A. E., & Oesser, S. (2006). Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis

  4. Image references- Freepik

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