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Collagen: The Missing Link In Your Skincare Routine

Originally posted on by Dr. Kali Olsen

You wash your face every night. You SPF religiously. You serum like it’s your job. But are you feeding your skin what it needs to be its healthiest?

As one seriously thorough study put it best: “Beauty comes from the inside and that means that nutrition is a key point for healthy skin and, therefore, decelerating the skin aging process.” In other words, nutrition plays a crucial role in achieving the skin of your dreams and keeping it for years to come.

Enter: collagen. You may have seen collagen supplements popping up on the shelves in recent years and thought “but does it really do anything?”

Science says YES (with two big, enthusiastic, safety-approved thumbs up). Adding a collagen supplement to your daily routine can come with some significant (and visible) perks, such as:

  • Extra antioxidant support. We know now that damage and aging to our skin comes from a few different places, like UV rays, high free radical production, and environmental pollution. In low amounts, these hits are easy for our body to handle. This is especially true in our earlier years, when our internal antioxidant and collagen production are at the top of their game. But when decades of attack start to pile up, and our antioxidant production naturally starts to wane, that’s when the damage starts to show - in our cells, in our DNA, and right on our face. Supplemental collagen has been shown to stop the harmful internal cascade that leads to oxidative damage, as well as shrink the influence of damaging UV rays. In other words: healthier, more resilient, less photo-damaged skin.

  • Support your naturally depleting collagen production. I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news: as time goes on, we slowly lose our touch at keeping up with optimal collagen production. The good news: our body is more than happy to put supplemental or dietary collagen to use to help pick up the slack. Taking collagen isn’t just a false hope. Studies show that after taking collagen, collagen levels increase significantly in our blood stream and, with time, in our skin. In other words, we not only absorb it, we use it (which, sadly, isn’t true of every supplement out there). It even coaxes our own collagen-producing cells to start pumping out more collagen, too! It’s a win/win.

  • Visible reduction to fine lines with continuous use. Numerous studies have been performed exploring if visible changes to the skin can occur with collagen supplementation, and time and time again, the positive results roll in. Daily use of collagen is shown to significantly improve the elasticity and moisture of skin. Even better, studies of even just a few weeks have shown a reduction in the number of wrinkles, area of wrinkles, their depth, and roughness, with one study toting a reduction in wrinkles of 20% at 8 weeks of use. A 4 week study even showed visible improvement to UV spots.

The best part? Quality collagen blends right into your usual beverage of choice, and even comes in some taste-approved incognito forms, like collagen creamer. It comes in a variety of sources to fit your dietary preferences, such as marine source if you prefer to avoid cow or pork. And what’s especially cool about marine-sourced collagen: the companies we recommend are sourcing from the scales of fish, utilizing a part of the fish that’s usually wasted, making it a sustainable collagen option.

Some tips: look for the words “hydrolyzed” or “peptides” on your supplement’s ingredient label. This means your collagen has been broken down into easy-to-absorb small molecules, making it a cinch for your body to put them to work. If you prefer direct Food As Medicine, know that we do absorb collagen from sources like bone broth, but without the collagen being in that hydrolyzed form, we don’t absorb it quite as well. If you’re looking at supplements, know it’s extra points if a company states they’re specifically giving you ample type I and type III collagen. While dozens of different collagen types exist, these are the two most-loved by our skin (but also our tendons, muscles, and blood vessels!).

Not sure if collagen is right for you, or which would fit best into your routine? Our medical team is always happy to help you figure out your best supplement routine and guide you in the right direction.


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