Collagen Supplements Aren’t That Good for Skin

Collagen injections are today less popular than hyaluronic acid or Botox. However, collagen is still primary business in other forms. Collagen supplements to smooth the skin are undoubtedly something you’ve heard advertised.

Female customer testimonies are used to showcase the market’s tremendous diversity. Collagen supplements come from various animal and vegan sources, making it difficult to determine which (if any) deliver on their promises.

Transparency Is A Problem

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland regulates supplements under different European Directives incorporated into Irish legislation. However, the requirement of proof of efficacy for supplements is not the same as for medicines.

It’s difficult for the media to promote any supplement that effectively boosts skin collagen other than presenting the manufacturer’s study and a tiny number of independent studies using collagen peptides that may or may not be in the given pill.

Even unsponsored testimonials offered by a client or journalist after experiencing a product may be influenced by their unshared lifestyle habits and activities.

Dr. Andrea Suarez, a dermatologist in Houston who has created educational videos on these supplements and their effects on the skin, points out that our understanding of test subjects in collagen studies is equally restricted. During these studies, we have little information regarding their medical histories, diets, or lifestyle choices.

Trying any supplement for yourself requires some investment since you may need to use the product over a month before making an accurate judgment, depending on the brand’s recommendations.

How Does it Work?

Supplement companies may profit unfairly from a widespread belief that collagen in the skin helps you seem younger, as well as a lack of awareness of how the body processes the collagen you ingest. Maria Lucey, a certified dietitian in Dublin, said that one can take collagen, but it doesn’t always turn into collagen in our bodies. The body recognizes collagen supplements as protein, which is then broken down into amino acids and added to the pool of amino acids we get from food. The body uses this pool to get protein for whatever it needs the most, which may or may not be collagen.

Unfortunately, supplements can’t ‘inform’ your body that they’re meant for your skin.

Perhaps more crucially, protein is only one of the co-factors necessary for collagen formation in the skin. Natural collagen creation in the skin is a complicated process requiring resources and behaviors that no supplement can provide.

Collagen-boosting Foods

Many meals can help in the production of higher-quality collagen (which decreases with age) and the repair or replacement of damaged collagen. Cooking with collagen in mind may result in a delicious, diverse meal that helps the skin and the rest of the body.

As previously said, the body converts collagen supplements into amino acids, and protein helps in the production of your collagen. Lean meat, fish, and beans are excellent sources.
The amino acid lysine is abundant in egg whites, and it is necessary for collagen formation.

A protective fatty membrane covers healthy skin cells.

Omega 3 fatty acids assist this and help in preventing collagen breakdown. If you don’t like fish, walnuts, chia, and flaxseeds can provide these nutrients.

Dark green, leafy vegetables are an indispensable source of vitamin C, which is necessary for collagen formation and general health. These veggies also include many folic acids, which are necessary for healthy skin cell development and proliferation. Folic acid can help you recover and rebuild your skin at a faster pace than you’d expect based on your genetics.

Lycopene can be found in red fruits and vegetables, and it helps your skin cope with environmental stresses while also preserving your collagen. Dr. Sam Bunting of Harley Street Dermatology suggests eating a tomato (as well as an unpeeled apple) every day for bright skin.

Vitamin A, found in orange vegetables, aids in the restoration and repair of damaged collagen. Because Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that may build in the body to hazardous amounts if taken without a doctor’s supervision, it’s recommended to acquire it through food rather than supplements.

Orange foods are also high in carotenoids, which protect collagen from the wear and tear of daily life. Fruits high in vitamin C, such as berries, kiwis, and citrus fruits, are delightful and beneficial to collagen formation.

Soy is high in isoflavones and contains genistein, which inhibits the collagen-degrading enzyme family matrix metalloproteinases, which our bodies create in reaction to UV exposure and oxidative stress. Garlic is a rich natural source of sulfur, which aids in synthesizing healthy collagen.

Garlic is also vital in taurine and lipoic acid, which help repair collagen. Hummus and carrot batons are lovely skin-perfect snacks that include Vitamin C, garlic, protein, and more.


Collagen vs. Sugar and Alcohol

Collagen is responsible for most skin’s structural stability, accounting for 75% of its dry weight. Although age-related deterioration increases its disintegration, several lifestyle variables and exposures, such as UV radiation, smoking, pollution, high sugar and alcohol intake, stress, lack of sleep, hasten it. Collagen is destroyed by advanced glycation end products (AGEs), most commonly linked with a diet heavy in processed, sugary foods.

Red meat and smoked or fried meat contain more significant AGEs than white meat. Food preparation is essential. Fried chips, for example, have more AGEs than baked potatoes. In general, low-heat and gradual cooking are healthier for your skin.

Maria Lucey explains that it’s not that we need to exclude [less nutritious] items totally from our diets but their presence in the diet might mean nutritional demands aren’t addressed.For example, we know that 80% of Irish people do not reach their daily fiber requirements, and roughly 47% of Irish women do not fulfill their iron requirements.

The skin’s natural antioxidant defense mechanism is weakened by alcohol, which dehydrates it. Alcohol induces skin irritation by producing histamine, which causes blood capillaries to dilate.
The resulting redness might last an extended period, and the inflammation prevents collagen regeneration.

Sulfites in wine and beer can trigger puffiness in the face. When I talk about alcohol and the skin, someone invariably brings up the polyphenol resveratrol found in red wine.
Although resveratrol is beneficial, red wine is a dehydrating vasodilator, so it’s probably best for your skin to limit your intake and receive the most of your resveratrol from red or purple grapes.

Oestrogen and Collagen

Oestrogen is necessary for collagen creation, and menopause can dramatically alter a woman’s skin in a short amount of time. Because menopause is a tired and possibly vulnerable time, you should take greater care of yourself than you have in the past, and I highly advise you to consult a doctor before doing any aesthetic procedures or purchasing new creams or supplements.

People who work in retail, salons, cosmetic clinics, and spas are educated to deal with their external appearances, but menopause is an inside transition.

The decision to begin hormone replacement treatment (HRT) is personal, but we know that one of the advantages is younger-looking, better-functioning skin. HRT promotes the formation of new, healthy collagen and enhances the skin’s natural moisture barrier.

Studies suggest that estrogen can enhance skin collagen content, as stated by Geraldine Sexton, a nutritionist and behavior and mindset coach specializing in women’s health in Tullamore.

She explains that after six months of therapy with oestrogen, a research in 2000 (randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled) showed a 6.5 percent rise in skin collagen fibers. Another research found that skin elasticity in women falls at a rate of 1.5 percent after menopause, but this isn’t evident in women who use HRT.

There is nothing vain about researching HRT, and it does not, in my opinion, imply that you are “surrendering to the patriarchy” (a claim seen made in mainstream broadsheets more than once). Healthy skin is crucial for overall health.

However, it is essential to note that HRT will not repair any collagen damage caused by UV exposure. If you’re serious about preserving your collagen, wearing a broad-spectrum SPF50 every day is a must.

Additional Suggestions

Because some nutrients are challenging to obtain without ingesting substantial amounts of food, several supplements are beneficial in keeping flawless skin.

Vitamin D supplementation, for example, can aid skin healing and may be required year-round due to the Irish environment. Because of their diet and menstruation, many women are iron deficient.

Magnesium is another mineral that humans don’t get enough of. Because of hormonal activity, our levels are lower during menstruation. Magnesium is beneficial to skin health during menopause and can alleviate unpleasant side effects such as insomnia and depression.

Getting bloodwork done, keeping thorough notes on symptoms, and asking your doctor many questions is the best thing you can do for your skin and over-all well-being.

Tonia Nissen
Based out of Detroit, Tonia Nissen has been writing for Optic Flux since 2017 and is presently our Managing Editor. An experienced freelance health writer, Tonia obtained an English BA from the University of Detroit, then spent over 7 years working in various markets as a television reporter, producer and news videographer. Tonia is particularly interested in scientific innovation, climate technology, and the marine environment.