The Science of Collagen for Skin Health
The Science of Collagen for Skin Health
There is a growing awareness of the role of nutrition for our skin health. The skin is the largest organ in the body, comprising about 10–15% of our body weight so it is important to look after this vital organ as much as we can. The skin’s role is to help protect the body from the dangers of ultraviolet rays, pollution and infections. Our skin constantly renews itself with the outermost layer, the epidermis, effectively remaking itself every month.
In general, as skin ages it begins to show a decrease in epidermal thickness. The layer decreases in thickness by about 1% per year throughout adult life, after you reach the age of about 50 skin collagen decreases further by about 2% per year (Svokgaard et al).
To support the protective function and continual renewing of the epidermal layer requires a constant flow of energy and nutrients to our skin. This can be done through a healthy nutritious diet, quality supplementation, maintaining hydration and protecting our skin from environmental factors such as sun damage and pollution.
This study conducted by Svokgaard, Jensen & Sigler was a double blind, placebo-controlled study which demonstrated that a dietary marine collagen supplement is highly effective in improving the appearance and condition of the skin in post-menopausal women.
The study found that addition of a marine collagen plus vitamin supplement is effective in improving the appearance and condition of skin in post-menopausal women. This was evidenced by significant improvements to skin on the face, de´colletage and hand compared with a placebo group. This study determined that there is both clinical and mechanistic evidence that collagen supplementation provides improved structure and firmness of the skin in post-menopausal women.
The objective of this double blind, placebo-controlled trail was to study the effectiveness of collagen hydrolysate on skin biophysical parameters related to aging. Two groups were given varying amounts of collagen and elasticity, skin moisture, trans epidermal water loss and skin roughness were objectively measured. At the end of the study, skin elasticity in both collagen dosage groups showed a statistically significant improvement in comparison to placebo.
In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, the effectiveness of bioactive collagen peptide on eye wrinkle formation and stimulation of procollagen I, elastin and fibrillin biosynthesis in the skin was assessed. It found that the group who ingested collagen had a statistically significant reduction of eye wrinkle volume in comparison to the placebo group after 4 and 8 weeks (20%) of intake. Moreover, a positive long-lasting effect was observed 4 weeks after the last collagen administration. Additionally, after 8 weeks of intake a statistically significantly higher content of procollagen type I (65%) and elastin (18%) in the treated volunteers compared to the placebo-treated patients was detected. In conclusion, their findings demonstrate that the oral intake of bioactive collagen peptides reduced skin wrinkles and had positive effects on dermal matrix synthesis.
The purpose of this randomized, placebo-controlled, blind study was to investigate the effects of a blend of 2.5 g of collagen peptides, acerola fruit extract, vitamin C, zinc, biotin, and vitamin E complex. The collagen product significantly improved skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density with the results stated as being ‘statistically significant for all test parameters’. These positive effects were substantially retained during follow-ups.
Skin Antiaging and Systemic Redox Effects of Supplementation with Marine Collagen Peptides and Plant-Derived Antioxidants: A Single-Blind Case-Control Clinical Study - De Luca, Mikhal'chik, Suprun, Papacharalambous, Truhanov, Korkina
In this clinical-laboratory study, marine collagen combined with plant-derived skin-targeting antioxidants were administered to volunteers. Skin properties (moisture, elasticity, sebum production, and biological age) and ultrasonic markers (epidermal/dermal thickness and acoustic density) were measured thrice (2 months before treatment and before and after cessation of 2-month oral intake). The supplementation remarkably improved skin elasticity, sebum production, and dermal ultrasonic markers. Metabolic data showed significant increase of plasma hydroxyproline and ATP storage in erythrocytes. The study concluded that a combination of marine collagen with skin-targeting antioxidants could be effective and safe supplement to improve skin properties.
This was a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled supplementation study on the skin of 57 mature women after 12 weeks of daily intake. Significant results concerning increased elasticity and firmness were observed after 8 and 12 weeks for both collagen peptide groups and not for the placebo group. Skin thickness was significantly increased at Week 8 and Week 12. A significant increase of skin lightness was observed at Week 12 on the face for the collagen peptide plus silicon group.
Taking collagen is associated with several health benefits and very few known risks. To start, supplements may improve skin health by reducing wrinkles and dryness. They may also help increase muscle mass, prevent bone loss, and relieve joint pain. Although several foods contain collagen, it is unknown whether the collagen in food offers the same benefits as supplements. Collagen supplements are safe, quite easy to use, and worth incorporating into your daily routine based off the potential benefits indicated from these and many other scientific research studies. As always, health supplements should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet, regular exercise and if you are pregnant or have underlying conditions you should always consult with your doctor before use.
Want to know more? Check out our featured article The Essential Guide to Collagen here.
Find out more about the benefits of collagen for beauty here.
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- Svokgaard, Jensen & Sigler, 2006, Effect of a Novel Dietary Supplement on Skin Aging in Post-menopausal Women, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 60, 1201–1206 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602438
- Proksch, Segger, Degwert, Schunck, Zague, Oesser, 2014, Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23949208/ , and companion study in 2014 Oral intake of specific bioactive collagen peptides reduces skin wrinkles and increases dermal matrix synthesis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24401291
- Bolke, Schlippe, Gerß and Voss, 2017, Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31627309
- De Luca, Mikhal'chik, Suprun, Papacharalambous, Truhanov, Korkina , 2016. Skin Antiaging and Systemic Redox Effects of Supplementation with Marine Collagen Peptides and Plant-Derived Antioxidants: A Single-Blind Case-Control Clinical Study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4745978
- Duteil, Roussel, Bruno-Bonnet and Lacour , 2018, Effect of Low Dose Type I Fish Collagen Peptides Combined or not with Silicon on Skin Aging Signs in Mature Women. https://juniperpublishers.com/jojcs/pdf/JOJCS.MS.ID.555692.pdf