The old adage is that “beauty is only skin deep”…and while the sentiment behind this is undoubtedly valuable (i.e., don’t judge a book by its cover!) it’s also fair to say that beauty is anything but skin deep. The health of our largest external organ, the skin, relies on the health of the entire body and many of the things we do within our lifestyle and the various foods and supplements we consume can have a marked effect on skin health.

Collagen is one of the supplements most touted for supporting the health (and appearance) of the skin.

Key benefits include

  • Improved hydration of the skin
  • Improved skin elasticity
  • Reduced wrinkles and facial lines

The evidence suggests that collagen does, in fact, help to support the health, hydration, and elasticity of the skin. For example:

  • Supplementation with 10 g of marine collagen (in a supplement containing vitamin C and ornithine) significantly improved skin hydration and elasticity, and compared to a placebo.1
  • A trial on 56 women aged 30-55 years, showed a significant improvement in skin hydration and elasticity in those taking just 2.5 g of collagen hydrolysate daily vs placebo.2
  • A mixed supplement of 500 mg collagen peptides along with hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulphate taken twice daily for 12 weeks resulted in significantly reduced facial lines and wrinkles, increased skin elasticity, and skin collagen content compared to placebo.3
  • In another controlled trial, 5 g of oral collagen hydrolysate supplement taken daily for 4 weeks resulted in a significant improvement in skin elasticity in areas exposed to sun and this effect remained on follow-up 4 weeks after the study ended.4

So, even small daily doses of collagen (just a couple of grams) can help to support the health and appearance of the skin, but this this effect is dose-dependent and results have been improved significantly with higher doses (5-10 g per day).5

How to use collagen

  • Take around 10 g (~1Tbsp.) per day in one or divided doses
  • Take collagen powder in coffee, tea, a smoothie, or with water, or take a convenient collagen protein bar (Chief Collagen Bar)
  • If exercising, additional benefits to joint recovery and repair can be achieved by taking collagen before exercise

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  1. Ito N, Seki S, Ueda F. Effects of Composite Supplement Containing Collagen Peptide and Ornithine on Skin Conditions and Plasma IGF-1 Levels—A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Marine Drugs. 2018;16(12):482.
  2. Sugihara F. Clinical Effects of Ingesting Collagen Hydrolysate on Facial Skin Properties―A Randomized, Placebo—controlled, Double—blind Trial―. 薬理と治療. 2015;43(1):67-70.
  3. Schauss A, Schwartz S, Hammon K, Hardy AG, Guttman N, Fong M, et al. The Effects of Skin Aging Associated with the Use of BioCell Collagen: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial (P06-122-19). Current Developments in Nutrition. 2019;3(Supplement_1).
  4. Sangsuwan W, Asawanonda P. Four-weeks daily intake of oral collagen hydrolysate results in improved skin elasticity, especially in sun-exposed areas: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Dermatological Treatment. 2020:1-6.
  5. Ohara H, Ito K, Iida H, Matsumoto H. Improvement in the moisture content of the stratum corneum following 4 weeks of collagen hydrolysate ingestion. Nippon Shokuhin Kagaku Kogaku Kaishi = Journal of the Japanese Society for Food Science and Technology. 2009;56(3):137-45.


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