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March 04, 2022 4 min read

In this article: 

What is collagen?
How collagen improves skin health
Is liquid collagen the best choice for skin?

What Is Collagen?

Do you know what the classic signs of health and youth -- smooth skin, flexible joints, and muscle mass to name a few -- have in common? Collagen. Collagen is a protein that is naturally produced by the human body. As a structural protein, collagen proteins build on top of each other and create a structure, almost like scaffolding, that supports and strengthens all of the body's connective tissues. It's what keeps skin firm and smooth, joints thick and flexible, and muscles strong. The bad news is that collagen production decreases with age. That's why collagen peptide supplementation has made its way into the skincare arena.

Collagen Keeps The Skin Firm and Smooth

How Collagen Improves Skin Health

There are a lot of "cure-all", anti-aging, skincare ingredients that are supposed to reverse aging overnight. After many disappointments and wasted dollars, consumers have gotten too savvy for that. So what makes collagen different? Collagen deficit is a major contributor to wrinkle formation; as collagen synthesis slows, it inevitably opens the door for new fine lines and wrinkles to form. Thus, if you're able to replicate the same levels of collagen that you had when you were younger, you can help keep the skin healthy and youthful for even longer. 

While there are many different types of collagen and each one works in a slightly different way, the basic gist is this: collagen supplements, commonly in the form of oral collagen powder, are collagen proteins that have been hydrolyzed and broken down into small pieces. These "pieces" are actually called collagen peptides and they enable the collagen to be broken down and absorbed in the gut, then distributed throughout the skin via blood vessels. When collagen is consumed, it gets broken down into its amino acids, glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. All three of these amino acids are precursors to collagen production; without them, your body couldn't make collagen. Once collagen levels increase the many benefits of collagen can be realized, including joint health, muscle growth, nail and hair growth, and better skin health.

Hydrolyzation of Collagen

Many placebo-controlled studies have found that oralcollagen supplementation helps to minimize the side effects that collagen deficiency has on the skin. Studies have found that collagen:

  • Boosts skin hydration
  • Encourages the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid
  • Slows wrinkle formation
  • Increases skin elasticity
  • May help manage skin barrier diseases like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis

Is Liquid Collagen the Best Choice for Skin?

We know that collagen can promote healthy skin from within -- but can it work the other way? With so many collagen skincare creams and treatments, it can be tempting to think that applying a liquid collagen supplement directly to the skin will be able to provide the same benefits. 

Today there are many different forms of collagen supplements; there are creams, serums, powders, pre-made collagen drinks, gummies, and capsules. However, when it comes to restoring the skin's health and natural glow, not all supplements are equally effective. Oral supplements, and powdered collagen in particular, are considered the most reliable way to increase collagen levels and thus have the greatest improvement on the skin. Topical products like creams or even liquid collagen supplements that are applied to the skin are not as effective. This is because the collagen proteins are too large to penetrate the skin. Without being broken down in the lower intestine, collagen is practically wasted and cannot be used by the human body. 

Topical Products Not As Effective

Liquid collagen supplements were created with the intention of adding them to drinks for consumption; they should not be applied directly to the skin.If you are adding the liquid collagen to say, a cup of coffee or green tea, this allows it to be properly broken down and can help boost collagen production. However, when compared to powdered collagen, liquid collagen is likely less effective. This is because, in order to make the collagen into a liquid form, it needs to be diluted with some kind of liquid. Liquid collagen is simply diluted or pre-absorbed collagen powder. It is only as bioavailable as the collagen powder from which it is made and no claims of greater bioavailability have been scientifically proven.

So how can you get the most benefits from your collagen supplement? Here are a few tips:

  • Use marine collagen powder:Marine collagen, a form of collagen made from fish skins, is the most bioavailable or effectively absorbed type of collagen. When compared to bovine collagen, it has been shown to have up to 1.5x more bioavailability, so less goes to waste.

Marine Collagen More Effectively Absorbed

  • Avoid vegan collagen:Vegan collagen supplements are another new product that have been gaining popularity. Traditional collagen is inherently notvegan because it is created by humans and other animals. Until more research has been done on the efficacy of vegan collagen, stick to traditional collagen. Marine collagen, although not vegan, is well-suited for many diets, including pescatarians.
  • Build a custom skincare routine with a dermatologist:Other skincare ingredients, like an antioxidant blend, can be used with collagen supplements to improve your results. Consult a dermatologist or healthcare provider to build a custom regimen that suits your skin's unique needs. 
Do you have questions about collagen? We have answers! Check out the Amandean Wellness Center for advice, recipes, and testimonials. Or, reach out to a member of our team and we'll help you get to the bottom of your collagen queries!

Summary Points:

As a structural protein, collagen proteins build on top of each other and create a structure, almost like scaffolding, that supports and strengthens all of the body's connective tissues.

Oral collagen supplementation helps to minimize the side effects that collagen deficiency has on the skin.

Topical products like creams or even liquid collagen supplements that are applied to the skin are not as effective since collagen proteins are too large to penetrate the skin.

When compared to powdered collagen, liquid collagen is likely less effective since, in order to make the collagen into a liquid form, it needs to be diluted with some kind of liquid.

Marine collagen, a form of collagen made from fish skins, is the most bioavailable or effectively absorbed type of collagen.



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