You’ve probably heard of collagen and how important it is for your skin. But does drinking more of it really translate to more collagen in your skin? Let’s have a look at the evidence and what collagen really is.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in the human body, which provides structural support for your tissues and muscles. It is also what gives your skin elasticity, meaning, in general, the more you have the younger and more supple your skin looks. So, in theory, boosting your skin’s collagen levels, or preventing its loss, would help you look younger. But will drinking collagen do anything? Is the hype really that promising? After all, research has pointed to both the benefits and downsides of collagen supplements, and for many beauty-conscious folks, collagen isn’t vegan.
Collagen contains the amino acid hydroxyproline that’s unique in youthful skin. Prolyl-hydroxyproline, a collagen fragment which consists of two amino acids only, was found to trigger skin cell in vitro (in cells) to produce more hyaluronic acid, another component that’s important for boosting the skin’s water content.
But what works in the lab doesn’t always work for our skin. Problem with collagen drinks studies is that they often use a combination of ingredients. This means you can’t say for sure that it’s the collagen having an effect. It’s even trickier since there are actually 28 different types of collagen, and not all of them help your skin!
Collagen proteins are also made up of thousands of amino acids. Most supplements use collagen that’s been hydrolysed (broken up), but you can break it up in many different ways. It’s likely that the body doesn’t necessarily treat them all the same way. This means that a study showing a benefit with one form of collagen doesn’t tell you anything about the other forms of collagen, or even other collagen supplements.
Can Collagen be Vegan?
Instead of being sourced from animals, collagen can now be made by using genetically modified yeast and bacteria. Researchers have found that the bacteria P. pastoris, in particular, is the most effective and commonly used for genetically engineering high-quality collagen.
To produce collagen, four human genes that code for collagen are added to the genetic structure of the microbes. Once the genes are in place, the yeast or bacteria then start to produce building blocks of human collagen. Pepsin, a digestive enzyme, is added to help structure the building blocks into collagen molecules with the exact structure of human collagen. Once this process is complete, you have yourself vegan collagen!
What Happen to Your Skin When You Drink Collagen?
Have there been clinical human studies on collagen? Sure. However, that brings up another problem. A lot of these studies are performed by people selling collagen supplements. There’s an obvious bias toward publishing good results.
Here’s the deal: when you drink collagen, the digestive process starts, and collagen gets broken down into amino acids. Your body then uses these amino acids for whatever it needs at the time. It doesn’t know you were drinking collagen to firm your skin. This has made collagen drinks are not promising because the evidence is far from solid.
Most of the studies claiming they work were open-lab which means, they weren’t blinded or placebo-controlled, so not the most reliable. And mostly all collagen drinks, not only contain collagen, but they are also rich with antioxidants, zinc, hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and minerals. A lot of people that took collagen reported that they do saw an improvement in their skin. They noticed that the fine lines and wrinkles became less visible, and their skin feel plump and hydrated.
Knowing that collagen that they took orally gets broken down to amino acid, they benefit the muscle growth and liver and nothing on the skin. Therefore, their skin became healthier after taking collagen drinks is because of the vitamins and minerals content and not the collagen.
So, What’s More Likely to Be the Fountain of Youth?
It looks like patting the waters of the fountain of youth onto your skin is still more effective than drinking from it! Look for topical products like creams containing vitamin A with ingredients like retinol and tretinoin. These are the gold standard for boosting collagen in the skin. Vitamin C serums are also fantastic for increasing collagen.
Skin hydration is also a common cause of tired-looking skin and easy to fix with serums and moisturizers as well. Look for humectant ingredients, or ingredients that promote moisture retention, like glycerine and hyaluronic acid to plump up skin and hide wrinkles. Most importantly, sunscreen with high UVA protection will prevent free radicals from breaking down collagen in the first place.
Would you like to know more? We are here to help! Skynfyx is run by a group of skin doctors and skincare experts who want everybody to achieve flawless skin at the cheapest possible cost. Skynfyx also can customize a skincare range just for your skin condition.