Everything You Need To Know About Collagen Supplements For Skin + 8 Best Collagen Products

Collagen is an oft-thrown around term in the beauty and wellness realms, with many of us knowing we need more of it without exactly knowing why. In contrast to, say, ashwagandha for stress or probiotics for digestion, it’s difficult to discern a perceptible difference after taking a collagen supplement. And yet, people are touting collagen supplements as a panacea for seemingly everything, from glowing skin and healthy nails to shiny hair and strong bones. 

So, to help clear the air around collagen, we spoke to Chloe McLeod, dietitian and member of the Vida Glow Skin Professional Panel, to get the scoop on ingestible collagen supplementation.

What is collagen?

“Collagen is a protein made up of three amino acids; glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline,” Chloe McLeod, dietitian and member of the Vida Glow Skin Professional Panel, tells Albert Review. The most abundant protein in the human body, collagen comprises over 30% of our body’s total protein.

How is collagen used in the body?

Found in many of our organs (think muscles, cartilage, tendons, bones, skin, and digestive system), collagen is essential for structural support, allowing cells to anchor together to form organs and providing our skin with strength and elasticity.

While there are over thirty types of collagen, McLeod explains that the majority of collagen in our bodies comprises types 1, 2, and 3; “type 1 gives skin its firmness, type 2 makes up our movable joints, and type 3 gives tissue its elasticity.”

What is the correlation between high collagen levels and good skin?

The reason for collagen’s ubiquity in the skincare and beauty industries is its role in cell renewal and repair, leading to healthier, youthful skin. Healthy collagen levels correspond to strong, plump skin and promote good skin elasticity. 

When do collagen levels start to deplete?

Collagen levels begin to decline around age 25, at a rate of 1% per year. The result being that by the time you’re in your mid-50s, your body is producing 50% less collagen than in your early-20s. However, it isn’t just age that impacts your collagen levels. Collagen breakdown is also spurred on by lifestyle habits like smoking and a poor diet, as well as by exposure to pollution and ultraviolet rays. 

How do collagen supplements work?

Ingestible collagen supplements are designed to add to your body’s collagen stores and help prevent collagen breakdown before it occurs. 

What are the benefits of taking a marine collagen supplement?

“The improvement in health of hair, skin and nails are the key benefits,” McLeod tells us, going on to cite improved skin hydration and elasticity, reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reduce bone loss and joint pain, faster wound healing, stronger nails, and a healthier scalp and hair follicles as potential benefits of marine collagen supplementation. 

Are marine collagen supplements effective?

While there isn’t currently enough independent research to definitely determine the results of collagen supplementation, clinical studies have shown an increase in skin elasticity, as well as improvements in bone density, muscle mass, and joint pain. Anecdotal evidence has also linked collagen supplementation to healthier hair, skin, and nails. 

Hydrolysed collagen also has the potential to be better absorbed than its non-hydrolysed counterparts. “Vida Glow is extensively hydrolysed, making the particle size of the collagen very small,” says McLeod. “Clinical studies have shown once marine collagen is ingested, it is absorbed and distributed by the bloodstream via blood vessels to the dermis, the deeper layer of the skin. In this study, collagen peptides moved to where they were intended, rather than simply being digested and absorbed. This addition of the collagen supplement to the existing pool of collagen in the body further stimulates natural production of collagen in the body as well.”

Overall, collagen can be a viable long term investment in your health.

Can you boost your collagen stores through diet?

“Whilst some foods do contain collagen (for example bone broth), this is in a different form to collagen supplements, so is not as readily absorbed” explains McLeod. “[The] dose required is also harder to measure, due to varying quantities of collagen being found in bone broth. An overall healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, veggies, wholegrains, nuts, and seeds is important for skin health overall.”

However, there are some ways to help support your body’s collagen production. “Consuming vitamin C-rich foods helps with increasing collagen formation, as well as reducing oxidative stress,” says McLeod. “This, along with regular supplementation of collagen is the most effective way of boosting collagen stores and reducing breakdown.”

The best collagen supplements on the market

Interested in looking into collagen supplementation? These are the best collagen supplements and collagen boosters available. 

1. Vida Glow Blueberry Marine Collagen

Ingestible beauty company Vida Glow have been a mainstay in the wellness world since their launch in 2014. Recently undergoing a chic new rebrand, the Vida Glow marine collagen supplements come in a variety of flavours, however, our favourite by far is the blueberry. Utilising bioavailable, hydrolysed marine collagen combined with blueberry juice powder and stevia for sweetness, this sugar-free collagen supplement tastes delightful mixed into water or blended into a smoothie.

2. Locako Ocean Kissed Glowing Bioactive Marine Collagen

best collagen products

A beauty all-rounder, the Locako Ocean Kissed Glowing Bioactive Marine Collagen adds pearl extract, magnesium, vitamin C and ingestible hyaluronic acid into the mix, which work alongside marine collagen to improve skin, nail, bone, and hair health while promoting glowing skin.

3. The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost

While this isn’t collagen in the technical sense, The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost works to support the body’s own collagen production to prevent collagen breakdown. Containing a high dose of vitamin C – the body’s primary precursor to collagen – as well as zinc which supports skin structure and hair and nail health, The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost is a nutrient-rich (and beautifully flavoured) blend of plant-based ingredients like pomegranate, papaya, probiotics, goji berry, acai berry, and maqui berry.

4. Skin Physics Collagen Beauty Elixir

The Skin Physics Collagen Beauty Elixir combines the power of marine collagen with the antioxidant-rich benefits of wild berry, blueberry, acai berry, kakadu plum, and beetroot, as well as anti-inflammatory turmeric, and pre and probiotics to support overall skin health and radiance and promote good gut health and digestive function.

5. Healthy Chef Marine Collagen

For those who want to keep it simple, the Healthy Chef Marine Collagen contains 100% marine collagen and nothing else. An unflavoured, odourless powder, it works mixed into water, juice, coffee, smoothies, or soup.

6. Morlife Beauty Collagen

best collagen products

The Morlife Beauty Collagen provides a dose of collagen in hydrolysed marine form as well as antioxidant-rich vitamin C to support radiant skin from the inside out. An unflavored variety, it’s best taken blended into a smoothie or consumed as a shot mixed into water.

7. JSHealth Vitality X + Collagen

Combining marine collagen with ten active skin-supporting ingredients like silica, aloe vera, turmeric, Siberian ginseng, vitamin E, vitamin C, and quercetin, the JSHealth Vitality X + Collagen works to support multiple facets of skin health.

Words by AR Staff
Feature image courtesy of Nadine Ijewere for Nina Ricci