If you’ve looked at the shelves of any grocery or beauty store recently, you’ll know that collagen supplements are one of the hottest trends in skincare right now. And it’s not hard to figure out why.
Collagen is an important component of our skin, hair, and nails. This protein not only keeps the beauty trifecta healthy, but it is particularly responsible for skin that is supple, elastic, and wrinkle-free. Knowing that, why would you pass up the chance to take something as simple as a powder and — voilà — eternal skin youth?
There’s one big reason you might want to pause before adding the latest powder to your cart. While the marketing gurus may have convinced us that collagen supplements are a must, the most important question has never fully been answered: do they actually work?
What’s the Deal with Collagen Supplements?
Collagen is naturally produced by your body, but supplements were designed to address one big problem with this biological process. After the age of 30, natural collagen production begins to decrease with your estrogen levels. This is the main culprit behind the most common signs of skin aging. Wrinkles, fine lines, and dry, loose skin intensify with age as the amount of collagen your body makes increasingly dwindles.
But the answer to fixing that deficit is not quite as easy as the marketing for collagen supplements would have you believe. While ads for these products position them as a guaranteed way to see results, medical studies say not so fast.
So, do collagen supplements work? Like so much in medicine, the answer is it’s complicated. (Annoying, we know.) Some studies done on the topic suggest ingesting collagen may help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Others show that they have no effect. A few studies have found that taking collagen does help, but for other issues like joint pain. But researchers can’t give a straight answer on this issue because not enough studies of the right size and quality have been done.
As a journal review of the existing research puts it, “Although some studies have demonstrated that collagen supplementation can enhance skin qualities such as elasticity and hydration, dermatologic claims in the media surpass any evidence currently supported by the literature.”
There’s a Better Way: Support Your Body’s Collagen Production
Without solid evidence that taking a daily dose of collagen powder will actually improve your skin health, it’s hard to justify the expense. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on collagen all together.
A better way to boost your collagen is to take supplements that support your body’s natural production of the protein rather than those that add the protein directly into your system.
Think about the collagen in your skin as a flower. As so many of us learned as we became plant people during quarantine, flowers are pretty simple to care for — at least after you accidentally kill the first few. They need two things: some sunlight and the right amount of water. But where you put that water is important. If you just water the petals, you’ll give your flowers a little bit of surface moisture that may help them survive another day, but they definitely won’t thrive. Instead, you have to provide water where the flower can best use it: at the roots.
Collagen production acts the same way. Sure, we may find out one day that collagen powders do give your skin a little help, but until that science is known, it’s better to support your body where it can do the most good: at its roots where it is producing the natural collagen that we know will get the job done.
There are two specific ingredients that excel at supporting your body’s own collagen factory:
Dong Quai: Known as the “woman’s herb,” this adaptogen has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It works with the body to support both a balanced menstrual cycle and your body’s natural collagen production. With the help of dong quai, your skin is better able to retain its elasticity and youthfulness. Found in: Veracity’s Vital ESTR Revive
DHEA: While technically considered an androgen, one of the male sex hormones, DHEA is an important precursor hormone that also gives your body the components it needs to make estrogen. DHEA supplements derived from wild yams can have a domino effect on your collagen. DHEA promotes and stabilizes estrogen production which in turn encourages collagen production along with all of its anti-aging skin benefits. For this reason, DHEA is one of the most potent hormones for healthy aging. Found in: Veracity’s Vital DHEA Stability
For all of history — at least according to the mythological tales — people have been searching for the elixir of youth. As far as your skin is concerned, you’ve already found it…it’s inside of you. All you need to do now is support your body’s own efforts to make the collagen it needs to keep your skin happy, healthy, and youthful.