Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food and nutrition. He operates leading natural health website DrAxe.com and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health supplement company. He’s also author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, Keto Diet, Collagen Diet and the just released Ancient Remedies.
By Dr. Josh Axe
Probably the No. 1 reason why people choose to start using collagen supplements is to support the health and appearance of their skin.
What makes collagen one of the best healthy skin-supporting ingredients available? As a type of structural protein, it provides amino acids that help form and support the health of connective tissues including the skin.
Some of the perks of using collagen for overall skin care and health include support for healthy skin elasticity, texture, moisture and more — while at the same time supporting joint and gut health.
Our Skin Has Less Collagen As We Get Older
Collagen is often referred to as a “complex protein,” containing 19 different amino acids, including a mix of both nonessential (also called conditional) and essential types.
Supplementing with collagen is a particularly great way to get more conditional amino acids — like arginine, glutamine, glycine and proline — that can be hard to acquire in high amounts from other protein sources.
Our body’s collagen production naturally begins to slow down as we age, usually starting around our late 30s into our 40s (and sometimes before). We can thank this normal process for signs of aging, such as wrinkles, sagging and fine lines due to loss of skin elasticity.
To help boost your body’s own synthesis of collagen, supplementing with a collagen powder can help to increase intake of key amino acids that support skin health.
General Collagen Benefits for Skin
Does collagen really benefit or improve skin? The experiences of regular collagen users, and emerging studies, suggest that, yes it can and oftentimes does.
Ancient Nutrition's new version of Multi Collagen Protein is backed by six human clinical studies. Its select ingredients can help provide some of these general benefits for skin health:
- Help to support healthy skin elasticity, making skin look firmer
- Improving the appearance of crow's feet after 28 days of use
- Improving skin smoothness and overall texture after 8 weeks of use
- Boosting overall skin moisture
- Helping skin cells to keep renewing normally
- Also promoting healthy hair thickness and growth while reducing hair breakage
Best Collagen Supplement for Skin?
Collagen supplements, like collagen protein powder, are an easy way to increase your collagen intake. But which collagen is best for skin?
There are certain types of collagen that you'll most often find in supplements due to their desirable benefits, such as those related to joint, gut or skin health. Ideally for skin care, you’ll want to use a collagen supplement that contains a mix of type 1 and type 3 collagen.
Here’s why supplements featuring these collagen types are often the best collagens for skin:
- Type 1/Type I: This is by far the most abundant type of collagen found in the human body. It’s made up of eosinophilic fibers that form parts of the body, including the skin (dermis). It’s very important for overall healthy skin, giving skin its stretchy and elastic quality, and for tissue health, making it one of the best collagens for healthy, smooth skin.
- Type 3/Type III: Type 3 collagen is made of reticular fibers and a major component of the extracellular matrix that makes up our organs and skin. It’s usually found with type 1 and helps give skin its elasticity and firmness.
Bovine collagen comes from cows, specifically from their skin, bones and muscles. It’s made of mostly types 1 and 3 collagen, which makes it a good option for skin health. Collagen derived from fish and eggshell membranes has also been found to be easily absorbed and provides mostly type 1 collagen.
Make sure that you opt for collagen powder sourced from grass-fed and pasture-raised cows (raised without antibiotics or chemicals) and wild-caught fish for the best quality product.
Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein powder features five types of collagen (including types 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10), from four food-based sources (beef, chicken, fish and eggshell membranes), so you can reap the benefits of multiple types. Our collagen powder is sourced from non-GMO, grass-fed and pasture-raised, cage-free and cruelty-free sources raised without hormones, including bovine hides and wild fish that are typically high in types 1 and 3 collagen.
Multi Collagen Protein features collagen peptides that have undergone a process called hydrolysis to break them down into shorter chains of proteins, making the amino acids more bioavailable and absorbable. Ours is currently the only collagen product on the market that has a fermented eggshell membrane collagen ingredient with human clinical studies backing its benefits.
What type of collagen is best for your face? When it comes to skin health and care, the best collagen may actually be the kind you eat, rather than slather on your face in the form of cream.
The molecules in topical collagen-containing products are usually too large for your skin to actually absorb; therefore, supplements and food sources like bone broths are thought to be the best way to improve the look of the skin on your face and elsewhere from the inside out.
How to Use
Hydrolyzed collagen powder, such as Multi Collagen Protein, is unflavored and can be dissolved in both hot or cold liquids, which means it’s very versatile and easy to add to your regular diet. Multi Collagen Capsules are another option which are highly convenient and offer many benefits.
Collagen supplements can be mixed into coffee or other liquids, smoothies, soups or even into baked goods like pancakes, oatmeal, etc. There are several flavors of Multi Collagen Protein available to choose from depending on your preferences, including pure/unflavored, chocolate and vanilla. (Check the labels for the ingredients.)
We recommend consuming 1–3 servings per day based on your goals, or about 10 to 30 grams or collagen. However, you should always read and follow label directions and consult with your healthcare professional prior to beginning and dietary or lifestyle regimen, including supplementation.
We also now have our new Collagen Peptides — which are made with clinically studied ingredients like Multi Collagen Protein that provide several different types of collagen — to your daily routine can deliver results, including boosting skin health, in as little as one day.
In addition to using collagen powder supplements, you might choose to consume bone broth (or Bone Broth Protein powder), which is a convenient and tasty source of this vital protein. And to amplify the benefits of collagen for skin, consider adding other lifestyle tweaks to your wellness routine such as:
- Exercise, which often supports the production of growth hormone and can support the body’s normal production of collagen.
- Red light therapy, which can help support healthy skin and more.
- Microneedling, which can help with overall healthy skin and overall collagen production.
- Eating a “collagen-boosting diet,” such as one that includes plenty of antioxidants, vitamin C, copper, zinc and manganese which help the body to produce and maintain collagen.