Discussion with Dermatologist Dr. Gabriele Weichert
Collagen supplements are now everywhere in the form of capsules and smoothie powders. This year I have heard many questions about these from “what are they?” to “are they recommended?”. With my PhD in medical research, I look for quality data to answer these questions.
Why would people take collagen anyway?
Collagen is an important skin protein which adds to firmness and elasticity. Sadly, in our 20s, we all experience a slow decline of our natural collagen. This is accelerated by sun exposure, smoking and pollution. With time, loss of collagen results in our skin becoming drier and more wrinkled.
What does the data say?
Previously, data regarding the value of collagen supplements has been poor. This month, I was pleased to see a comprehensive review of higher quality data published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.
The news is not only interesting but positive! There are now 11 high quality studies showing clear benefits. Most of these studies used collagen hydrosylates (the most common type of supplement available).
How can collagen supplements improve skin quality?
So far, the data shows that daily oral supplements can:
- increase the collagen and elastin content in our skin
- improve skin hydration and moisture
- reduce the visibility of facial wrinkles
- improves healing of chronic wounds
- reduce cellulite
How great are these improvements?
Although positive effects were shown, the improvements were fairly modest. Also, most of these studies were only a few months long. The questions remaining are 1) do these results get better with time and 2) are the improvements sustained? Stay tuned for further updates.
Are there better ways to slow aging and support natural collagen?
Actually, there is stronger information to support other anti-aging suggestions. There is a wealth of excellent data to recommend regular sunscreen, good nutrition and smoking avoidance. Skin products with great data include two of our favourites - topical vitamin A in the form of retinoid (ie. SkinCeuticals Retinol) and high quality anti-oxidant vitamin C serum (ie. SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic). In-office procedures can trigger enhanced collagen - these include techniques like micro-needling and laser resurfacing.
Are collagen supplements safe?
No adverse events have been reported so these products are considered safe. Vegetarians be cautioned - collagen supplements are animal products derived from fish, cow and pig sources.
Are collagen supplements worth the cost?
Currently the data shows modest but positive benefit. If you have maximized all other recommendations (above), then supplementation may be for you. The cost is about $10-25 /month and these products are readily available wherever supplements are sold.
As a Dermatologist, I ensure my patients have the best approach to skin care with sunscreen, anti-oxidant serum and regular topical retinoid use before suggesting these supplements.
At Synergy Medical Aesthetics, patients count on our expertise for sound evidence-based recommendations on how to best slow the signs of aging. Contact us for consultation with our trained staff and board certified specialists. 250-591-1566