Are Collagen Supplements Worth It?

Here at Maine Laser Skin Care, one of the most common questions our patients ask us is, "Are collagen supplements worth it?".  The short answer is: NO.

Collagen is the protein that is the foundation of our skin, hair, nails, muscles, and soft tissues.  Our bodies are constantly producing and removing collagen from birth.  

Starting in the third decade of life (i.e. once you reach your 20s), collagen levels fall as production slows while removal continues.  These lower levels of collagen overall result in wrinkling of skin and thinning of hair.

Many companies promote collagen supplements as a way to restore skin, nails, and hair to their more youthful appearance.  These supplements are not inexpensive, and rack up sales of over $100 million per year in the United States alone.

Unfortunately, the evidence supporting these claims is scientifically suspect.  The biggest problem with collagen supplements is that since collagen is a protein, it will get digested and broken down after consumption.

As a result of digestion, there is no way to direct that digested protein components will strengthen your skin, nails, or hair.  In other words, it would be more cost effective for someone to just be on a high protein diet rather than spend extra on collagen supplements.

Another cost effective step is to do everything you can to preserve the collagen you already have. Such easy, inexpensive, but dynamic tactics include drinking more water (within reason), wearing sunscreen, and avoiding both tanning and cigarettes.

You can also stimulate more collagen production with the use of platelet rich plasma (PRP), micro needling, and lasers. However, expensive collagen supplements, no matter from where they originate, are not effective at either slowing collagen decay or speeding up collagen production.

The quick fix of collagen pills or powders are not the holy grail promised in the ads.  So by all means, save your money.