Care for the collagen you have

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Collagen is the main structural protein in animals and humans that plays a vital role skin tissue, contributing to its firmness and elasticity.  It starts to deplete in our 20’s due to environmental factors like sunlight and pollution.  This depletion leads to sagging, wrinkles, and dryness.

On the past two months...

…I’ve been drinking collagen every morning. Vital Proteins Collagen peptides to be precise. The label promises healthier skin, hair and nails, plus it’s supposed to soothe my creaky joints and support digestive function. Wow!  Sounds magical...

I’ve been adding it to my smoothie and for several weeks now and have convinced myself that the collagen has no taste... the mind can be a very powerful thing you know.

Out of the blue, one of my very beautiful “collagen friends”... you know the type, all the guys call her “the hot one”... anyway, she came to me with her lustrous hair and youthful skin and suggested that I to add it to my tea everyday.  She swore by collagen, and obviously there are worst things to be called than “the hot one” so of course I would try!

The very next day, I drank my collagen in the tea.  

Welcome to hell

I think it is definitely one of the worst things I’ve ever tasted.

It’s like drinking a very old bone broth mixed with a gross bolognese (enter my Italian roots). I shutter at the very thought of this.

So let’s take it from the beginning. 
As a self-proclaimed skincare junkie, I’m not one to shy away from learning everything about everything when it comes to products, treatments, supplements...  Much of the built up hypes are a lot more noise than they’re worth, but sometimes they are worth every iota of sound.  

Obviously, I try my best to keep the focus on helping my skin to age as gracefully as possible rather than letting myself succumb to the cultural fears of aging and even worse - looking MY AGE! 

What’s really up with collagen anyway? If anything would come close to turning back the skin clock, surely it would be a daily collagen supplement that boosts skin hydration and firmness while helping to reduce wrinkles?  One would think.

Here’s the thing though

According to Ronald Raines, a chemical biologist and Professor of Chemistry : “Our bodies have enzymes in our stomach and intestines that degrade the food that we eat and then it gets broken down and built up again. We break food down into amino acids, and as collagens are a protein, our body builds them into things we need.”
Translation: It ain’t JFK to LAX.  Because collagen is a protein at its core, it doesn’t just travel from gut to skin on a direct flight.  It’s just not that simple.

According to my favorite dermatologist, Docteur Joëlle Sebaoun in Paris : “As a physician, I would want to see more evidence-backed science. Many of the studies done so far on collagen are small and at least partially funded by industry. I simply suggest to my patients to eat good food.”

While some studies show that collagen benefits our whole body by producing keratin for strong nails and hair, balancing hormones, improving digestion, and reducing joint pain, the evidence that it improves skin elasticity, moisture, and collagen density, is weak at best.  

The benefits for skin appear to be very limited and there is insufficient evidence-backed science to prove otherwise as of yet. Conclusion: this mythical fountain of youth does not exist. Eek.

The glimmer of hope

What doctors do maintain however, is my golden rule of skincare:

·       First and foremost, making sun protection a daily ritual (see SPF article)

·       It’s also important to eat well, drink a ton of water, avoid smoking, and getting substantial sleep. 


Fabienne Sebaoun
The idea is to care for the collagen we do have, rather than trying to replenish it with supplements.