Collagen supplements are sometimes called the “fountain of youth” as they possess a number of properties that can make us look younger on the outside and feel younger on the inside. They’re natural supplements that are generally very safe to use, so they’ve become more popular in mainstream cosmetics.
But some people need a quick fix to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, so would collagen be able to do the trick? How long does it take for collagen supplements to kick in? How does it work, and are there other options to make your skin look even younger?
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a major protein in connective tissue. In fact, it’s the single most abundant protein among not just humans, but the entire animal kingdom as a whole. Its main purpose is to help tissues withstand stretching.
The protein makes up 70% of skin and gives skin its strength and elasticity. Loss of collagen is what leads to physical signs of aging, like wrinkles and age spots. This is because without the protein, the skin becomes thinner over time, leaving more room for these inconsistencies to present themselves.
Additionally, collagen forms about one third of bones to give them the flexibility necessary to withstand impact while also working as binding sites for calcium.
By age 40, there’s a 1% decrease in collagen per year. And for women, this rate can quicken up to 1.13% annually following menopause. With that said, collagen production begins decreasing as early as age 18.
With this in mind, collagen supplements can help to try to slow down the rate that these proteins diminish within the body.
What Are Collagen Supplements Made Of?
Since collagen dietary supplements are made with the actual protein that is naturally produced in the body, most digestible collagen is made from the skin and bones of cattle or pigs. Often, these supplements are also loaded with other vitamins and minerals to try to give you a more holistic approach to wellbeing.
Though you may think that collagen cannot be sourced from plants and is therefore not vegan-friendly, there are collagen supplements that are sourced from deepwater fish rather than land mammals. These pescetarian alternatives are powerful nutricosmetics that are inspired by a Mediterranean diet. These are sustainable options that are more transparent than many others on the market, and they work just as well.
How To Take Collagen Supplements
Collagen dietary supplements can be taken once daily in the morning with a glass of water. While you’ll want results fast, it is important not to exceed the daily recommended dose.
Although rare, you might develop symptoms of scleroderma, an autoimmune condition that can cause your skin to stretch and thicken. In extreme circumstances, it can cause damage to your internal organs.
However, it is important to note that it would take a lot of collagen to get to this point, so don’t stress if you accidentally double your dose every now and again. But as a rule of thumb, try not to exceed one dose a day for the healthiest and safest usage.
How Long Do Collagen Supplements Take to Work?
Since collagen supplements are digested, it can take some time for you to start to notice that they’re working. There really isn’t any research that can specifically say how long collagen supplements will take to show results. However, you can expect that it will take a bit of time. Some small studies have shown that skin elasticity improves after taking the supplements for at least six weeks.
With that said, clinical trials have shown some collagen products to decrease wrinkle depth by over 20% after just 30 days.
This is likely because collagen supplements don’t necessarily give us more collagen, they just speed up the rate in which our body can absorb it. So, you need to give your body some time to actually take in the produced collagen before you can notice its effects.
While noticeable results might not become apparent for a month or two, you can rest assured knowing that the collagen is still working. Since collagen is a protein, it works behind the scenes to bring you full-body benefits both inside and out.
Keep in mind that you’ll probably need to continually take collagen supplements if you want to keep experiencing results. They won’t actually change your body’s chemistry to give you long-term increases in protein production, so you’ll need to stay on top of it for as long as you wish to see results.
The good news is that taking collagen with a glass of water each day is super easy and won’t be intrusive to your daily schedule. Incorporate it into your daily routine so you never miss a day and will never need to worry about losing that youthful appearance.
Other Ways To Take Collagen
Collagen isn’t limited to a capsular supplement form. There are other ways to get the most out of the protein that might even work a bit quicker than your typical supplement.
Serums and Creams
Topical collagen application is a great way to quickly feel and see the benefits of ageless skin. With a cream, you can apply collagen moisturizers directly to affected areas, such as wrinkles on the forehead or fine lines around the cheeks.
Some serums are also packed with actives that are clinically proven to reduce signs of aging. Look for products that stimulate the synthesis of hyaluronic acid. This is a compound on the skin that has a unique capacity to retain moisture. The combination of hyaluronic acid with collagen production is a perfect duo in defying the age of your skin.
One of the most popular ways to ingest protein supplements is in powder form. These are often flavored, letting you make a protein shake in the morning or even add to your favorite baked goods.
Powders will work similarly to capsules in that it will take some time to notice their effects. Also, powders are a bit more inconvenient as they require you to make a shake or food product.
With that in mind, this might be a good option for someone who has trouble swallowing pills or enjoys making a daily protein drink.
Eat Certain Foods
Collagen naturally occurs in a number of foods that you probably already eat regularly. However, you can try to incorporate some of these into your diet on a more consistent basis. They can even be eaten in addition to taking a collagen supplement, but keep in mind that these won’t work any faster than a supplement will.
Fresh fruits are naturally anti-aging. Berries in particular contain phytonutrients that support collagen production. Plus, citrus fruits like grapefruits, oranges, and lemons are high in vitamin C, which can help to synthesize collagen in the body.
Vegetables that are a dark green color, like broccoli or leafy greens, are very hydrating and can improve skin elasticity. Orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes are also high in vitamin A, which can restore collagen when damaged.
Bone broths are some of the most high collagen foods you can buy. This is why most collagen supplements are made from them. The longer animal bones are simmered, the more collagen is released.
Wild fish that are high in omega-3 are also fantastic sources of this vital protein. Salmon, tuna, and sardines that are caught in the wild are of higher quality compared to those that are farmed.
Other Tips for Maintaining Healthy Skin
In addition to taking collagen supplements of your choosing, it’s important to engage in healthy habits daily to make sure you don’t reverse the benefits that the collagen is supplying.
Namely, ensure that you are getting a good night’s sleep every night and that you are adhering to a sleep schedule. Dark circles and bags under the eyes are sure signs of aging, so being able to diminish those is key to youthful looking skin.
Also, eat a healthy diet and exercise often. This will keep you looking just as young as it will make you feel.
Collagen is an important natural protein that is paramount in helping skin maintain its elasticity. Over time, collagen depletes, leading to physical signs of aging like wrinkles and age spots.
You can take supplements in an attempt to speed up the rate that your body produces collagen. Dietary capsules are popular formats, but you can also use topicals, powders, or eat certain foods.
When it comes to dietary collagen, expect results to kick in after about six weeks. But keep in mind that even if you can’t see the benefits right away, they are still working. Patience and persistence is key for getting the most out of the compound.
But on top of that, make sure you continue to engage in healthy habits like exercise and proper sleep schedules to keep yourself looking young and feeling rejuvenated!