Collagen has been a hot topic in the world of wellness and beauty for years now. Here's what we know about it: First off, it's a protein that occurs naturally in the body. It's plentiful in our skin and musculoskeletal systems. As we grow older, our bodies' natural collagen production becomes depleted, which might mean two things. First, our mobility, muscles, tendons, and joints could suffer. Second, signs of aging could appear in skin (think fine lines and wrinkles), along with loss of elasticity and maybe even loss of hydration, too.
To prevent these aging effects of time, people turn to taking daily collagen supplements, which promise to boost the body and skin. For the latter, that means improving upon the complexion's youthful vitality. The problem is, there's no agreed-upon answer when it comes to the efficacy of these supplements. Some say they work wonders while others are skeptical that orally supplemented collagen can affect the skin at all. There's no definite yes or no answer to the question of whether or not to take collagen, but there are, in fact, many experts who find these supplements to be an effective and helpful boost to skin. There's even some affirmative research out there, too.
We're all about prevention and skin health, so why not try something that has the potential to improve our skin? These are the five collagen supplements we believe have made a real difference in our skin.
Vital Proteins is a big name in the collagen supplement business. It sources collagen peptides from marine and bovine sources, checking for the highest quality. While the brand's Collagen Peptides ($43) are the classic option, assistant editor Erin Jahns calls this collagen-infused matcha mixture her favorite of all Vital Proteins products. "I'm obsessed with Vital Proteins matcha. It's my go-to for days when I want to skip the coffee and gives me a healthy kick of caffeine sans jitters. It also blends beautifully, and I like to combine it with one scoop of the brand's regular collagen peptides, one-and-a-half cups of coconut milk, cinnamon, and some stevia. It's better than the $12 coffee shop versions."
Another Vital Proteins product, but this one was meant for those that want their collagen fix on the go. Social editor Steph Limiti is obsessed with the Blueberry Mint flavor. "I'm not one to drink anything besides water and coffee, but this drink has a nutrition label I can actually understand, packing 10 grams of collagen and just 3 grams of sugar. It's super light, too, and feels like the perfect refreshing drink post-workout or with my lunch."
If not the Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen, Erin reaches for these collagen peptides from an under-the-radar brand named Further Food. "I love Further Food because it's a lesser-known brand that still delivers on quality. It dissolves quickly and is grass-fed, pasture-raised, non-GMO, kosher, gluten-free, Paleo, and keto. Plus, it was started by three women, each of whom had personal experiences with chronic illness."
Primal Kitchen sells an array of healthy condiments—like its unsweetened salad dressings and cult-favorite avocado oil mayo—but its collagen peptide powders should also be on your list. Steph can personally say the hype is definitely worth it. "I've tried probably a million vanilla flavored protein powders to add to my morning smoothies, and this is the only one that doesn't taste like chalk but adds a light vanilla flavor that really levels up my breakfast. After only a few weeks of drinking this daily, I noticed the biggest difference in the strength of my nails. And this is coming from someone who gets a gel manicure on the regular. I've also heard good things about their chocolate flavor, too, which is next on my list to try."
I go for these collagen capsules, which promise firmer skin, and while I can't say I saw any difference in that area, my skin felt significantly smoother and plumper after taking these for 90 days. I'm guessing that's due to the mixture of vitamin E, collagen, and hyaluronic acid that's found inside. I also liked knowing that these are sustainably sourced, non-GMO, and free of soy, gluten, artificial colors, and preservatives.
You may recognize the brand Bulletproof as the one that convinced you to add butter to your coffee, but it also offers a repertoire of collagen products, as well. These Vanilla Shortbread bars are a go-to of Steph's when she's in a pinch and is looking for something filling. "They literally taste like you're eating a buttery shortbread cookie except you actually feel satisfied after eating just one. I haven't eaten these consistently enough to notice where the collagen makes a difference in my skin, but I can say they make for a healthy, tasty treat when you're craving something sweet."