Collagen Creams vs Supplements: Which One Actually Works?

by Nick Collins

In a world of successful achievers, when a poor first impression can be worth you a good deal or a job, your look is among the best ways to stand out and reach your goals. Every detail of it contributes to the trust you could earn and to the number of potential partners you could gain. So just being productive & organized wouldn't work - your appearance is also essential. Univia's survey has found that 86% of achievers believe that appearance affects career success. 90% of respondents say that appearance influences client perception, while 85% think that your look may define your confidence. Pretty convincing, huh?

Well, if such things as clean clothes, proper groom, and a decent level of personal hygiene are obvious and attainable, maintaining an effective skincare routine is way harder. With tons of different treatments and mixed advice, you may end up with severe skin issues, not even mentioning rapid skin aging. Meanwhile, your skin is a mirror of your confidence and self-care, so maintaining it in an excellent state is essential for your career success.

Collagen powder in a cup

If you, just like many other people, decide to solve the skin aging issue with collagen cremes and treatments, then it’s time for us to clear things out. The effectiveness of these cremes causes many doubts and questions, so you might wonder whether it’s a waste of your money. In this article, we’ll clarify once and for all which works for your skin - collagen creams or supplements?

What is collagen?

In a nutshell, collagen is your body’s protein, the most abundant one and present in your skin cells, bones, tendons, and muscles. Collagen helps hold your body together, while also strengthening existing structures and providing materials for new ones. But the major function of collagen we’ll focus on is skin elasticity and regeneration support.

According to scientists, collagen helps form specific cell networks in your skin - fibroblasts - which are the foundation for new cell growth. However, as you age, your body’s ability to produce collagen slows down. Plus, you could speed up this process by drinking alcohol, smoking, and exposing yourself to direct sunlight. Fibroblasts are breaking down, and your skin loses its elasticity and becomes flabby and wrinkled. Luckily, you can replenish your collagen stores by consuming it. The next question is which collagen form to choose - supplements or cream form?

Collagen creams or supplements: choose the right one for your skin

If you were wondering whether those expensive collagen creams make your skin smoother and more elastic, now we’ll uncover their actual effectiveness. Plus, we’ll compare it with the benefits of collagen supplements that you can take orally.

Collagen powder scoops

Collagen creams: big promises, minor effect

Along with hyaluronic acid and aloe extract, collagen is among the most popular ingredients for beauty creams and treatments. You can find tons of sheet masks, gels, scrubs, and other skincare products with a loud claim “infused with collagen”. Manufacturers claim that these treatments will make your skin youthful, smooth, and shiny. But are they actually working this way?

Scientists have conveyed much research to study the collagen molecule and its functions within your body. They found that this protein has a massive molecule, which comprises many amino acids and reminds a thick rope. Because of its huge size, collagen molecules can’t go through your skin barriers and enter the dermis to make your skin more elastic and turn on skin regeneration.

Though, when you apply collagen creams on your skin, you may notice that it becomes moisturized and soft, but the effect disappears after a few hours. That happens because the collagen, which stays on the surface of your skin, dries and falls apart. So what you can expect from collagen moisturizers is just a short-term effect that doesn’t accumulate.

If you face skin dryness, then collagen moisturizers may help you. Though, applying them to help your skin look smoother and more youthful would be a waste of time. Okay, then what about collagen supplements?

Collagen supplements: support for your skin elasticity & regeneration

Collagen cream supplement

Now, when we’ve dispelled the myth about the effectiveness of collagen moisturizers, you could wonder, "Then what helps?". The core thing is to change the approach and try to fix your skin issues, acting not through the skin, but from the inside. That’s where collagen supplements could do their magic!

In 2020, US consumers alone have spent $293 million on collagen supplements. Why are they so crazily popular? CHA University's study has found that consuming oral collagen supplements may significantly improve your skin hydration, elasticity, and wrinkling. Your body easily absorbs it, so it’s a convenient solution to replenish your body’s collagen stores.

By taking collagen, you may also turn on the cellular regeneration process. The skin-lifting effect will be more potent for older people and less visible when younger people take them. Plus, collagen supplements have an accumulative effect, so if you take them for a long time, your body may replenish and store this protein.

So if you’re uncertain what to choose - collagen moisturizers or supplements - for improving your skin health, then obviously prefer supplements. When you’re looking for short-term improvement and quick hydration, then collagen creams may help.

Collagen supplements: what else can they do?

Collagen powder in a bowl

Another essential thing about collagen supplements you should know is that it’s way more than just a “magic pill” for staying beautiful and youthful. Collagen is a protein found in the body that is required also for healthy bones and joints. Active lifestyle and everyday rush expose extra pressure on your musculoskeletal system. No wonder you may feel pain in your limbs, back, and shoulders at the end of a busy day. Still, ignoring these body signals may lead to bone fractures, damaged joints, and cricks.

Collagen as a building block for bones

If you want to continue achieving all heights and stay highly productive, you need a strong, protected, and agile body. Taking collagen supplements is one of the most efficient ways to reach this goal! This protein is vital and makes up approximately 90% of the organic components that make up our bones. It ensures that bones function properly, are strong, and limber. The study of collagen peptides has led to a discovery that they can help regulate bone metabolism. This means that collagen supplementation can support the body and ensure maximum bone strength.

Collagen as a potent brain protector

Meanwhile, collagen isn’t just a supplement solution to look younger and feel stronger. It could also be powerful protection for your brain cells and memory. Scientists have discovered that a sufficient amount of collagen in your body helps protect your neurons from the toxic damage of certain proteins. These proteins, if not controlled, may lead to brain & memory disorders like Alzheimer’s. So if you worry about your brain’s productivity and health, try collagen supplements to ensure it works like a charm.

Collagen as a cartilage growth & repair booster

Cartilage is a rubbery, protective substance that covers the pointed ends of joints and bones. As you age or perform repetitive movements for a long time, cartilages tend to wear off and cause painful feelings. Taking collagen supplements is an effective way to boost your cartilage regeneration and growth process. According to the research, people who are taking collagen supplements can reduce activity-related joint pain and help you stay on top of your performance.

Collagen pills

Collagen as a protein for strong nails & hair

Another essential part of your look and confidence is the state of your nails and hair. If you don’t have time to watch your diet, then your hair & nails may become thinner, easily breakable, and grubby. Just imagine, you’re in the middle of a business meeting and all you can think of are your brittle nails or messy hair. So polishing your look is essential for your career growth, and here’s where collagen could help too! This protein serves as a building block for healthy nails and hair, as well as a material for repairing them. Collagen contains many amino acids, which handle keratin production for efficient hair growth and healthy nails.

Collagen as a support for the health of your guts

Aside from strengthening your bones and enhancing your look, collagen may also change how your gut feels. Scientists claim that this protein is an essential part of connective tissues within your digestive tract. So by consuming collagen supplements, you may strengthen your body’s protection from such health issues as “leaky gut”. Leaky gut occurs when there are holes in the wall of your intestine. This can lead to food waste particles getting into your bloodstream and making you feel unwell. Collagen makes the walls of your guts thicker to prevent leakages and ensure your healthy digestion.

Collagen as additional fuel for growing firm muscles

Besides, let’s not forget that collagen is an excellent pre-workout supplement that may help you achieve your goals faster. Collagen comprises amino acids, which are essential for your body to grow greater muscle mass. The research has also found that consuming collagen may boost your muscle strength and prevent muscle mass losses related to aging. So if your goal, among others, is to stay powerful, try consuming collagen supplements before your workouts.

How to choose the right collagen supplement for your needs?

We’ve prepared a complete guide on how to choose the right collagen supplement for your ultimate needs. Dive in! 

Collagen pills in different forms

Types of collagen and how they may help you

Your body contains around 28 different collagen types with different amino acid combinations and structures. Though, only three of them are popular and available in a supplement form. Here are these collagen types:

1.Type I collagen- it’s the dominating collagen type in your body with 90% of it is present in skin, bones, cartilages, and muscles. It’s also the type of collagen which keeps your nails & hair strong and healthy. Besides, it’s also a major component of the tendons, organs, and bones, so taking type I collagen will bring you multipurpose benefits. You may notice that your body is deficient in this collagen type by wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin, and brittle nails.

2.Type II collagen- it’s less prevalent in your body compared to type I but still essential for healthy functioning. Type II collagen is present mainly in your cartilage and bones. It may be essential for those who need to keep their joints in top shape. If you are an active person, then it will ensure healthy joints for any rigorous activity.

3.Type III collagen - it’s the third most common collagen type found generally in reticular fibers, like those found in the bone marrow. Type I collagen is often also present alongside type III, that’s why you can usually find them mixed into one supplement. So if your ‌goal is to protect and strengthen your bones, this type of collagen would be of much help.As you can see, it’d be worth adjusting your collagen choice to your goals if you want to get precise results and notice changes sooner. Now let’s figure out how to pick a perfect supplement with maximum effect for your body.

Tips on how to choose the best collagen supplement for your needs:

  1. Pick collagen options with no additives or side ingredients. Since most collagen supplements are animal products, try choosing the purest forms made from grass-fed animals or wild-caught fish. That way, you’ll minimize your risks of consuming harmful substances along with your supplement. Plus, pure collagen sources are better absorbed by your body.
  2. Prefer hydrolyzed collagen over plain options. Hydrolyzed collagen is a form of this protein, broken down into easy-to-digest, small pieces for better absorption. By taking it, you may help your body deliver collagen to your cells, muscles, and bones quicker and more effectively.
  3. Try plant-based collagen supplements. If you’re a vegan or just want to get the purest source of collagen in your supplement, choose plant-based collagen options. Such supplements don’t deliver collagen straight to your cells. Instead, they assist with collagen production through vitamin C, silica, and various amino acids.
  4. Choose naturally flavored collagen options. Plain collagen has an unpleasant taste and it could be hard to swallow because of the powdered form. So try choosing naturally flavored collagen supplements with fruit or berry taste - then you’d be able to consume them with drinks.
  5. Opt for the right form, adjusted to your circumstances. Most collagen supplements now are available in powder form, which is not convenient to consume. If you get this supplement in a capsule or gummy form, then you’ll be able to carry them in your bag and take them whenever you need them. Though, in this case, you may need to take many pills to fulfill your daily dosage. In turn, if you want to get a sufficient amount of collagen, then the powdered form is your ultimate choice.

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