More DW Blogs DW.COM

Women Talk Online

A forum for women to talk to women

In the name of beauty: Do collagen-based products work?

Let’s face it; the majority of women want to look good.

Whether you are someone who would never be caught dead without full makeup, or you’re comfortable walking around with just a layer of lip gloss, like most of us, you too are likely to sigh at brown spots and frown at fine lines.

Although some women readily go under the knife in their attempts to look better, those who prefer less abrasive methods inevitably place their hope in skincare products.

The beauty business is a thriving industry. Statista, a leading statistics company on the Internet, recently reported that between 2012 and 2017, the retail value of the beauty and personal care market in Western Europe had increased massively. The market value reached 83.5 billion euros in 2016.

An increasingly popular ingredient of many skincare products – from day moisturizers, night creams to serums – is collagen.

Collagen is the main structural protein in the various connective issues of animal bodies, such as  skin, bones, cartilage and ligaments. It provides strength and elasticity.

With age, collagen production slows down, and this worsens if you smoke, are overexposed to UV rays or consume too much sugar.

Enter various creams containing collagen that, when applied to skin, claim to boost or stimulate the skin’s natural collagen production to plump it up, hence reducing fine lines, wrinkles and sagging.

Sounds good, right? Except that there is one key problem; collagen molecules are simply too big to be absorbed by our skin. Period.

Such creams may moisturize skin, keeping it hydrated and making it look more supple. >But this has nothing to do with their collagen content.

Aside from skincare products, the market is also flooded with various food items that contain collagen – from beverages, cereal bars or supplements – that all claim to make you look good.

However, this raises an eyebrow because the collagen itself will be subjected to stomach acid.

American author and beauty expert Paula Begoun, popularly known as The Cosmetics Cop, explains it this way: “When you drink collagen (and the commercial preparations usually contain fish collagen), the body’s digestive system breaks it down just like it does any other protein, so it cannot reach your skin as intact collagen. There is no scientific research proving that drinking collagen can affect one wrinkle, spot, or pore on your face.”

A few years ago, an article in The Guardian presented a similar argument, saying that, so far, studies had not conclusively ingested collagen to fewer wrinkles.

All is not lost, however, as other studies highlight that consuming natural, whole foods could be the simplest answer to sagging skin. lists a number of nutrients that support collagen formation in our body, including proline – found in egg whites, meat, cheese and soy – and anthocyanins, found mostly in raspberries, cherries, blueberries and blackberries.

Vitamins A and C are also good for our collagen production, as does copper, which is found in shellfish, nuts and meat.

So what are you waiting for? A trip to the market or grocery store is all you need for better looking skin. And don’t forget to slather on some sunblock and stub out those cigarettes!


Author: Elle Wong

Editor: Anne Thomas



17.02.2018 | 16:11