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. So while there's no definite yes-or-no answer to the "should I take collagen" question, 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.
That's why we unabashed beauty editors have been taking and testing new collagen supplements ever since they first hit the mainstream conversation a few years ago. We're all about prevention and skin health, so why not try something that has the potential to improve our skin? Without further ado, 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, Byrdie's 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, this one doubles as a collagen supplement and a coffee or tea creamer. Byrdie's senior editor Hallie Gould is a fan. "I've read a lot about how consuming collagen orally doesn't really do much for your skin, so it's no secret I was skeptical when I tried Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer. But then our editorial director, Faith, told me the story of its conception: The founder of the company is a runner and found he developed a ton of joint and muscle pain as a result. So much so, he felt he needed to do some research. After mixing a bit of collagen into his coffee each morning, his pain completely went away—which, as a runner, must have been veritably life-changing. So even though there aren't conclusive studies to show what it will do for your skin, this product is good for your body, and that matters to me too."
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 Foods 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."
Sea buckthorn extract, hyaluronic acid, and collagen are all combined in each of these 50 gummy vitamins to hydrate, plump, and boost the skin from the inside out. Managing editor Lindsey Metrus says, "I used to think gummy vitamins were a hoax (they're just too tasty and adolescent), but after religiously taking Olly's Beauty, Skin, and Energy gummies, I'm convinced they're just as effective as a heavy-duty vitamin capsule. The skin gummies, in particular, have helped my complexion look more radiant and suppler over the past few months I've taken them. My skincare routine hasn't changed that much—so I'm convinced they have something to do with the disappearance of fine lines on my forehead."
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.