Is Liquid Collagen More Effective Than Topical Creams?

Collagen Supplements
Collagen Supplement Brands

Collagen is a multimillion-dollar industry on a global scale. But why are so many people interested in purchasing this pricey supplement? It is because there’s a ton of evidence that collagen can reduce wrinkles, improve skin elasticity, and strengthen bone structures. Most importantly, it can help us to become naturally attractive.

In this blog post, I’ll go over the various ways to consume collagen, including ingesting, injecting, and rubbing it onto the skin. Previously, collagen was primarily injected into human lips to make them appear plump and moisturized. However, in recent years, people have begun to consume collagen in new forms to achieve more natural-looking skin.

Forms of collagen supplements
Collagen in different forms (photo by blogger @tedigirl)

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, one of the main components of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Our body produces collagen naturally by combining amino acids (the most important protein compound in food).

Because collagen accounts for more than 30% of our body weight, it is not only beneficial but also essential for a healthier lifestyle. However, science still debates which type of collagen is most effective. While many people believe that topical collagen creams are ineffective, others assume that our bodies can easily absorb liquid collagen.

Still, should we all worry about the level of collagen in our bodies? Obviously, the answer is “No”. This is because collagen levels decline only when we reach a certain age (usually 25). However, stress and other lifestyle conditions can definitely change the age barrier.

Types of proteins and amino acids

Scientific research has identified 28 different types of collagen in the human body. Each type contains different amino acids. Even so, the most common type of collagen found in the human body, is Type 1.

Collagen Type 1 is the building block of human skin, internal organs, and bones. Most collagen products containing this type come from cows, pigs, and fish (marine collagen). This is perhaps sad news for many vegans.

Products with collagen type 1 are commonly used to support healthy skin, strong hair, and nails. We need this protein because as we age, the amount of collagen in our skin starts declining and after the age of 25 our body isn’t able to produce collagen naturally.

Another important type of collagen is Type 3. It is a building block of the intestines, muscles, blood vessels, and uterus. Although most supplements for skin contain a mix of both Collagen Type 1 and 3, Collagen Type 3 has some alternative uses. This type can also support the gut and the strength of our blood vessels.

Video by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Types of collagen products

Collagen products come in different forms and shapes. Best-selling collagen products are available in liquid, hydrolyzed, or capsulized form. Additionally, we can choose from a high range of topical collagen creams, serums, or body lotions. Let me explain the forms in more simple words below:

  • Hydrolyzed collagen – this is just collagen powder. These powders can dissolve well in hot and cold drinks alike. Also, many people prefer to add collagen powder to their coffee or smoothie.
  • Liquid Collagen – it comes in pre-measured small bottles. The taste of collagen drinks is usually pleasant, making it easily drinkable for almost anyone.
  • Capsulized collagen – this is a collagen pill. There are many options for collagen capsules, mainly differing in size and composition (some pills contain alternative amino acids such as Vitamins).
  • Topical products – these are facial creams and body lotions.
  • Serums – liquid products for external use. Facial serums are usually rubbed onto the skin, while the liquid collagen is ingested.

How collagen interacts with our skin?

Before I dive into the main benefits and drawbacks of collagen, I will explain how collagen molecules interact with human skin.

Human skin consists of three layers: hypodermis (red spongy part), derma (middle), and epidermis (visible skin). The dermis is a fibrous structure that contains collagen and elastin, two major prerequisites for beautiful skin. Still, if we want to increase collagen retention, we will need to use external supplements.

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The three layers of human skin: epidermis (top), derma (middle) and hypodermis (bottom)

Chemically, collagen is composed of glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline amino acids (scientifically known as the triple helix). The goal of these molecules is to reach the middle layer of human skin, derma. In order to reach the derma, molecules have to pass through either the epidermis or hypodermis layers of the skin.

Liquid and Capsules: Benefits and Drawbacks

Collagen liquid and powder are ingested internally into the human body. Research claims that the effect of these products is faster because the collagen molecules have the ability to penetrate the hypodermis (internal layer of the skin). However, this is not always the best-case scenario.

While in most cases ingested collagen products can reach the target (derma), there is evidence that other internal conditions may alter the digestion of collagen. This is not always the case, but we can notice if there is a visible effect on our bodies. Under normal circumstances, the effect of collagen should be visible after 4 to 8 weeks of consumption.

If taken correctly and regularly, collagen supplements will reduce wrinkles and give our skin a moisturized look. Additionally, they will support our bone structures and the prevention of other ailments. Collagen, according to science, can prevent arthritis, too.

Topical Products: Benefits and Drawbacks:

Topical collagen products have fewer benefits than liquid ones. According to research, these products are mostly ineffective. Still, many people believe that collagen in facial creams or serums will give them the ultimate good looks.

The criticism of topical products comes from the fact that the size of collagen molecules in creams is too big to penetrate the epidermis, so it can’t reach its main target – the derma. Indeed, many topical products contain a couple of important ingredients. For example, some products may contain a combination of Vitamin C and collagen or glycerin and collagen (among many other combinations).

Here comes the question: “If collagen is mixed with other ingredients, which one of all these additives is actually interacting with our skin?” This is a difficult question to answer. It may be just the Vitamin C that passed through to reach the derma layer of the skin.

Friends And Enemies Of Our Skin

Before discussing the foods rich in collagen, I will mention what main factors are destroying this protein:

  • Stress
  • Sleeping routine
  • Foods high in sugar
  • Alcohol consumption

According to science, stress and irregular sleeping are the main enemies of natural collagen. This is perhaps why some people visibly age faster than others. If you have a sweet tooth, there is also a high chance that your collagen levels will be affected negatively, so avoiding cakes and candy is the best weapon you can think of.

Science also proved that when we become older, our body can’t produce enough collagen in a natural way. To support collagen retention, it is essential to take collagen supplements in any form. However, we can definitely prevent the degradation of collagen by avoiding some dangerous factors.

Many people, especially at a young age, prefer to substitute supplements with natural foods. There is evidence that a lot of foods can boost collagen production in our skin. Some of the most prominent are:

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Egg White
  • Vegetable broth
  • Red and yellow fruits
  • White tea

The Bottom Line

Collagen has numerous advantages and almost no side-effects on our bodies. As we age, we can’t produce this protein naturally. In the meantime, other external factors are destroying it. In order to retain collagen, the best solution is to supplement it from external sources.

Hydrolyzed and liquid collagen products may become our best friends. As such, they will help us achieve healthy-looking skin and strong bones. All of this will be even more efficient if you are persistent and optimistic about it. So, why don’t you give it a try?

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1 Response

  1. June 10, 2022


    thank you for a very good article

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