Don’t be fooled by collagen supplements

Collagen supplements don’t work. But there are topical products that can naturally boost collagen production in the dermis. 

Collagen is a naturally-occurring chemical in our bodies that contributes to skin elasticity, and some are turning to collagen supplements to attain beautiful skin. Treatment with these dietary supplements is meant to help heal and repair the skin, but can also help with damaged bones, cartilages, and joints, because collagen is present in many connective tissues of the body. Before you spend money on a supplement, keep in mind that they’re not really a miracle drug, and collagen supplements do carry a risk of side effects.

How do Collagen Supplements Work?

Collagen is a protein that occurs naturally in the connective tissues of the body. This structural protein is necessary to keep skin tight, as its fibers connect together to tighten skin and allow the skin to bounce back easily after it is pulled. But as you age, your body starts to produce less of it, leading to sagging skin. The added intake of this protein through collagen supplements may help the body regenerate itself more quickly, by providing it with the necessary building blocks for tissue repair, including achieving tighter skin. These are usually made from processed animal tissues, and are broken down in your body into amino acids and peptides when they are ingested.

Benefits of Collagen Supplements

Although some collagen supplements claim to provide drastic results, including skin improvements, healthier hair, reduction of dark spots on face, and ability to get rid of wrinkles, keep in mind that your body already has a lot of this protein. Therefore, don’t expect instant or amazing results. Just like your car will not show amazing improvements just because you changed the oil, you won’t suddenly achieve beautiful skin overnight from taking a couple of pills.

Possible Side Effects 

The most commonly reported side effects of taking any type of collagen supplement are hypercalcemia, constipation, bone pain, fatigue, abnormal heart rhythms, and hypersensitivity to allergens or food.
With hypercalcemia, for example, these supplements may give the body too much calcium, which may lead to pain in the joints. It is also possible to be allergic to collagen supplements, because animal collagen is not exactly the same as human collagen. Before taking any supplements, make sure to talk to your skin care specialist about any possible side effects unique to your health history.

Related: Best skin care products

Counter-indications of Collagen Supplements

If you tend to have allergic reactions easily, it may be a good idea to stay away from even the best collagen supplements. Anyone who has such sensitivities may have an adverse reaction to pills containing this ingredient, especially during first time use. As already mentioned, the peptides and collagen in these pills are derived from animals, and your body may not be used to them. Otherwise, collagen supplements may cause an allergic reaction that can make the skin look worse and cause unnecessary discomfort and a trip to the doctor’s office.

Types of Ways to take Collagen Supplements

Collagen can be added into the body in several different ways including: injections, pills with collagen supplements, and a hydrolyzed form of this protein. Each way has a different purpose and achieves different results.

For example, injected collagen is meant to add this protein to specific areas, like the lips or cheeks, to get rid of wrinkles. Dietary collagen supplements pills, on the other hand, don’t have a localized effect on any specific part of the body. Instead, they are meant for overall health, for people who would like stronger bones, cartilages, and joints. Hydrolyzed collagen is somewhat different because it is collagen that’s been broken down into peptides, which are easier to absorb by the body. As you research collagen supplements, or even consider injections, keep in mind that this isn’t a miracle substance, and is meant only for temporary improvement the skin.

Related: Everything you need to know about crow’s feet

Do collagen supplements work? 

Collagen supplements don’t work.

Free radicals and harmful UV rays damage collagen production. Therefore, We recommend supplements that boost the skin’s natural defense mechanisms instead of collagen supplements. We like Pycnogenol and other forms of marine algae.

Highly Recommended Skin Care Line
Our #1 recommendation is the Advanced Dermatology skin care regimen. Find out more. Click here. 

The Best Products


  1. Shannon Gatteri

    I started taking a collagen powder protein mix as suggested by a friend with the same autoimmune issues that I have. I took it for a week twice a day. I noticed that I was terribly itchy everywhere. I started wondering if I had scabies or something. I had no rash, not visible marks on my skin. After a bit I wondered if it was the supplement so I stopped taking it. The itching stopped. I’ve been searching the internet to see if itching is a side effect of collagen, nothing found until I came across this site.

  2. Carol

    I started taking collagen powder peptides about 2 weeks ago. I feel great while taking it. I wanted it for skin as well as for degenerative disks, aches & pains. (I’m a 61 yr women) i like to have a beer or 2 in the evenings and when I do i break out into a rash on my neck and face….hot & swells. Anyone have any idea of the connection. I hate to give up either thing 😞

  3. Zoe

    I’ve been taking Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate for 3 months. My skin is incredibly soft after the second month (what a nice bonus). It’s powder and doesn’t taste all that good, but I mix it with about a cup of water and just drink it down like a big girl (I’m 68 years old) right before bed. It will help a lot with falling asleep too. Started taking it for hip pain and plantar fasciitis surgery gone bad. I also take B6 for the pain also. The pain is far, far less than it used to be and I swear I feel stronger (like more put together). Also no itching at all.

  4. Sheila

    I tried one dose of Marine collagen, supposedly very high quality, to help my nails, hair, and skin. My hormone specialist recommended this therapy. Unfortunately, approcimately 15-20 minutes after I ingested it I experienced tingling in my left leg and very rapid heart rate. It scared me to death. I guess it’s not for me. I had complete cardiovascular work up in January. My heart is fine.

  5. Cybilla

    I was talking an expensive liquid collagen with peptide, I found Sanar Collagen at Walmart and it works just as good to me. I had my 26 y/o daughter start taking it and our skin looks amazing. Everyone thinks I am wearing makeup. And family members have their friends guess my age. Lol

  6. Chris Dunn

    I tried taking Collagen supplements that I purchased from to alleviate my hip arthritis discomfort but they really aggravated my non-arthritic knees and I was in serious pain for a while. The pain subsided after stopping the supplement. A couple of years later after having had both hips replaced I decided to experiment with resuming taking the Collagen. Within a couple of days I started experiencing arrhythmia which was very discomforting. I stopped taking the Collagen and it took a good couple of days for my heart to settle down again. Needless to say I have decided to stay away from Collagen from now on!

  7. Christopher

    My experiences with using collagen have been fantastic. The stiffness that I have felt in my bones for years is all but gone. I get out of bed in am with no pain or stiffness. Been using for 6 months, about 3 weeks in i began to feel the difference. No problems with itchy skin.

  8. Tristram Shorter

    Hi, my doctor recommended I should take a collagen supplement to help with my tendinopathy. But I know that collagen is just another type of protein, composed of hundreds of different amino acids (19, according to one site). When this collagen passes through my digestive system, it will get broken down into individual amino acids, in order to be absorbed. What garantee is there my body will use these amino acids to generate collagen? I would have thought this would only make a difference if I happened to be short on amino acids, which I strongly suspect is not the case. Would it not be a lot cheaper, and agreable, to just eat a good beaf steak instead of buying these expensive pills?

  9. carla

    Ive started taking neo cuticles brand collagen for after surgery and although its been one week, I seem to healing a bit faster, than before I was taking this supplement.
    i don’t seem to have any itchy skin as above, but I have noticed my “poo” is lighter color than usual. I plan to keep taking the supplement tailwind is healed.

  10. Me

    As someone who is going to steer well clear of Botox and such unnatural ways to keep young. I will be taking such supplements for the duration. Can anyone tell me if collagen causes itchy skin? I have been taking supplements since I turned 30 in 2013 and lately been getting very itchy skin.

    • April

      I thought it was just me! I’ve been taking Collagen supplements (even just a half-dose daily) for almost 2 months. In the last 3-4 weeks, I have a spot on my neck that I keep finding myself reaching to scratch. But there is NOTHING there — no rash, no bug bite, nothing. In the last few days, I’ve found a spot on my index finger with the same type of subtle “itchy” feeling. Thought it was my imagination, but maybe not. Although, I do really think my face looks every so slightly better, fresher — I’ll keep taking the supplements for now.

  11. ame

    I don’t have problem of my body skin and bones my problem is I have more dark spots on my face I did laser and still the same no improvement im so disappointed to see in the mirror , is this good for me to use collagen supplement .

    • Anonymous

      I’ve been looking all over for side effects of collagen. This is the first site that mentions anything. Since starting, I have felt like my skin is crawling and it’s vey itchy for a while after taking another dose. Then it goes away till the next dose. No rash or anything else though, so I am going to try it for at least 90 days. I am just going into my 2nd month, so we’ll see.

  12. India

    I would say that collagen supplements are preferable to having injections done because it is naturally stimulating your bodies own collagen. Where do they get collagen for injections?

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