Given that collagen is the main building block of skin and is responsible (along with hyaluronic acid and elastin) for keeping your skin looking plump and firm, it's no surprise that companies are coming up with more and more ways to incorporate it into your beauty routine. While collagen injections can get pricy, and collagen infused creams are essentially ineffective (the collagen molecule is too large to be absorbed topically through the skin), ingesting the best collagen powders for skin seems to be more promising.
"Collagen is mostly found in fibrous tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and the dermis of the skin, where it acts as a structural scaffold," says Dawn Thorpe Jarvis, MS, RD, LDN, and senior director of nutrition science and educational content at Garden of Life. "It's also abundant in the cornea of the eye, cartilage, bones, blood vessel walls, the gut lining, intervertebral discs in our backbone, and in teeth and nails," she says of its importance, adding, "As we age, the body's ability to make collagen diminishes significantly starting at around age 30."
How Is Ingesting Collagen Good For Your Skin?
Ingestible forms of collagen claim to boost production back up (they also may help ease joint pain and help build muscle, because collagen is such a high source of protein). But because the scientific studies on the supplements are so new, there is some debate. Many dermatologists point out that when you ingest collagen, your stomach acids break down the proteins before they reach the skin. Jarvis notes that you can still ensure skin care benefits, though — as long as you know what to look for.
How To Choose The Best Collagen Powder For Your Skin?
"Look for collagen peptides which are predigested so the body can absorb them easily," she says. "Look for the big three amino acids — glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline — in appreciable amounts," she adds, explaining that these are the most important amino acids found in collagen.
"Only buy from a reputable clean source that is third party-tested," Jarvis says when looking for a collagen powder. Certifications from the NSF or USP are what you should look for, because supplements aren't closely regulated by the FDA. These third party seals generally mean the product in question contains the ingredients advertised on the label and not any dangerous substances. And of course, before adding any sort of supplement to your diet, always consult with a doctor or health care provider first.
While further research is needed to determine the full benefits of ingesting collagen, ahead, you'll find four of the best collagen powders for your skin— including Jarvis' pick — to get you started.
1. The Best Collagen Powder For Skin, According To Amazon Users
With nearly 5,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, the Sports Research Collagen Peptides powder is undoubtedly a fan favorite. The collagen in this powder is sourced from grass-fed cows, and is third party-certified by the Paleo and Keto Foundation, in addition to being non-GMO verified and free of dairy and gluten. Sports Research contains hydrolyzed collagen to make it easier to digest, and because it's unflavored, you can stir it into everything from room temperature water to yogurt.
"After 45 days, I can tell you that this stuff is magic," writes one Amazon user. "My skin is soft, supple, and much firmer over my whole body. This product has improved the texture/hydration of my face," they add. Others note that it helps with hair and nail growth, as well as clearing up acne and even lessening joint pain. One user with chronic knee pain and tendinitis of the wrist shares that after a month of use, "I noticed my hair was stronger, my skin was bright and soft, but the biggest difference was my pain had subsided."
2. Best Flavored Collagen Powder
Jarvis' pick, Garden Of Life's Collagen Beauty Powder, comes in a sweet strawberry lemonade flavor that delivers 20 grams of collagen peptides. "It's non-GMO tested and certified, keto-certified, paleo-friendly, and gluten-free," Jarvis says of the product's clean ingredients. It's also third party-tested by the NSF, and it includes CFU probiotics to help with digestion as well. Their beauty formula also includes biotin, silica, and vitamin C to target hair, skin, and nails, while collagen types I and III also support hair, skin, and nails, as well as muscles and blood vessels.
"I use cold water, add everything to the shaker [bottle] and shake away," one Amazon user notes on how they use the powder. "It dissolves completely that way, [and] the taste is light, without a fake sugar aftertaste — it really does taste like strawberry lemonade."
3. Another Flavorless Option From A Cult-Favorite Brand
One of the most popular brands for collagen products is Vital Proteins, and their Collagen Peptides Powder is said to be a favorite of actress Jennifer Anison. Like the other collagen powders on this list, Vital Proteins contains the "big three" amino acids Jarvis recommends looking for — glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline — in addition to 20 grams of collagen per serving. Sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine, the collagen is also Whole30- and paleo-friendly, non-GMO, and free of dairy, gluten, preservatives, and hormones.
One fan of the product writes, "I've been using it religiously for about three months every morning blended up in my smoothies … I've noticed my skin is tighter, my hair is softer, and my nails are stronger." Another raves, "My skin looks more supple, glowing, and [the] overall texture is smoother."
4. Best For Travel
If you're traveling, or simply want a collagen powder you don't have to measure out yourself, the Bulletproof Collagen Protein GoPack contains 15 pre-packaged servings that make it easy to whip up on-the-go. The hydrolyzed collagen powder in these packets is sourced from pasture-raised cows, and the brand notes that it's completely flavorless, odorless, and clump-free when mixing into drinks.
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