Collagen for skin care

by Hannah de Gruchy November 20, 2022

Collagen for skin care

Collagen is an important structural protein, in fact, it is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is found within the connective tissues of the skin, bones, tendons, ligaments and joints, providing structure to these tissues and allowing movement.

Despite this protein’s importance, as we age, our natural collagen reserves begin to deplete. Whilst this isn’t dangerous, it does lead to the tell-tale signs of ageing including fine lines and wrinkles.

Collagen supplements are a popular choice for those wishing to support their natural collagen levels and help reduce the visible signs of ageing.

Collagen for skin: fast facts

  • Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and is found in the skin, bones, joints and soft tissues.
  • It’s the most abundant protein in the human body and plays an important supportive role, providing structure and preventing damage to the skin.
  • As we age, we naturally produce less collagen which can result in visible signs of ageing including drooping skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.
  • Of the 20 types of collagen, collagen types I and III are found most abundantly in the skin.
  • Collagen supplements that support the skin can be made from both bovine and marine sources. Hydrolysed collagen derived from either source, is the best type for your skin.

What are the benefits of collagen for the skin?

Collagen helps to cushion the joints, supporting the role of the cartilage that prevents the bones from painfully rubbing against each other. In the skin, collagen plays a different role – it helps to keep the skin visibly youthful.

Collagen skin detail

Collagen acts as a type of biological ‘scaffold’ at a microscopic level, forming a criss-cross pattern of fibres. The skin sits on this scaffold where it remains lifted and plump. As part of the normal ageing process, from around our mid-20s, we begin to lose the ability to manufacture collagen. This process is gradual until we reach our late 30s and early 40s when it becomes more rapid.

A significant loss of collagen results in this scaffold losing stability and structure. The skin above these weak points then begins to droop downwards into the gaps. This then results in the common, tell-tale signs of ageing – fine lines, wrinkles, drooping, and sagging.

Collagen supplements can help to top up our levels of collagen, which in turn can help to slow down the ageing process.

Perhaps the most significant benefit of collagen supplements is seen in the face – where the visible signs of ageing are usually most pronounced. However, collagen supplements can help to support levels all over the body, including the neck, hands, décolletage, and other common areas that can reveal our true age.

What types of collagen supplements are best for the skin?

There are a few different sources of collagen, the one you choose to take will depend on your own reasoning. Most collagen supplements are derived from animal sources, although there are some, newer, types of collagen supplements made from algae that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Pure Bovine Collagen Powder - Planet Paleo

The two main types of animal-derived collagen supplements are bovine collagen and marine collagen. Bovine collagen is derived from the bones of cows (as well as bison, antelope and yaks, although these are less common) and marine collagen is made using the skin, fins, bones and scales of fish.

As well as different sources of collagen, there are different collagen types, around 20 in all. The main types are types I, II and III. Collagen types I and III are most abundant in the skin, while collagen type II is found in the joints along with type I.

Bovine collagen is abundant in types I and III whilst marine collagen is rich in types I and II. For this reason, if you’d like to take collagen supplements, bovine collagen is your best option.

Studies show that bovine collagen can help to increase elasticity and promote better hydration, both of which can lead to more youthful-looking skin.

Marine Collagen Powder - Planet Paleo

That said if you prefer to avoid meat, but eat fish, marine collagen can still be beneficial. It provides collagen type I that’s abundant in the skin, but also supports good moisture levels. Marine collagen supplements are the preferred choice for some people, as they’re absorbed into the bloodstream faster than those made from bovine sources. 

To enhance the potential benefits to your skin, it’s also worth considering a type of collagen called hydrolysed collagen. Non-hydrolysed collagen has a large molecular size as it’s made up of long, complex chains of amino acids, meaning that it isn’t easily digested.

Hydrolysed supplements have been made from collagen that’s undergone a process called hydrolysation. Supplements containing hydrolysed collagen are more easily digested.

Studies show that in those taking hydrolysed collagen supplements, levels of collagen in the bloodstream are higher. In turn, the skin is more elastic and moisturised and able to retain more water.

Both bovine and marine collagen supplements are available as hydrolysed collagen.

How to supplement the skin with collagen

Whether you take hydrolysed bovine collagen or hydrolysed marine collagen is a personal choice. However, whichever type you decide to take, it’s worth choosing the highest quality supplement you can find.

Hydrolysed collagen powder scoop

Bovine collagen supplements made from organically reared, grass-fed cows are considered the best type of bovine collagen. Pure collagen powder from Planet Paleo is made using the bones of grass-fed cows and is free from pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics. Gluten and lactose-free, it’s rich in collagen types I and III with zero added ingredients or artificial fillers or binders.

In the same way, marine collagen supplements for the skin are considered best when they’re made using wild, sustainably caught fish. Marine collagen from Planet Paleo is ethically sourced and easy to digest. Like all Planet Paleo products, it’s also free from artificial ingredients and fillers and is gluten- and lactose-free.

Collagen supplements can be safely taken every day and you should follow the serving size instructions provided with each pack. Studies suggest that you should take collagen supplements daily for at least eight weeks before you begin to notice any visible results.

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Hannah de Gruchy
Hannah de Gruchy


Health and wellness author and biologist specialised in sustainability, nutrition and eco-living.

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