We know that collagen peptides taken orally are able to cross the intestinal barrier into the bloodstream. From there they will be transported around the body to the lower layers of the skin where they can directly impact the strength of dermal cells.
Science is now finding further reasons why collagen supplements can be a great solution for acne and that’s through its properties as an anti-inflammatory and the connections between the skin and the gut.
Collagen for acne: What's the verdict?
The most common skin problem of all, acne can cause anything from blackheads to cysts and deep pustules that break down adjacent tissue leaving scars. It usually shows up on the face but can also cover the back, chest and shoulders.
Unless there is a topical reason, acne often results from either a hormonal imbalance or problems in the digestive tract. Replenishing collagen levels can often tackle these issues, in turn resolving the acne.
Collagen for acne caused by leaky gut
Many skin conditions originate from problems in the digestive system. Our gut wall - the barrier that keeps toxins from food out of our bloodstream - is only one cell thick and easily damaged. If the gut lining is compromised, inappropriate proteins or toxins can pass through into the bloodstream, setting off an inflammatory reaction which may show up in the skin as acne.
Collagen can heal the gut lining, reducing the risk of leaky gut and poor toxin clearance.
Read more about how collagen can help heal the gut here
Collagen for acne caused by poor gut microbiome diversity
The bacteria in the gut, collectively known as the microbiome, can also cause acne when there is an imbalance due to poor diet, medications, stress or other reasons.
Collagen has been shown to favourably alter the bacterial balance in the gut and may also increase the production of short chain fatty acids, which help feed the beneficial bacteria. However, this effect is dependent on the size and origin of the peptides, which determines their availability to the body.
Using a high quality marine collagen supplement with peptides less than 10kDa in size ensures that the collagen will be absorbable and effective for both the gut and the skin.
Can collagen help with acne scars?
Acne scarring, or keloids often result from chronic inflammation in the lower dermal layer. Collagen works to reduce inflammation throughout the body. It’s also in this deepest skin layer that cystic acne originates, when an infection destroys the skin and fat cells in the infected area, often causing deep scars.
Ensuring you have adequate collagen supplies can help supply the scarred areas with the amino acids it needs to heal and push out the scars so the skin appears smoother.
Collagen for acne caused by inflammation
Inflammation is clearly a frequent contributory factor for acne. One study showed the direct ability of hydrolysed marine collagen peptides to suppress inflammatory proteins such as IGF-1 can help dampen down the likelihood of breakouts and flare ups.
Another study demonstrated that low molecular weight collagen peptides from fish possess high immunomodulatory and antioxidant activity. In this study, it was suggested that the immune modulating effect comes through the effect of the collagen on the gut bacteria - increasing anti-inflammatory bacteria and reducing inflammatory bacteria.
Collagen for acne caused by hormonal balance
The amino acids in collagen can help maintain hormonal balance, especially for cortisol (one of the stress hormones) and oestrogen. Raised cortisol or lower oestrogen levels can cause inflammation, so keeping these two in check can help prevent skin issues.
The glycine in collagen also helps the liver eliminate toxins and excess hormones.
We know that raised cortisol will decrease the production of collagen, but by supplementing with collagen peptides, one study found that this prevented the cortisol from having the same effects, helping to guard the skin and gut against the inflammatory damage of raised cortisol.
Why is marine collagen best for acne?
Marine collagen is almost exclusively made up of Type 1 collagen, which is by far the most abundant type of collagen contained in the dermal layer of the skin. It’s this concentration of type 1 peptides in marine collagen that can support the skin more effectively than other types of collagen derived from pigs or cows where there is a mixture of collagen types. So when you’re working on a skin problem such as acne, marine collagen will give you the best and fastest results.
Collagen Zooki is a 5,000mg hydrolysed marine collagen supplement in 4 fruity flavours (Mango Peach, Berry, Concord Grape & Citrus Lime). The hydrolysed collagen is wrapped in natural lipids to shield the nutrient from the harsh environment of the digestive system and ensure it gets straight into your system.
1. Distribution of prolylhydroxyproline and its metabolites after oral administration in rats
2. Spectrum-Effect Relationships between High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) Fingerprints and the Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Collagen Peptides
3. Role of fish collagen hydrolysate in attenuating inflammation-An in vitro study
4. Bioavailability of bioactive peptides derived from food proteins across the intestinal epithelial membrane
5. AP Collagen Peptides Prevent Cortisol-Induced Decrease of Collagen Type I in Human Dermal Fibroblasts
6. Anti-inflammatory effect of collagen tripeptide in atopic dermatitis
7. Dietary Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides Has a Body Mass Index-Dependent Beneficial Effect on Cellulite Morphology