Does Collagen Help With Acne?

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    Collagen is an essential part of skin health. But its impact on acne is different. Collagen can reduce acne scars and other skin issues.

    What is collagen?

    Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is found in skin, bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. It gives skin and joints their structure, strength and flexibility.

    The body can produce collagen when the essential building materials are available. Collagen is made up of several amino acids, the main three being glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. You can get these amino acids from protein-rich foods like meat, chicken, and beans as well as foods naturally containing collagen, like bone broth. Collagen supplements are also a good source and come in powders and capsules sourced either from animals or even eggshell membranes.

    In addition to the amino acids, vitamin C is needed as a cofactor for collagen synthesis.

    Types of collagen

    Over 28 different types of collagen exist, the most common types being types 1-4.

    • Type I: This is the most abundant type, found in all connective tissue.
    • Type II: This is found in joint cartilage and intervertebral discs (space between portions of the spine).
    • Type III: This provides the supportive mesh in soft tissues such as organs, skin, and blood vessels, and is important in wound healing.
    • Type IV: This is an important structure of the kidneys, inner ear, and lens of the eye.

    What does collagen do?

    In addition to providing structure and strength to connective tissues, collagen also plays a key role in keeping skin moisturized and supple. Furthermore, it helps with healthy hair and nail growth. For example, one study found that 2.5 g of collagen supplementation daily boosted nail growth and improved brittle nails.

    Benefits of collagen for skin health

    Nutrition is known to have a major influence in skin health. Collagen has become a popular supplement for skin and beauty care – and with good reason! Let’s dig into the benefits of collagen for healthy skin.

    Enhances skin hydration

    As we age, collagen breakdown naturally increases; this can start happening as early as age 25.

    Research has shown that taking collagen regularly can help reinforce the skin's natural moisture barrier, support elasticity, and help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. One study showed improvements in skin hydration with daily intake of 10 g of collagen over 8 weeks. Collagen gives strength to the skin to enable it to hold more water and maintain hydration.

    Boosts skin elasticity

    Flexible, elastic skin is essential for reducing the formation of wrinkles. Numerous studies like this one report improvements in skin elasticity with supplementation of collagen peptides.

    When considering eye wrinkle appearance in particular, researchers found that women who ingested 2.5g of collagen peptides over 8 weeks had an average of 20% reduction in eye wrinkle volume compared to placebo. Better yet, a significant reduction was found in as little as four weeks.

    In addition to wrinkles, results are also promising for the use of oral collagen supplements for wound healing and alleviating skin aging.

    What causes acne?

    Acne is one of the most common skin conditions. Occasional outbreaks of acne can be caused by several factors, the most common being hormonal changes. Fluctuations in hormones can lead to increased sebum production, which helps the naturally occurring bacteria on the skin called Cutibacterium acnes to grow. This bacteria can convert sebum into free fatty acids, which can provoke acne formation.

    Many studies have also found connections to low levels of certain nutrients in people with acne compared to those without. However, no consensus exists on the exact relationship between diet and acne. Fat soluble vitamins A, D, and E may play a helpful role in skin health and reducing the presence of acne.

    Gut health may also play a role in the presence of acne in some individuals. Research shows that people with acne tend to have key differences in their levels of gut bacteria compared to those without acne. Modulation of the gut microbiome through diet, lifestyle, and probiotics may indirectly influence the skin microbiome. However, research is still preliminary.

    The best advice is to discuss skin concerns with a dermatologist for customized recommendations that can address underlying issues.

    Does collagen help with hormonal acne?

    Skin health involves many different factors, including the strength of skin and the health of the skin microbiome. Collagen is important for maintaining strong, flexible, and hydrated skin, and collagen supplements can support this. However, there is no evidence that collagen is a solution for acne.

    Can collagen help with occasional blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples?

    All acne, blackheads, whiteheads, milia, pimples, and breakouts begin as pore blockage. While there is no way to truly change pore size or open or close pores, a healthy daily skincare routine can help keep pores clean.

    Collagen does not help prevent or manage poor blockage and acne, but it may help to make pores appear smaller. As you age, your body produces less collagen, which can lead to pores that appear looser and larger. Collagen supports skin firmness, which can firm up the skin around your pores.

    Can collagen help with acne scars?

    Scars on the skin may be left over from past wounds or acne. When skin heals, hyperpigmentation can occur in which the healed skin is darker than the original skin color.

    Collagen supplementation is not known to change the appearance of acne scars. However, several options are available for reducing the appearance of acne scars. These include dermal fillers, microneedling, chemical peels, and laser treatments.

    One option called percutaneous collagen induction, or sometimes referred to as dermarolling or microneedling (which involves creating microscopic wounds in the skin to stimulate skin healing and promote collagen production), was studied, and participants showed improvements in the appearance of acne scars after 3 sessions.

    How much collagen a day should I take for skin health?

    Numerous studies have used collagen at varying dosages with good benefits. While the science is still emerging and dosage may vary based on desired health benefit, the general range of collagen dose for therapeutic effect is 2.5 g to 15 g per serving.

    The best type of collagen is hydrolyzed collagen which has been broken down into amino acids to enhance absorption and use of collagen in the body.

    Other remedies for acne

    Acne is a frustrating skin condition and should always be addressed by your dermatologist. But there are numerous options and nutrients to discuss with your dermatologist that may help with promoting healthy skin.

    Nutrients and oral supplements that may help with skin health include:

    • Magnesium
    • Zinc
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin D
    • B vitamins
    • Fish oil
    • Probiotics

    Additional skincare and lifestyle options include:

    • Topical vitamin A creams
    • Daily skincare routine
    • Light therapy or other treatments
    • Topical solutions that target sebum production.
    • Nutrition
    • Exercise

    When to seek medical attention for acne

    While there are many do-it-yourself options to help manage acne, seeking the help of a dermatologist is best in several situations, which may include:

    • If you’ve tried everything to clear your acne but nothing seems to work
    • Recurring breakouts
    • Deep, painful acne or acne cysts and nodules
    • Breakouts after starting a new medication or cream for acne
    • Scarring or dark spots after acne clears


    Wrinkles are a fact of life as we age. A major factor in age-related wrinkles is the reduced production of collagen with aging. With less new collagen formation and more collagen breakdown, skin can lose its strength, elasticity, and hydration, leaving skin looser, thinner, and drier.

    Some people may want to reduce the appearance of wrinkles for aesthetic purposes. Regular collagen supplementation has been shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, including eye wrinkles by helping to strengthen the skin and improve skin hydration.


    Cellulite is fat that gathers in between pockets of connective tissue just beneath the top layer of skin, pushing against the skin surface and appearing as bulges and dimples. While cellulite is not a health concern, some people may want to reduce its appearance.

    Women approaching or in menopause are particularly susceptible to having more cellulite. As women age, estrogen levels begin to decline. Experimental data show that estrogen may protect skin cells against oxidative damage. When estrogen levels plummet in menopause, the increase in oxidative stress can lead to less collagen in skin, resulting in skin that is thinner, less elastic, drier, and more wrinkled.

    Collagen supplementation can help reduce cellulite appearance through strengthening the connective tissue so that fat does not bulge through. Participants in a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study noticed improvements in skin and cellulite appearance after supplementing with 2.5 g bioactive collagen peptides daily for 6 months.

    The most common options people consider to help manage cellulite include weight management, exercise, laser and radio frequencies, and topical treatments such as retinol cream however the research concludes there is no one truly effective treatment.

    Dry skin

    Collagen can help boost skin hydration by maintaining more water content in the skin tissue. Hydrated skin can help skin feel soft and elastic. One study showed that after 12 weeks of collagen supplementation skin water loss decreased and skin water content increased. The researchers attributed the improvements in skin water content to collagen creating an increase in natural moisturizing factor.

    What claims about collagen aren't supported by evidence?

    With the rise in collagen popularity has come claims that don’t have clear backing by science.

    Myth 1: All collagen is created equal.

    Truth: Quality matters. Look to buy supplements from companies that have high quality standards for sourcing their ingredients. Choose non-GMO products, and opt for grass-fed forms of collagen if from bovine sources. Care/of collagen powders are sourced from grass-fed cows in New Zealand.

    Myth 2: Collagen can treat acne or other skin conditions.

    Truth: In reality, collagen is needed to maintain healthy skin, joints, cartilage, gut health, and overall optimal health. But it cannot treat acne or other skin conditions.

    Skin is our largest organ, so it is important to take care of it. You can care for your skin in the following ways:

    • Stay hydrated
    • Keep your skin clean and moisturized
    • Protect it from excessive UV or sun exposure by using sun block or sun protective clothing
    • Consider using antioxidants topically, if appropriate

    Myth 3: Collagen only comes from beef and fish.

    Truth: Care/of offers both bovine sources as well as groundbreaking eggshell membrane derived collagen that is suitable for vegetarians.

    Final takeaways

    Collagen has numerous documented benefits for skin health, but it does not have known benefits to managing acne. A good skincare routine, healthy diet and lifestyle, and care from a dermatologist are great options for helping to manage acne. Collagen can help with skin elasticity, hydration, and firmness, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Victoria Peck-Gray, RD
    Freelance Contributor
    Victoria is a registered dietitian and functional nutritionist who helps people with resistant weight loss and PCOS transform their metabolic health and lose weight through a functional nutrition and lifestyle approach that addresses root causes. She is owner of her private practice, Wonderfully Made Nutrition and also leads her group metabolic coaching program for women called The 4 Method.