There are loads of skin health trends at the moment but one that seems really popular is taking collagen supplements. Firstly it’s not just for women, men can benefit from taking collagen too. But it’s a real buzz word and there are so many brands out there. How do you choose one and how does collagen work?
Different ways to take collagen
There are lots of different types of collagen, including:
- Supplements in capsule form
- Liquid collagen
There are also different types of collagen, which is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies that makes up the plumpness of skin and is also found in bones. When we age we naturally lose collagen so the idea of taking it as a health aid is to help prevent signs of skin aging, wrinkles and loss of definition.
Collagen can be made from bovine or marine sources and there are also some vegan collagen products on the market.
Benefits of taking collagen
Depending on what kind of collagen product you take, there can be many benefits, including:
- Injury recovery
- Boost immune system
- Reduce hair loss
- Reduce wrinkles and fine lines
- Plump skins by naturally enhancing your own collagen
- Reduce the signs of aging
The signs of aging are all normal stages of life and I feel we should embrace that, but if there is something that can help you feel just a little bit more youthful, that’s natural, safe and tested… I’m up for a bit of that. Especially after that ravages of TSW, the ultimate free aging filter!
My own collagen experience
This data is purely based on my own experience, not a scientific experiment. I’ve used Pura Collagen twice during my Topical Steroid Withdrawal journey.
- 3 years TSW during my worst flare – at this point I enjoyed using and felt I was doing something positive so in that respect it think it was beneficial. However it’s not a cure for TSW. It didn’t stop my flare or encourage healing. I did begin to see some change but at this point my skin was so intensely flaking, dry and cycling in withdrawal that I felt it wasn’t affordable to continue at that point. I was a walking flake monster and just dove deep into sitting with the healing and not interfering. I like to see the benefits and know if something is helping or not. Interestingly my face is so swollen in the photo above that the wrinkles are not so easy to see through the crust of flakes
- 3.5+ years TSW seeing more typical eczema – as my skin began to heal and my quality of life improved I had the opportunity take part in a trial to test Pura Collagen for three months. I leapt at the chance because I believe this can help. Our skin needs collagen and this begins to reduce as we age, during menopause and particularly was a symptom I experienced in TSW. Steroid withdrawal almost stripped the collagen from my body, causing pouching and sagging skin, particularly on mu face. As the 3 month trial finished I reached the 4 year TSW achievement. Things are definitely improving now and I can really start to see small changes.
Read on for more information about collagen, Pura Collagen and my experience using it.
What is Pura Collagen made from?
I’ve looked at quite a few collagen products and I don’t always understand the ingredients. Lots of weird words, fillers, powders, gums etc. What I love about Pura Collagen is the clean ingredients:
- VERISOL® Hydrolysed Collagen Peptides proven to reduce wrinkles, improve skin elasticity, increase hair thickness and promote faster nail growth. These are bovine sourced.
- Vitamin C, which contributes to normal collagen formation.
- Hyaluronic Acid, which is essential in the body for rejuvenating skin cells and contributes to healthy skin hydration.
- Biotin, which contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and hair.
- Selenium, which contributes to the maintenance of normal nails.
- Zinc, which contributes to the maintenance of normal skin, hair and nails.
- Vitamin D, which contributes to the normal function of the immune system.
So many skin enhancing ingredients, what’s not to like? I think this is the reason I was happy to try this brand, because I have to understand the ingredients. I don’t want to be taking things with fillers, emulsifiers and bulking agents, just give me the goodness.
What is the science behind how collagen works?
The team at Pura Collagen have done their research and chosen peptides to use that are proven to work. Collagen works by reducing wrinkles and increasing dermal matrix synthesis, as well as skin elasticity. One study showed a 60% improvement in those being given Verisol.
In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, the effectiveness of the specific bioactive collagen peptide VERISOL® was assessed on eye wrinkle formation and stimulation of pro collagen I, elastin, and fibrillin biosynthesis in the skin.
114 women aged 45-65 randomly received either VERISOL® or a placebo once a day for 8 weeks. Skin wrinkles were objectively measured in all participants before starting the treatment, after 4 weeks, then 8 weeks, and also 4 weeks post-treatment.
The results found that the ingestion of VERISOL® promoted a statistically significant reduction of eye wrinkle volume in comparison to the placebo group after 4 and 8 weeks of intake. Moreover, a positive long-lasting effect was observed 4 weeks after the last VERISOL® administration. After the full 8 weeks, a 65% increase of procollagen type I, 18% increase of elastin, and 6% increase of fibrillin was found in those who had been taking VERISOL®.
In conclusion, the study findings demonstrate that the oral intake of VERISOL® clearly reduced skin wrinkles and had positive effects on synthesis of the dermal matrix (the middle layer of the skin, in which structure and strength are located).
If you want to do further reading, check out these Collagen Scientific Studies here.
Ways to integrate collagen powder into your diet?
I’ve tried a few ways to use it and all are easy, successful, simple and you can’t taste anything has been added.
- Add to your coffee, tea or any hot drink – it dissolves really well in hot drinks
- In your protein shake or juice – if you can use a flask with a lid and shake well it is dissolved well
- Mix in with porridge, fruit and seeds
- Add to muesli as above
You can either add two scoops or heaped teaspoon fulls into one option above or spread it across the day. I prefer to put it all in my morning coffee and get it done, otherwise I know I’d forget to take it. There is no best way to take it either, it’s not damaged by microwaving or heating so you can put it in anything you like! It needs to be mixed with a liquid though.
For more ideas check out the Pura Collagen.
Look at how cute I am even even sans collagen. 🙂
My own experience using Pura Collagen
Disclaimers first, I was gifted this collagen to trial, but I loved it so much I think I’d like to continue using it. They have a number of products and I feel the Flex product that focuses on muscles and joints might be also beneficial so I’m just working out whether I can afford to do this.
So what did I find?
- Hair – I think I lost less hair, when I brush my hair I lose very little now. I have quite thick hair and used to always have a great brushfull, more so during TSW. That’s definitely been a noticeable difference. I do use hair conditioner (currently using Olsson dry or wet hair conditioner) but my hair feels healthy, strong and soft with very little breakage. I’ve always had quite good hair so this latter point may just be my amazing genes. So hair – very little hair loss now, eyebrows growing back and normal hair that I lost is growing back too.
- Fingernails – I keep mine filed very short to prevent me scratching so I can’t really tell if they’re stronger as I’m not allowing this test to be apparent. However they look shiny! It’s almost like I have clear varnish on them!
- Skin – As mentioned above, I’m now at four years topical steroid withdrawal, so there is a lot going on with my skin. I’m still cycling very mildly through inflammation, redness and then flaking but the flakes are smaller and smaller and focused now on small areas, the creases around my mouth and the crease between my eyes on my brow and my forehead. Healing is going well and it continues to change monthly. I can’t know whether I’d be healing anyway, but my skin heals so fast with each flare and is strong and resilient. This won’t stop you getting eczema flares, or experience TSW healing. These healing cycles have to happen in TSW to regenerate and heal the deep nerve damage. I feel like it’s a supportive supplement, and since I’m also going through the menopause which also causes us to lose collagen, it can only be a good thing.
Overall, it’s an easy supplement to take too. I can detect a light odour when I use it, but I can’t taste it in my morning coffee and I have found it easy to take, and to remember to take. The packaging is really impressive too, really simple, stylish and easy to open, use and store.
The ultimate test is, will I continue taking it? The answer is yes, if I can. Finances may prevent me but I’d like to continue using it and trying the flex one for joints and ligaments, the knee is still healing.
TSW did cause my skin did flare in December and is always worse in winter. Summer and vitamin D seems to really help improve my skin health. I’m not sure if you can see, but my brow area always gets destroyed by TSW and my eyebrows fell out AGAIN. They are now growing back for the fourth time. Thanks TSW… the gift that just keeps on giving.
Comparing the two, I think there are less defined and fewer crows feet, slightly fewer cheek creases, and the deep damaged creases in my forehead are slowly receding. Is this just time and healing? Or is the collagen helping? Who can really say, but it’s such an easy supplement to take.
The light isn’t the same, I’m coming out of a flare in the after photo… but spot the difference. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Just remember my skin is not behaving how normal healthy skin barriers would, there is a lot more going on.
Taking collagen is not going to be an instant eczema cure and nor will it prevent or cure Topical steroid withdrawal. For me, the loss of collagen caused by TSW was one of the hardest side effects. I wouldn’t recommend taking this during serious healing cycles as you probably won’t notice any difference and there is just so much going on.
As you heal, and as you can see changes it has helped me feel like I’m making a difference. I know it just takes time and I have a tendency to want to be in control and intervene to affect change. This can sometimes just mean you spend a lot of money with no idea if it’s helping. It’s so hard to know what to do. I’ll leave the decision with you, this is just my own personal journey.
Things I learnt about taking Pura Collagen
- Taking breaks – With my normal supplements ( I tend to take tinctures) I have breaks to rest my body, switch between products to mix it up and this is good to do. However with collagen, if you stop, you lose the benefits pretty quickly. So you don’t need to take breaks from taking it.
- Dosing – You can take more than one of Pura’s collagen products at one, so you could take two scoops of Glow for skin and hair AND two scoops or Flex for bones and ligaments at the same time. Obviously this costs more and you could experiment, but the optimum dose is two scoops daily.
- Advocates – Both the founder and the team promoting this brand of collagen are firm fans and also take it every day! That’s a great advert for any product. They’re not just selling it, they truly believe in it.
- Community – there is an online community – the Collageneration, that you can join if you start taking it. People share their experiences and swap tips and recipes etc.
- Products – They also do a sleep and menopause collagen supplement. I don’t know as much about these but check out their website for details.
- Transparency – This is also one of the few brands that will share every ingredient and the amounts included so if you are taking any other medication you can check with your GP to ensure Pura is safe for you.
- Not just for men! -Why do we associated collagen with women? Or is that just me? It’s popular with men too. All humans start to lose collagen as they age!
They’re also a really friendly company. Created during lockdown by the owner Jen, it’s a new, vibrant and supportive company who will answer any of your questions, help you work out dosage and explain anything you’re not sure about.
Can you get vegan collagen?
I’ve been asked this by a few people who’ve seen my posts on Pura Collagen on my social media and the quick answer is, no not easily. Vegan collagen – plant based seaweed can be used. I found a few sources:
- Weight World vegan collagen complex – Ingedients: Amla (Phyllanthus Emblica) Powder, Spinach (Spinacia Oleracea) Powder Extract, Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis) Extract, Kefir Probiotics (Coconut Derived), Lemon (Citrus Limon) Extract, Rose (Rosa) Petal Extract, Barley Grass Extract, Pomegranate (Punica Granatum) Powder, Orange (Citrus Sinensis) Peel Extract, Acerola Cherry (Malpighia Emarginata) Extract, Basil (Ocimum Basilicum) Extract, Guava (Psidium Guajava) Extract, Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) Powder, Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Verum) Extract, Sesbania (Sesbania Grandiflora) Extract , Spirulina Extract, Strawberry (Fragaria Ananassa) Powder, Bamboo (Bambusoideae) Shoot Extract , Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae Rhamnoides) Extract, Pink Salt, Acai (Euterpe Oleracea) Berry Extract.
- Bio-Structure liquid vegan collagen – Ingredients: Purified Water, L-Glycine, L-Proline, L-Alanine, L-Hydroxyproline, Sweetener (Glycerol), Thickeners (Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose, Xanthan Gum), Flavouring (Orange Natural flavour), Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid), Preservative (Sodium Benzoate).
Ultimately collagen is something that’s found in mammals, and not in plants. Maybe these products contain plant-based ingredients that can help, but I couldn’t find any studies to back this up. If you are vegan I guess you could try them and see if they work!
There are probably other brands out there, but what I think IS important is checking the ingredients are natural and not stuffed with fillers etc.
Absolute Collagen is one source or marine collagen.
Want to try Pura Collagen?
Go to their website at https://puracollagen.co.uk/ and use code WHATALLERGY10 for 10% off! and let me know how you get on. It is also available in some Holland & Barrett stores at buy one get one half price so go, go go! Get your collagen.
Do you take a collagen supplement?
Has anyone tried collagen? Does it work? Which one do you use? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you guys. I’ve been reviewing my three month trial to see if the before and after photos show any progress (see above). I’m thinking I may experiment with the Flex option that works on joint health more than skin. Joint pain is something that does bother me now as I age more. The Pura Collagen peptides use target different areas! Clever huh!