QDo you recommend oral collagen for your patients? Any data on this?

Gabriela Maloney, DO

Gabriela Maloney, DO

Forefront Dermatology
Brookfield, WI

Oral collagen supplementation is all the rage right now. Some might even say it has replaced tea-tree oil in terms of versatility and praise on the internet. But does it really work and should you recommend it.

There have been many studies, including some randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials, looking at the effect of collagen peptides on skin hydration, elasticity, rhytids and even wound healing. Some studies looked at collagen hydrolysate, other looked at collagen tripeptide and dipeptide (1).

Fish collagen hydrolysates are some of the most studied. They are derived from type I collagen in fish skin and are typically administered as low-molecular weight collagen peptide (LMWCP). Studies in mice demonstrated that it promoted recovery of UVB damaged elastic fibers and collagen fibers in skin. LMWCP appears to decrease expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3 and MMP-13, and activity of gelatinases (MMP-2 and MMP-9). This leads to reduction in trans-epidermal water loss, skin wrinkling and increased skin elasticity by inhibiting breakdown of dermal collagen. LMWCP was also shown to affect regeneration of elastic fibers and collagen, which can lead to improved skin barrier function. LMWCP contains 15% tripeptide (2), and studies have looked at 1 – 3g/day for 4 to 12 weeks, with most improvement noted after the 8 to 12 week mark (1). Collagen supplementation has been shown to be generally safe, with no adverse events reported (1).

More data is needed in order to identify ideal collagen supplement composition and dosing, but the current available data along with the good safety profile is very encouraging. I believe oral collagen could be a good addition to a daily sunscreen, vitamin C and a nightly retinoid, as well as a supplement for patients with chronic non-healing wounds.


  1. Choi et.al. Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019: Jan 1;18(1):9-16.
  2. Kim et.al. Oral Intake of Low-Molecular-Weight Collagen Peptide Improves Hydration, Elasticity, and Wrinkling in Human Skin: A Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2018,10,826;