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Everyone wants youthful skin. But these popular supplements may not be the answer.

Instead, experts provide their recommendations on other ways and products to keep skin looking healthy and toned.

SAN ANTONIO — Have you noticed ads for collagen supplements all over your social media? You’re not alone. The pills, powders, liquids and creams seem to be the latest push from the beauty industry that promise to improve your skin, hair and so on. 

But do these supplements actually work? 

Annabelle Garcia, the owner of Sonterra Dermatology, said there’s a reason people want more collagen. 

“Collagen is a protein that is in our skin and our joints, in all parts of our body, and that is essentially what makes us appear youthful,” Garcia said. “As we age, we start losing collagen, starting in our 20s and 30s. That is the hallmark of the aging process: that loss of volume, loss of collagen.” 

Kimberly Finder, of Sanova Dermatology, said collagen is a hugely important protein. 

“It makes up about 25 to 30% of our protein in our body and about 75% of our skin,” Finder said. “We want more of it, especially for the skin, because our collagen does deteriorate over time. And when our collagen deteriorates, our skin is going to look more wrinkled and less taut and toned and firm.” 

Credit: KENS

Taking a supplement to restore the collagen you’re losing sounds like a simple fix. Garcia said good research is starting to be conducted, but she believes more data is needed to back up the claims many brands are making. 

“As a dermatology community, we're still on the fence,” she said. “We're waiting for that cutting-edge research study.” 

Finder also pointed out that some of the studies could be biased. 

“When I looked at the literature just recently, it just showed that there really weren't that many studies,” Finder said. “Less than about 20, all of them very small and almost all of them had either partial or full funding from supplement companies.” 

Garcia added that FDA doesn’t regulate collagen supplements either. Companies such as Vital Proteins, Live Conscious and Essential Elements tend to include this disclaimer after listing the benefits of collagen products: "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration."

“That’s why I tell my patients, "Don't just read what's on the bottle, because it doesn't mean that it's doing what it's supposed to do,'" Garcia said. 

Credit: KENS

While she doesn’t recommend collagen supplements, she doesn’t steer her patients away from them entirely either. 

“I would say the jury's still out," she said. "However, for the most part, collagen oral supplements are very well-tolerated and low-risk,” Garcia said. “So I say, "If you like it and you see an improvement, why not?" But are we recommending it as a dermatology community? Not yet.” 

Plan B options

Instead, both Garcia and Finder focus on recommending other products to their patients—products that have decades of research behind them. 

“First, wear a high-quality sunscreen every single day. Mineral sunscreen preferably, every day, no matter what—rain or shine,” Finder said. “Also, we know that retinoids work. So Tretinoin, which is prescription, and retinols, which are over-the-counter.” 

“There are wonderful products that contain hyaluronic acid, retinol, antioxidants, Vitamin C,” Garcia added. “Those are good topical regimens that have helped skin texture and tone, and do stimulate collagen and make people appear more youthful.” 

Once you perfect your daily skincare routine, Finder and Garcia said you can explore other options to keep you looking your best. Both Sanova Dermatology and Sonterra Dermatology offer a range of services to improve your skin. 

“You should go see your dermatologist if you're interested in good, healthy skin,” Finder said. “Get the prescriptions you need if you want to be on a prescription. Then, do things like repolish your skin and refurbish your skin with some laser procedures or radiofrequency procedures. We know those things will give you better, healthier skin.” 

Credit: Sanova Dermatology

To sum it up, Garcia and Finder said the money you would spend on collagen supplements could be better spent elsewhere. To learn how you can better care for your skin, make an appointment with a trusted dermatologist who can walk you through the process. 

To connect with Kimberly Finder from Sanova Dermatology, click here. To reach out to Annabelle Garcia with Sonterra Dermatology, click here