If you’re someone who is concerned about your skin’s health, you’re more than likely looking for ways to help reinvigorate it as you age. Plenty of products sit on shelves (alongside supplements) promising to help you stop the signs of aging, and keep your skin more supple. And now chewable collagen has entered the fray, promising people results for better, radiant, youthful skin.

But is chewable collagen an actual thing now? With so many treatments available, it’s hard to tell whether you should choose it as an alternative. So let’s have a look at what it is, and whether it’s what you need.

Before we start delving into the finer details of chewable collagen, let’s start looking at what collagen is.

Basically, collagen makes up 30% of human protein. It’s responsible for cell regeneration, suppleness and firmness – in summary it’s connective tissue that holds our bodies together.  More specifically, it deals with your skin layers’ health. Interesting enough, our collagen levels are at their most adept when we’re in our childhood and teen years. It eventually peaks as we jump into the 20 and 30 age ranges, and declines thereafter.

So much is responsible for the decline of collagen, especially hormones. However, other elements can speed up the process of collagen degeneration. This is mainly damage due to sun exposure, but habits such as smoking and your diet, and contaminants such as pollution, can contribute to its health.

For women, the post menopause period is where collagen declines rapidly. This is because there has been a degeneration of estrogen, which supports collagen through receptors existing all over the body and is activated by estrogen molecules. As a result of estrogen degeneration, the skin loses its elasticity, forming wrinkles and loss of skin tone. This may happen to a woman in her late 20s.  

The consumption of collagen is nothing new. Dermatologists have long prescribed treatments that contain collagen for people who would like their skin to retain its elasticity. Treatments have included topical products that have elements such as retinoids, vitamin c and copper peptides, which stimulate the production of collagen. Alternatively, some have turned to skin procedures such as laser treatments and chemical peels, which help with the synthesis of collagen.

So the introduction of chewable collagen was bound to happen. The good news is that most dermatologists say it can’t harm the body. In fact, the body is very capable of absorbing it, breaking it down into amino acids, and not consuming it as collagen in its totality. Where opinions differ is in chewable collagen’s capability to actually revitalise skin elasticity.

A controlled study in 2014 showed some potential in chewable collagen, with women over 60 being chosen as a sample, and showing promising results. However, dermatologists are still sceptical about the treatment’s potency and concerned about its toxicity.

Most chewable collagen comes in the form of gummy chews that have a candy-like taste. There’s nothing wrong with making them sweet, as this makes them more tolerable when consumed. But the problem lies in some of the components, especially when some products contain marine ingredients such as shellfish. These are known to cause allergic reactions, which have a history of showing up where the collagen is supposed to be providing treatment – the skin.

So quite honestly, chewable collagen may or may not be the answer. It’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all, so it might require more consideration and consulting with professional doctors and dermatologists. While you might see a lot of hype around it, best speak to someone who can evaluate your skin’s health, and recommend a treatment that provides realistic results and doesn’t damage any other part of your body. Chewable collagen is a thing, but it might not be the best thing for you.


Skin Pharmacol Physiol