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Common Ingredients in Collagen Supplements and How They Cause Breakouts

Common Ingredients in Collagen Supplements and How They Cause Breakouts
collagen powder in a wooden bowl By Анастасия Коровина found on

By Анастасия Коровина -

Here is the thing...not all collagen is created equal. Especially when we are comparing animal collagen to human collagen. Fun fact: they aren’t the same thing. When we consume “collagen” that is sourced from animal products our digestive system needs to work extra hard to break these down into smaller amino acids which our body can then use to produce its own human collagen.

Oftentimes, the breakdown of these animal based collagen can put a heavy toll on our digestive system. And for anyone who has compromised gut health (almost everyone thanks to modern diets and contaminants), the body may not be able to break these compounds down sufficiently enough to use. These larger proteins can then leak into the bloodstream causing inflammation and breakouts.

Collagen Ingredients: Additives & Preservatives

Chemical additives like anti-caking substances and preservatives are common culprits of acne flare-ups. These chemical ingredients can cause systemic inflammation as well as accumulate within the body leading to inflamed and clogged pores. This can eventually lead to breakouts.

Other ingredients like dyes and gelatin in gummy supplements can be hard to digest, lead to gut and body inflammation, trigger sensitivities and cause skin rashes and breakouts.

Collagen Ingredients: Animal Products

We know you don’t want to hear it...and we dread having to say it...but most collagen supplements are made up of poorly sourced animal products. Dr. Mark Moyad states, “I think the elephant in the room here is safety. We are talking about ground-up fish, chicken, pig, and cow parts, and these parts tend to act as sponges for contaminants and heavy metals.”

The ugly truth? Farmers are looking for ways to utilize the parts of animals that can’t be sold as a direct food product. This means that collagen supplements are generally made up of unusable parts like hooves, hides and nerve tissue.

Animal proteins in general can lead to increased oil production and inflammation throughout the body, but these poorly sourced animal products present more serious health concerns.

Other Health Concerns of Collagen Supplements

Animal Diseases – Doctors are increasingly concerned that collagen supplements can carry diseases that were present in the animals that are now part of the product (like Mad Cow Disease).

Heavy Metals – Animals can absorb a huge amount of toxins, including heavy metals. As most supplements are not tested very rigorously, there is concern regarding the amounts of heavy metals in collagen supplements. These can then begin to accumulate in the human body and lead to an array of health symptoms and even death if untreated.

Hypercalcemia – The ground-up animal parts can be exceptionally high in calcium. Hypercalcemia can lead to constipation, bone pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abnormal heart rhythms.

Allergic Reactions – For those with allergies to shellfish or other animal products, collagen supplements can be risky because the specific animals used in the supplements are rarely listed.

Skin Sensitivities – Skin irritation can occur when applied topically including redness, inflammation, and rash.

What to do instead:

If you are in your 20’s or 30’s YOU DON’T NEED COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTS.

Your body is more likely than not producing enough collagen. Instead of adding more collagen than your body can process, look at other preventative measures like sun protection and a clean and consistent skincare routine.

Boost collagen production through natural means.

At Facial Lounge we use red light therapy as a natural way to tighten skin and increase collagen production. Read more about the powerful benefits of red light therapy here.

Get out in the sun! Media has effectively scared all of us from ever letting a drop of sunlight hit our skin, but this is so important to natural collagen production. We always recommend going out in the early morning sun for 10-20 minutes first thing in the morning to stimulate the change in your circadian rhythm and to allow for optimal collagen production. If possible, take 3-5 minute breaks throughout the day to go stand outside and aim for 30 minutes total of sun exposure daily!