The market for collagen supplements is substantial. That’s why it’s no surprise that they are marketed as the cure for radiant skin. Collagen is enjoying its moment in the spotlight for good reason and a lot of A-list celebrities are praising it. Does it live up to the hype?
Rustad et al. (2022) (a) watched and analysed the first 100 YouTube videos resulting from a search of “collagen,” (b) analysed the top 50 Instagram photographs with the hashtag “collagen,” (c) reviewed the scientific literature regarding skin, nail, and hair effects of collagen, and (d) reviewed websites of popular collagen brands for claims related to skin, nail, and hair.
• Over 75% of YouTube videos and Instagram posts recommended collagen supplementation, with most claiming it benefits the skin.
• Financial bias was common (two-thirds of the YouTube videos and most Instagram posts) and associated with recommending collagen supplementation and claiming benefits.
• People uploaded most YouTube videos and almost all Instagram posts without healthcare or medical expertise.
Although some studies have demonstrated that collagen supplementation can enhance skin qualities such as elasticity and hydration, dermatologic claims in the media surpass any evidence currently supported by the literature.
There are studies available in the literature. However, all have various limitations. Suppliers of collagen fund many, study authors work for the companies, multiple confounding variables, small cohort size, lack of generalisability and such.