Thorough testing and vetting
Look for products that have been tested for purity and safety by a trusted third party. This third-party certification ensures that the supplement contains exactly what it claims to offer, with no filler or harmful contaminants. It’s also beneficial to seek out brands that conduct clinical trials on their products, offering data on each one’s potential efficacy. “Look for labels that are certified by the American Grassfed Association (AGA) to ensure the supplement is antibiotic- and growth-hormone-free,” says Dr. King. And on top of that, do some research on each brand, prioritizing ones that are well-established, transparent about their sourcing and production processes, and liked by customers.
Should you use collagen supplements?
Even with these standards, some experts—like Nava Greenfield, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC—don’t recommend collagen supplements to patients. “The jury is still out as to whether or not they truly have any benefits, and there’s a lack of consistency in quality and efficacy among the product and manufacturers,” she says. It’s also important to note that while collagen is a protein, it’s not complete (meaning it doesn’t contain all essential amino acids) and therefore can’t fully replace a protein powder.
Other experts, however, say the supplements may be a helpful addition to your health and skin care regimen. “I recommend collagen supplements to individuals with noticeable signs of skin aging, those with joint pain related to osteoarthritis, and those who are unable to get sufficient collagen from their diet,” says Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD, FAACS, a board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
Regardless, be sure to speak with your doctor before taking any new supplements. A health care practitioner can offer personalized advice, based on your individual dietary needs and preferences. “While collagen supplements may offer potential benefits, they should not be a substitute for a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle,” says Dr. Chon. “It’s also important to remember that individual responses to supplements can vary, and what works for one person may not work for another.”
Meet our experts
- Anna Chon, MD, a board-certified dermatologist
- Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist
- Nava Greenfield, MD, a board-certified dermatologist
- Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD, FAACS, a board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology
The best collagen supplements
With all of this in mind, here are some of the top-rated options to check out—based on recommendations from dermatologists and editors alike.
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