What is Collagen? The Full Scoop on Supplements

what is collagen

If you’re a beauty and skincare junkie who’s obsessed with anti-aging like me, you’ve probably heard of collagen—and perhaps you’ve even considered incorporating a supplement (like powder or capsules) into you daily routine. But what is collagen exactly? Allow me to explain…

What is Collagen?

At the most basic level, collagen is a protein found within the body—it’s in your bones, muscles, skin, and tendons. Doctors often describe it as the “glue that holds the body together.” Collagen is responsible for giving the skin strength and elasticity—keeping it plump, glowy, firm, and gorg.

Over time as we age, our collagen production decreases. Starting between the ages of 30 and 40, we begin to break down collagen at a faster rate than we’re able to produce it, which ultimately results in thinner skin, as well as fine lines and wrinkles.

And that’s where supplements come in….

Collagen Supplements: What Are They?

So, I’ll be honest. Over the past year, after I started seeing collagen pills and powders pop up all over Instagram, my curiosity was piqued. But I felt like a lot of people were posting their #sponcon without really explaining the science behind it—and in order for me to get on board with something, I need RESEARCH, you know what I mean?

As a journalist and former magazine editor, it’s my job to be critical of this kind of stuff. Anyway, after reading a lot of studies, and chatting with a LOT of dermatologists, I can tell you that I’m now drinking the collagen Koolaid (so to speak.)

Bear in mind that I’m not a medical professional, but many studies show that collagen peptides—or oral supplements containing collagen—help support the body’s natural production of it.

collagen powder benefits Once I decided I was going to hop on the collagen train, I took it upon myself to test out a bunch of different brands and formulas. I tried collagen gummies, collagen water, collagen capsules, and several different types of collagen powder.

Ultimately, my favorite—and the one that I’ve been using almost every morning for the past month or so—is the vanilla-flavored collagen powder from Youtheory. (It also happens to be ‘Amazon’s Choice’ and has glowing reviews.)

What I Like About Youtheory’s Collagen Powder:

  • First of all I’m obsessed with the flavor. I add a scoop to my coffee in the morning and it tastes like a vanilla latte.
  • It dissolves almost instantly. Other powders I tried ended up getting gross and clumpy, which was a major turn off.
  • It has biotin and Vitamin C. Biotin = good for strengthening hair & nails; Vitamin C = helps promote collagen production.
  • I haven’t done this yet, but I feel like it would be amazing to add to a smoothie or oatmeal.
  • They sell it in individual packets! Major. Great for traveling or to keep at your desk at work.
  • It makes me feel more satiated than I normally would be in the morning.

Collagen Benefits:

  1. It can improve skin elasticity
  2. Helps with hydration and skin dryness
  3. It can reduce joint pain
  4. Boosts metabolism and muscle mass
  5. May reduce the risk of heart conditions
  6. Helps strengthen hair and nails
  7. Makes you feel full (2 scoops of Youtheory’s collagen adds 12g of protein to your coffee, smoothie, etc)

Keep in mind that as I said, I’m obviously not a medical professional—but there have been studies to support all of the above benefits. And since the potential side effects are minimal—some people have reported heartburn and “fullness” as side effects—it’s kind of a no brainer in my book.

How Much Collagen Per Day?

Based on my research, it seems that most doctors recommend between 5g – 30g per day. That’s the equivalent of 1 to 2 scoops in powder form (and also the recommended serving size on most powders.)

When is the Best Time to Take Collagen?

It’s up to you. There’s currently no evidence indicating that taking it at a certain time of day is most effective, but I recommend taking it at the time that will be most consistent with your daily routine.

Sooo tell me: what are your thoughts? Have you guys tried it? Let me know in the comments below!

This post was created in partnership with Youtheory but even if they weren’t paying me I would still tell you that I think the powder is LEGIT.


  • Amy
    June 5, 2019 at 2:09 am

    I have been so curious about collagen. Thanks for product testing! Wondering what the collagen supplements are made of if it’s the stuff that binds us…is it an animal product? Thank you!

  • Gigi
    June 10, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    Haven’t tried, but thanks for doing the research! Adding to my amazon cart now!!

  • Nancy
    June 16, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    I believe Costco sells the brand you are using. They also sell the Vital Proteins big blue jar for 29.99

  • Kristie
    June 17, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    I have been adding collagen to my morning coffee for about three months and now have zero pain from the arthritis in my spine! Bonus the wrinkles around my eyes are GONE.

  • melissa
    July 10, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    I’m loving Youtheory and have both the powder at home and in the packet form that I take to work. Super convenient and love the taste. First sampled at a Shape Mag event in downtown LA and I’m hooked. At my age I need all the help I can get! lol

  • Jennifer Miller
    June 26, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    This is a great article! I’m curious about starting a collagen supplement too. I recently started using a retinol cream for my fine lines and wrinkles. Do you think collagen would be more effective? I’d love to read more about using collagen and retinol together or maybe a comparison of the two.


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