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Collagen-boosting workouts V Collagen supplements & creams: Which one is best for improved skin?

Updated: Mar 13

fitness, science paper, dan raynham, fitness scientists, wellbeing, anti ageing, skin, skincare, longevity, age reversal, collagen, skin cream, collagen cream, collagen supplements

Regardless of genetics or environment, almost everyone can improve their skin and overall health. This article is not about skin creams or supplements in general but one component, the protein collagen. You can then decide to save money and do more exercise instead of spending money on any collagen products.


Enhancing skin health can be achieved in a variety of ways, some of which have little effect and others that have a significant one. Furthermore, given the time and money required to use them, many goods on the market may have little to no impact. The most crucial macromolecule for healthy skin is probably collagen. Imagine it as a pliable support structure for the muscles, bones, and skin.

fitness, science paper, dan raynham, fitness scientists, wellbeing, anti ageing, skin, skincare, longevity, age reversal, collagen, skin cream, collagen cream, collagen supplements
Don't waste money on molecules that have no effect.

Collagen glycation increases as people age. This reduces the structural flexibility of collagen fibrils. Especially in cells that have ceased dividing. It may also be responsible for this senescent state. Glycation is the addition of carbohydrate molecules to another molecule, resulting in cross-links. This increase in cross-linking not only affects flexibility, but also inhibits new collagen synthesis! A double whammy! Boooooo!

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Collagen is a molecular scaffold.

The global expenditure on skin health is primarily focused on beauty products and supplements, which amounts to a staggering $140 billion and $177 billion per year respectively. However, the effectiveness of these products is uncertain when it comes to generating collagen fibres and other essential components beneath the skin's surface. Although a basic moisturiser can provide visible results, most research studies are inconclusive, and many do not show any significant increase in skin health beyond the surface level.


High-intensity exercise has been proven in numerous studies to produce collagen fibre and other beneficial effects in your cells and connective tissues, which are mostly located in the extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM is composed of several macromolecules, such as collagens, elastin, microfibrillar proteins, proteoglycans including hyaluronan, and non-collagenous glycoproteins. If you're keen on skincare products, you're likely to recognize most of these components.

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Dream on. Collagen creams have no effect.

Collagen is a protein that can be found in the blood. Several studies conducted from the 1990s till the present have consistently shown that collagen levels increase by up to 50-60% after physical exercise. The extent of the increase may vary depending on the type of collagen, but the results are dependable. It is worth noting that the increase in collagen levels typically occurs a few days after exercising.

fitness, science paper, dan raynham, fitness scientists, wellbeing, anti ageing, skin, skincare, longevity, age reversal, collagen, skin cream, collagen cream, collagen supplements
Training hard will make you happier in every aspect of your physical and mental being

Exercise appears to not only optimise the tragically already senescent non-dividing cells, but also increases collagen formation by reducing cross-linking. Win-win!


Collagen in Topical Creams V Exercise


Exercise = Statistically significant effect

Collagen in creams = NO EFFECT


Collagen molecules are located beneath the surface of the skin and are not present on the skin's surface. Since collagen is a large molecule, it can't penetrate the skin's surface. In response to this, the beauty industry introduced peptides, which are smaller collagen molecules. However, there is no evidence that these peptides are absorbed by the skin either! Pointless.

fitness, science paper, dan raynham, fitness scientists, wellbeing, anti ageing, skin, skincare, longevity, age reversal, collagen, skin cream, collagen cream, collagen supplements
We all know exercise is the real cream of the crop!

Collagen supplements V Exercise


Exercise = statistically significant effect.

Collagen in supplements = No statistically significant effect.


The biggest problem here is that most of the studies regarding supplements are sponsored by the beauty industry itself. Moreover, it is easier to quaff a supplement rather than engage in physical exercise. The beauty industry is well aware of this and often uses celebrities and athletes to endorse their products.


I think the most important thing to convey is that the digestive system treats collagen in the same way that it does any other protein. It will be broken down into individual amino acids. It's not collagen anymore (you can eat any protein)! In this form, amino acids are easily available for repurposing. This is extremely logical and efficient. Supplements and diets aren't what they're made out to be when it comes to overall health and fitness.


To sum up, there's no use wasting time or money on collagen lotions or supplements. To be clear, this isn't a criticism of collagen supplements or creams—just the one ingredient. Please go on if you're experiencing a wonderful placebo "feel good" effect. But from a molecular perspective, it is ineffective and insignificant compared to even moderate activity, let alone focused elite training!

fitness, science paper, dan raynham, fitness scientists, wellbeing, anti ageing, skin, skincare, longevity, age reversal, collagen, skin cream, collagen cream, collagen supplements
We all age. Do it like the one on the left!

I sincerely hope that this short article has helped you to save time and money! Reach out to me for a conversation if you would like recommendations for research papers on the subject!

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