Can collagen help with cellulite? Or is it just a waste?
Many women have some level of cellulite. According to studies, over 85% of women are affected with some level of cellulite.1 Cellulite starts to appear for most women in the mid-’20s to mid-’30s and can worsen with age.
Many women say they feel self-conscious wearing a swimsuit because of the cellulite. if your cellulite is very noticeable to the point you don’t even want to wear shorts, then you’ll want to keep reading.
Crazy enough, you could still have cellulite even if you’re not overweight. And just losing weight can make your cellulite appear even worse. It’s best to use a multi-factor approach to reduce cellulite, and adding collagen is a big part of that.
Here you’ll uncover why using collagen is a simple yet necessary solution to the dreaded “orange peel” and “cottage cheese” cellulite skin problem.
How Collagen Can Help With Cellulite
Cellulite might not be at all harmful to your health, but many with it feel it’s physically unsightly. You could have a great physique, but the dreaded cellulite could still cause you to feel self-conscious about your body.
It can also give the impression you have a skin health problem when the reality is you have weakened connective tissue. If your collagen fibers are weakened, then you’ll also be much more likely to have cellulite.
Post-pubescent women are significantly more likely to suffer from cellulite due to their collagen structure. Women’s connective tissue has a “picket fence” shaped collagen pattern, while men’s is in a “criss-cross” structure.
This, unfortunately, allows women’s fat cells and deposits to push through the skin, causing the dimpling appearance of cellulite morphology.2
As you age, collagen production is reduced, causing your skin structure to weaken.3 If it seems like you now have cellulite all of a sudden, then this is the big cause. This allows the fat cells and deposits under our skin to push through more easily, causing cellulite.
Skin elasticity (its ability to snap back) can also weaken as your body makes less collagen. Your skin will loosen as elasticity declines, contributing to the cellulite appearance.4
So, the trick to reducing cellulite is replenishing collagen in your body. This will prevent fat deposits under your skin from pushing through. Collagen deficiency is one of the biggest causes of cellulite.
Improving skin health by increasing dermal density will also lessen the appearance of cellulite by re-tightening the skin.5
- Weakened collagen fibers allow fat below the skin to push through, increasing cellulite appearance.
- Collagen production naturally decreases with age, which worsens appearance the older you get.
- Replenishing lost collagen in the body through supplementation can help strengthen skin and reduce cellulite.
Why Collagen Peptides Improve Cellulite
Studies have found supplementing with hydrolyzed collagen peptides can significantly boost skin elasticity.
What are collagen peptides good for?
Hydrolyzed collagen peptides are broken down collagen proteins that are easier for your body to absorb. People take them as supplements to help improve their skin, hair, nails, joints, and gut health.
One randomized, placebo-controlled study found specific collagen peptides oral supplementation contributed to improved human skin physiology, hydration, and density. All of which will help to reduce the appearance of cellulite.6
If you want to get rid of your cellulite, you have to get to the root of the problem, which, in this case, is the integrity of the skin itself. Otherwise, your results will always be hindered by the fact your skin itself is compromised.
Since collagen levels diminish with age, your cellulite will also worsen. Reduced collagen production causes not only wrinkling and sagging of the skin but also cellulite.
This is why supplementing with collagen peptides can be so effective for reducing cellulite.
Just losing weight isn’t the answer because the collagen in your skin structure is still weakened. This is why some women who are “skinny fat” may be thin but can still suffer from cellulite and loose skin.
Collagen peptides have been found to offer a clear and significant improvement in the skin appearance of moderate cellulite after a short time of taking it.7 This is accomplished by collagen strengthening your skin structure, thickening the skin, and improving skin waviness.
- Collagen peptides have been found in multiple studies to reduce wrinkles, tighten loose skin, and reduce cellulite.
- Weight loss alone usually won’t get rid of cellulite since the skin integrity and elasticity are still weak due to lost collagen.
How Long Does It Take for Collagen to Work on Cellulite?
This will depend on the strength of your connective tissues and any damage done to your skin’s dermis layer. However, many women see a noticeable improvement in cellulite reduction in a matter of weeks or months.
You can also try other methods besides taking more collagen to speed up your results. Water retention can also lead to cellulite, so flushing out the water weight can be key to getting results.
Dry brushing can boost lymphatic drainage, which will help to improve blood flow and fight cellulite. Foam rolling can help to break up cellulite too via massaging it away. Your lymphatic system eliminates toxins that can contribute to the dimpled appearance of cellulite.
It’s also good to lower your body mass index by eating a healthier diet and doing resistance training. Improving your body composition will reduce fat and build muscle, both of which help to tone and tighten the body.
Laser therapy has shown beneficial effects on reducing dimpled skin. Dehydration can also worsen cellulite appearance so drinking water to make sure you’re hydrated should help too.
And some more vitamins that can help to reduce cellulite include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- B-complex Vitamins
- Omega-3 fatty acids
What Type of Collagen Is Best for Cellulite?
There are quite a few different types of collagen peptides that you need to know about if you’re trying to get the best results for smoothing away cellulite dimples.
Most collagen peptide supplements only contain one or two different forms of collagen. This can only produce some results, but you should look for a collagen supplement that contains multiple forms of collagen peptides.
Ideally, you should be taking at least 10g of collagen per day to reduce cellulite. Collagen is essentially just a type of protein so it’ll be helpful for weight loss, fat burning, and definitely won’t add to belly fat.
Here are the best types of collagen for reducing cellulite…
Type I Collagen
Type I collagen is the most well-known for its skin-strengthening properties. It’s by far the most abundant type of collagen you’ll find in the human body. And it’s primarily responsible for providing strength to structures like skin, tendons, bones, and teeth.
It’ll not only support your skin structure but also your hair, nails, and bones. Type I collagen also starts to decline once you hit your mid-20s, which is why it’s so critical to supplement with it.
You can find Type I collagen sources from marine, bovine, porcine, chicken, and eggshells.
Type II Collagen
Type II collagen is primarily associated with cartilage, the flexible tissue that provides cushions between our bones, especially in the joints.
While most studies associate Type II collagen with joint health, there are studies that have found Type II collagen to produce visibly reduced signs of aging in women’s skin.9
Type III Collagen
Type III collagen is another well-established collagen type for improving skin integrity and elasticity. It provides structure to connective tissues while strengthening them as well.
Type III collagen is found in high concentrations in your skin and blood vessels. It also supports skin hydration and fullness while helping to maintain moisture in the skin.
Type V Collagen
Type V collagen plays a crucial role in your skin tissue quality by optimizing the benefits of Type I and III collagen. Type V collagen is also found around hair follicles, so it can help thicken and promote hair growth.
Type V collagen controls the initiation of the assembly of collagen fibrils. This is crucial in building strong fibril structure and matrix in the skin collagen.10
Type X Collagen
Type X collagen is less common but can benefit your bone strength by promoting bone mineralization. Type X is also primarily known for its role in cartilage formation. Cartilage is the smooth white tissue that covers the ends of your bones where they meet for joints.
It’ll help to prevent you from having a knee or hip replacement. While it may not be the best collagen type for your skin, it’ll help to keep your bones and joints strong.
Collagen for Cellulite Results: Before and After
Since collagen will rebuild the strength and integrity of your skin, you should expect clear results from taking it even after a short while. But with that said, your results are also going to depend on a couple of other factors as well.
The degree of severity of your cellulite will be a major factor in the results you’ll get from taking collagen. The worse your cellulite then, the harder it will be for your skin to retighten and smooth out the cellulite.
If you’re actively trying to lose weight, taking collagen is even more important for getting rid of cellulite. Cellulite rarely goes away with weight loss alone, since your skin may have become too loose and saggy.8
When you lose a lot of weight quickly, you could possibly end up with even worse-looking cellulite because of this skin loosening. So make sure you’re taking collagen when trying to lose weight.
Best Collagen for Weight Loss and Cellulite
Not all collagen you’ll find on store shelves is created equal. Here are some tips and strategies when picking a collagen peptide supplement that will actually give you results.
First, you will want to find a collagen peptide supplement that contains specific bioactive collagen peptides that are hydrolyzed. Hydrolyzed collagen peptides have been broken down via a process called hydrolysis.
This makes it easier for your body to digest and absorb the collagen.11 If the collagen supplement you’re taking doesn’t have collagen in this form, you won’t absorb as much and thus not get as good results.
Try to find a hydrolyzed collagen peptide supplement that contains multiple collagen forms from different sources. Most collagen supplements only contain one or two different forms of collagen, but you’ll get the best results with one with at least 4 to 5.
Marine collagen is a viable alternative to collagen that has been sourced from bovine or porcine sources. But there are a lot of questions about the effectiveness of marine collagen because it’s harder for your body to absorb. So you may get less results.
Unfortunately, vegan-based collagen supplements do not actually contain any collagen themselves but are supposedly able to help increase collagen production in your body. It’s unclear how effective they are at boosting your collagen production.
I take Ageless Multi-Collagen by BioTrust since it contains hydrolyzed bioactive collagen peptides. It also uses four different sources for its collagen and includes five of the best types.
Many collagen supplements have a weird bone broth taste that doesn’t encourage you to continue using them. But Ageless Collagen is odorless and flavorless and mixes easily into liquids. I place a scoop into my daily protein shake and can hardly even tell it’s in there.
Contains 5 of the key types of collagen in scientifically ideal forms. Uses hydrolyzed collagne peptides making it easier to digest. Mixes easily, no clumping, with no odor or taste.
- Supports healthy, youthful looking skin & skin elasticity
- Supports joint health & comfort
- Supports hair health & growth
- Supports healthy body composition
How Much Collagen Should You Take for Cellulite?
You’ll get the best results by taking 5 to 10g of collagen daily. You can spread it out into a couple of servings throughout the day, or you can take it in one serving.
If you’re looking to jumpstart your results, then you can take up to 20g per day split out over a couple of servings. Collagen is just a type of protein, so you shouldn’t worry about side effects or overdoing it.
It’s best to mix it in with other liquids. But do not add it to scalding hot coffee. The high heat from coffee can cause the collagen to denature, giving you fewer results.
Don’t take collagen while you’re fasting. Collagen protein and amino acids make up collagen. So collagen peptides will break your fast.
I prefer to take it post-workout in a protein shake. Taking it then will also help replenish your joints and reduce cellulite.
If you’re like most women with the skin structure genetics for cellulite, then that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it forever. Now, you may not 100% eliminate cellulite completely, but you can at least drastically reduce its appearance.
Orange peel skin only goes away when you improve the integrity of the skin and reduce fat in the area. Weightlifting, weight loss, and massage are all ways you can reduce the appearance of cellulite.
So, if you’re overweight, then you should also try losing weight and building muscle with resistance training. Lifting weights will lower your body fat and help shape and tone your body. All of which will help get rid of your cellulite.
As we age, our production of collagen decreases, which lowers the integrity of our skin’s connective tissues. This allows the fat deposits to poke through your skin, causing the appearance of cellulite.
But taking a collagen peptides supplement is an easy way to rebuild your weakened skin structure. Cellulite treatments promoting skin health and reducing underlying fat cells can reduce cellulite formation.
Collagen will get to the root of the problem: a weakened skin structure that allows the fatty lumps to push through the skin. Your skin will become stronger, and your cellulite will decrease.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.