Can Collagen Cause Acne?

Can Collagen Cause Acne?

Can Collagen Cause Acne?

The beauty and wellness industry has seen a surge in collagen-based products in recent years. From collagen-rich creams to oral supplements, its touted benefits for skin, nails, and joints have made it an essential part of many people’s daily regimens. But a common concern arises when it comes to skin health: can collagen cause acne? This article delves deep into this question, discussing whether collagen can lead to breakouts and signs of excessive collagen consumption.

Understanding Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and serves as a primary component of our connective tissues. It provides structure to our skin, hair, nails, bones, ligaments, and tendons. The body naturally produces collagen, but its production declines with age, leading to wrinkles, sagging skin, and weakening of cartilage in joints. It’s especially popular for women to take collagen to help with hair and nail growth and strength. But, can doing so potentially pose a skin problem – can collagen cause acne?

The Link Between Collagen and Acne

Many people take collagen supplements or use topical products in the hope of rejuvenating their skin, improving elasticity, and diminishing wrinkles. But does the introduction of this protein exacerbate or cause acne?

The Argument for Collagen Causing Acne

Some believe that collagen supplements, especially those sourced from marine animals, could lead to breakouts. This is based on the premise that marine-sourced collagen may have higher levels of iodine. Excessive iodine intake has been suggested to cause acne in some individuals (1).

Another hypothesis is that as collagen stimulates skin renewal and brings newer skin cells to the surface, it might also cause the skin to purge impurities, leading to temporary breakouts. This “purging” is sometimes seen with other acne skin treatments and other products, like retinoids.

The Counter-Argument

On the other hand, some studies have shown that collagen might actually benefit those with acne. A specific type of collagen, known as hydrolyzed collagen, has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce acne inflammation (2).

Furthermore, collagen can boost skin hydration. Dry skin can lead to an overproduction of sebum, which can clog pores and cause acne. By keeping the skin adequately hydrated, collagen might indirectly help in keeping acne at bay.

Symptoms of Too Much Collagen

While the debate about collagen causing acne is still ongoing, there’s a consensus that like everything, excessive collagen consumption isn’t beneficial. Here are some symptoms and side effects associated with excessive collagen intake:

Digestive Problems

Large doses of collagen can be hard on the stomach, leading to feelings of fullness, bloating, and heartburn (3).

Bad Taste in the Mouth

Some people have reported a lingering bad taste in their mouth after consuming certain collagen supplements.

Calcium Overload

Collagen supplements sourced from marine animals can have high calcium levels. Consuming these in large quantities can lead to hypercalcemia, characterized by fatigue, nausea, and abnormal heart rhythms (4).

Potential Skin Breakouts

As previously discussed, while not definitive, some people believe their acne or skin breakouts are linked to their collagen intake. It might be due to other ingredients in the supplement or an initial ‘purge’ of the skin.

The Verdict: Does Collagen Cause Acne?

Currently, there’s no concrete scientific evidence to link collagen directly to acne breakouts. Many factors, such as hormones, diet, stress, and genetics, play a significant role in acne development.

For those considering collagen supplements or topical products, it might be helpful to:

  • Choose the Right Type of Collagen: If concerned about iodine content, select non-marine sourced collagen.
  • Start Slowly: Introduce collagen gradually into your regimen to see how your body reacts.
  • Monitor Your Skin: Keep an eye on any changes in your skin. If you believe collagen is causing breakouts, it might be worth discontinuing use and consulting with a dermatologist.
  • Consult a Professional: Before starting any supplement, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist, especially if you have a pre-existing skin condition.


Collagen, the protein responsible for keeping our skin elastic and youthful, has undeniable benefits. However, as with any product or supplement, individual reactions can vary. While there isn’t conclusive evidence that collagen causes acne, listening to your body and observing how it reacts can guide your choices. Always prioritize your well-being and seek professional advice when in doubt.


  1. Bowe, W. P., & Logan, A. C. (2011). Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the future? Gut pathogens, 3(1), 1.
  2. Borumand, M., & Sibilla, S. (2015). Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkles. Journal of Medical Nutrition & Nutraceuticals, 4(1), 47.
  3. Bolke, L., Schlippe, G., Gerß, J., & Voss, W. (2019). A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo‐Controlled, Blind Study. Nutrients, 11(10), 2494.
  4. Besschetnova, T. Y., Kolosova, O. L., Kurdina, M. I., Netrebenko, O. K., Voronkina, I. V., & Khlusov, I. A. (2020). Medicinal effects of marine collagen and its peptides from deep-sea fishes: an overview. Journal of Functional Foods, 71, 104020.


Hopefully this article was helpful in your skincare journey.  Welcome to Divine Dermatology, PLLC, your beacon for skin care in St. Petersburg, Florida. Under the skilled guidance of Carol Sims-Robertson, MD, our office celebrates all skin types and ages, curating personalized treatments that enhance your natural beauty.From teens battling acne to adults seeking anti-aging remedies, we offer innovative solutions that cater to every person’s unique needs. At Divine Dermatology, PLLC, we believe in using our expertise so beauty transcends age and skin type. Trust us to transform your skin, elevating your confidence, and revealing the most beautiful you. 

Click here to Schedule your Free Skin Evaluation Today or call us at (727) 528-0321. Embrace the Divine Dermatology difference – where your path to beauty begins.