It is unlikely that topical or ingestible collagen will give you acne. If anything, collagen can help treat acne and acne scars.
Acne occurs when oil and dead skin cells clog your pores, resulting in blackheads, whiteheads, cysts or pimples.
Collagen does not block your skin pores nor does it trigger an increase in the amount of sebum your skin produces, which could result in clogged pores.
If you have developed acne after using a collagen cream or lotion, some other ingredient is most likely the culprit.
Topical collagen creams contain dozens of ingredients including oils that could cause clogging especially on oily skin.
That’s why it is important to look at the list of ingredients before buying any skincare product.
If collagen creams or lotions keep causing skin breakouts, I recommend switching to collagen supplements.
They are more beneficial anyway since ingestible collagen is easier to absorb into body compared to the topical one.
Collagen side effects
Just because collagen does not cause acne doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any side effects. Here are the most common.
1. Hypercalcemia (Excess Calcium)
Hypercalcemia occurs when there is too much calcium in your blood.
The condition messes up with a lot of body systems and organs including the heart and brain. It can also cause kidney stones, osteoporosis (bone thinning and weakening), dementia and kidney failure.
Taking collagen supplements won’t increase calcium levels to the point of causing dementia or kidney failure. But it can cause fatigue, constipation, nausea and an abnormal heart rhythm.
Not all collagen supplements cause hypercalcemia. Only those that are made using marine ingredients from animals like sharks and shellfish that contain high levels of calcium.
Before buying any collagen supplements, check the source and amount of calcium in each tablet.
Some supplements don’t state the source but only the type of collagen such as type 1 or type 2. In that case, type 2 collagen is the best since it is usually sourced from chicken.
2. Allergic reaction
As with hypercalcemia, the problem here is not the collagen itself but rather the source of the collagen.
If you are allergic to fish, you are most likely going to have an allergic reaction to any collagen product sourced from marine animals such as shellfish.
If you are allergic to eggs, avoid collagen made from egg whites.
To stay safe, always read the list of ingredients and check whether the manufacturer has mentioned their source of collagen.
If nothing about the source is mentioned, contact them directly to be safe.
3. Skin sensitivity
Always do a patch test before applying a collagen cream.
Collagen itself is unlikely to cause any skin irritation, itching or acne. But as I mentioned, there are dozens of other ingredients in that cream that your skin may be sensitive to.
Check the ingredients list to avoid any nasty surprises later.
Generally, collagen products are safe if you buy the right one and follow usage instructions. Any minor side effects you may experience are outweighed by the many benefits of collagen.
Topical collagen helps your body make more of its own collagen, smooths away wrinkles, moisturizes your skin and quickens healing of wounds and scars.
Collagen supplements are even more effective when it comes to reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
They also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and help manage symptoms of arthritis and osteoporosis.