As a dietitian, I’m educated and trained to be skeptical of food products and supplements that sound too good to be true. For good reason, as it is my mission to help others make safe and beneficial nutrition decisions! So, when I decided to personally try the Taut Collagen program, I made sure to do thorough research on the product first for myself, while keeping an open mind for what benefits (or honestly, lack thereof) I might experience, before sharing with others. But before I tell you all about my personal trial, let’s first review the basics of collagen for skin health.
Collagen is an abundant protein in our bodies that is responsible for giving our skin its strength, elasticity, and suppleness. It is also the key component of connective tissues in the body, such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments. It is also found in our circulatory system, bones, organs, muscle, and even hair. So yeah, collagen is kind of a big deal in the human body. Luckily our bodies can make collagen from the amino acids we consume in our daily diets, but over time the body’s ability to produce collagen decreases with age. And with this reduction, we begin to feel and see our age in the form of fine lines, wrinkles, and weakened or damaged joints.
So if the human body can’t produce as much collagen as it once could, it makes sense to supplement with collagen, right? Some health professionals are preliminarily saying “no” to this, but some emerging research is saying “yes”. In fact, research has been looking at various applications for collagen-based proteins over the last ten years, from developing effective topical treatments for severe burn wounds, to measuring improvements in protein status and lean body mass composition in the critically ill, and of course skin and joint anti-aging applications. The vast majority of this research is very positive for the use of collagen for these diverse needs, but the key component to the success of collagen is the quality, or type, of collagen used in the supplement. This is where hydrolyzed collagen has demonstrated clinical efficacy over just regular foods containing collagen (bone broth, for example).
For example, in a study published in 2014 in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology , 69 women aged 35-55 years old were randomly selected to receive 2.5g or 5.0g of a hydrolyzed collagen supplement (or placebo) daily for 8 weeks in this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. At the end of the trial, it was determined that the groups of women who received the hydrolyzed collagen supplement showed a statistically significant improvement in skin elasticity compared to the groups of women who received the placebo. While more studies like this one are needed, it is one of the first to show that an oral collagen supplement can indeed improve skin elasticity, without any reports of negative side effects. And overall, combined with the additional research on hydrolyzed collagen that I have reviewed over the years, I was ready to try out a collagen-based skin care supplement system for myself.
In March of this year, I met the great folks of Taut USA at an industry trade show, and was instantly intrigued with their liquid collagen supplement and masks. After talking with them at length, and further reviewing their products to ensure I had the best-in-class product to try, I began my own personal trial of the Taut products. First, I should preface that I am 35 years old, and I have mostly good skin that I think might be a genetic gift from both sides of my family (thanks, Mom & Dad!). However, I do have the beginnings of the dreaded “elevens”, or the frown lines/wrinkles between the eyebrows, technically known as glabellar frown lines. Also, I travel a lot for work and for fun, so I’m often on planes and sleep deprived, both of which are terrible for your skin. The times when travel is intense for me, my skin takes a hit, and can really use a pick me up. So, while I’m still fairly young, I’ll take all the help I can get to help prevent premature aging from my travel and work lifestyle.
In my trial, I began with 2 boxes of Taut Collagen and 5 Taut Collagen Masks . Since my intent was more for aging prevention and management of my travel lifestyle, I decided to drink one bottle every other day for the course of a month. I chose this particular month as I was barely home at all due to work, personal and family travel, and knew my skin would be in dire straits. I also used 1 collagen mask per week, with 2 masks on the roughest week of travel (roundtrip Orlando to Los Angeles, then roundtrip Orlando to Colorado, all within 7 days). After that type of travel, it should take at least a week of being at home, and overall TLC, for my skin to recover in terms of hydration, ridding the bags under my eyes, blotchiness, etc. However, I must say that after this trial month, my skin felt and looked better than ever! And the beginnings of my glabellar lines were practically invisible, which was amazing to me . And while not a touted benefit of these products, for once I did not break out with a new blemish each time I got on a new plane (the struggle is real) while using this program. This may have been coincidental, but I was happy about it!
It was difficult to spot the difference because you look at your face every morning. You stumble upon an old picture from college or even just five years ago. “My skin used to be so smooth and firm!” “Where did that saggy, extra skin come from underneath my chin?”
Skin issues can be emotionally difficult to deal with. We feel self-conscious when there is a giant, red pimple on our nose or when there are more dark spots and less firmness in our skin. It is the first thing people see and generally, we cannot hide it.
As a teenager, I struggled with acne and later in my twenties, I remember waking up one morning with dry, scaly patches on the bridge of my nose and on my neck. Seemingly overnight, I found myself dealing with moderately severe eczema.
People would ask, “What’s wrong with your neck? Did you get a really bad sunburn.” As much as I tried to convince myself that I was not self-conscious about my skin, these innocent comments from friends and family started to wear down on me.
I would hesitate to wear t-shirts because they exposed my neck, and I did not want to deal with the “innocent” comments or have to explain that I was not contagious. I tried different eczema creams and lotions but this was more than just dry skin.
As much as I disliked going to the doctor, my mom, who is a pharmacist, convinced me to make an appointment with my family physician. My doctor examined my skin and came back after 5 minutes with two tubes of medication—two different forms of topical steroid creams. He said, “Just apply these until the patches go away.”
“How long will I have to use these?”
“Probably off and on for the rest of your life.”
That just did not make any sense to me. This was one of those turning points in my life that started me down the path of looking for answers about what these symptoms mean and how to get to the root cause of the issue rather than just covering up the issue with medications.
Little did I realize, or did my family physician, that my form of eczema (also commonly called atopic dermatitis) was not primarily a skin disease, but rather a sign that my body’s internal environment was out of balance.
My mom was always the one encouraging myself and her customers at the pharmacy to use as few medications as possible. She promoted healthy lifestyle and nutrition because she understood that medications were not the answer to all health problems. You might see why I was inspired to look to a different approach to medicine. My holistic medical education at Bastyr University, an accredited naturopathic medical school, taught me to look at symptoms in the context of whole-body health.
Even if you do not have a skin condition, taking care of your internal environment will keep your skin healthy, radiant, and smooth.
Let me explain.
Produced by fibroblasts, elastin is an important protein that enables our skin to return to its original shape after it stretches or contracts. Elastin fibers are like little rubber bands in the connective tissue throughout our bodies. Eventually, the fibers lose their ability to snap back.
Through the years, there are many things that can take a toll on your skin, including the sun, bad habits, and pollution. Exposure to these elements can damage the elastin fibers in your skin, which causes the skin to sag and stretch.
Loose skin and tissue under the upper arm area due to damaged elastin is a common issue. Flabby upper arm skin may make you feel reluctant to wear sleeveless shirts and swimsuits. Factors that contribute to sagging underarm skin include aging, smoking, genetics, and weight loss.
When your weight fluctuates, it can break or weaken the elastin fibers in the dermis, which results in the loss of tensile strength. Therefore, the skin is unable to bounce back and regain its original shape, similarly to when a rubber brand is stretched beyond its limit. If you lose weight and simultaneously lose muscle mass, this leads to a loss of tone that causes the skin in the underarm area to appear flaccid.
Here are some tips for avoiding
and treating sagging underarm skin.
Nearly everyone has heard of collagen and its importance for skin health, but few people know how to tell the difference between the many truths and falsehoods that abound regarding collagen supplements. Most people’s skin care knowledge lies somewhere between science and pure hype, and many misconceptions about collagen supplements are spread through word-of-mouth.
Let’s expose the top 5 myths about collagen supplements, so you can ensure that you’re using proven treatments in a correct way while saving yourself time, money, and effort.