AI vs. Medical Research; Debunking Collagen Myths

AI vs. Medical Research; Debunking Collagen Myths
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    Firming Retinol Cream for Face, Body, Eyes – Collagen Moisturizer and Serum Firming Retinol Cream for Face, Body, Eyes – Collagen Moisturizer and Serum
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    How much do you know about collagen? If you’re interested in skin care or have ever bought a face moisturizer, you have at least heard of it. Beauty marketing sometimes makes it sound like collagen products are what your skin needs at all times, and if you stop using them for one moment, the consequences will be tragic. So, how do we get to the truth?

    The quickest and easiest alternative to hours of research? Ask an AI of your choice. ChatGPT, Bard, Meta AI—there are several large language models that you could turn to for a concise answer to any question you might have. So that’s what we did!

    We asked ChatGPT 4 and Bard AI about the 5 most common myths about collagen and compared their answers to actual medical research. So, if you want to unveil the mystery that is collagen and whether you can trust AI’s opinion on the topic, keep reading!

    Myth. 1 Marine collagen is more effective than animal collagen

    Having a choice is great, but how do you know you chose right? When it comes to skin care, individual needs, preferences, and goals are what we defer to when choosing one product over the other. It might seem like the source of the collagen would play a significant role in how effective your beauty products or supplements are, but does it really? Let’s ask AI.

    Both ChatGPT and Bard share the opinion that both marine and bovine collagen can be effective in reducing wrinkles and maintaining the skin’s elasticity:

    Image source: Google AI. (2024). Bard [Large language model]

    Image source: OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT [Large language model]

    According to AI, you may choose whichever collagen product you prefer without sacrificing the benefits, but what does research say?

    According to a 2021 study, marine and animal collagen can improve skin elasticity and help prevent premature aging. [1] They are similar in structure, and they can both be equally effective when it comes to skin care. Suppose you are not comfortable with using products that contain ingredients sourced from animals. In that case, marine collagen might be a good alternative! But if you have a shellfish allergy and don’t mind animal-sourced products, bovine collagen would offer your skin the same benefits.

    Myth 2. Collagen is for older people

    It is no secret that age is a significant factor in your beauty routine. Choosing age-appropriate products would affect how successful your skin care is in helping you maintain your youthful appearance. Depending on your skin type and individual skincare goals, you might not need the majority of beauty treatments available in this day and age until much later in life.

    But what about collagen? Is it something you should only start worrying about when you’re in your 30s, 40s, or 50s? Let’s ask AI.

    On this one, ChatGPT and Bard did not 100% agree on the answer:

    Image source: Google AI. (2024). Bard [Large language model]

    Image source: OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT [Large language model]

    Much like retinol, collagen is often deemed an “old-people product.” Both AI models noted that collagen benefits older people, but does that mean you won’t get any benefits from it in your 20s? Time to fact-check.

    As we age, our bodies’ ability to replenish collagen decreases and our skin starts to acquire wrinkles and fine lines. This is where collagen products come in! A 2018 study concluded that collagen supplements might help improve elasticity and skin hydration and reduce wrinkles in older people. [2] So, there is scientific evidence that collagen benefits older people. Still, does that mean Bard was wrong about collagen’s usefulness for those in their 20s?

    Here’s a couple of things you should keep in mind. While our collagen and elastin production starts slowly declining as early as our mid-20s, not everyone might need to introduce collagen into their beauty routine or diet that early. Chances are, your skin doesn’t need it yet! But if you think you might benefit from a collagen boost, we recommend you consult your doctor for personalized advice.

    Myth 3. Collagen is all you need to maintain the youthful appearance of your skin

    Is a quality collagen moisturizer all that stands between you and eternal youth? Many believe collagen is the sole contributor to healthy, youthful skin. Well, collagen deals with wrinkles and thin skin, which would make you look younger. Sure, that sounds reasonable. Does that mean you should stock up on collagen supplements and skin care for the next couple of years if you wish to remain young-looking? Let’s consult our AI.

    Image source: Google AI. (2024). Bard [Large language model]

    Image source: OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT [Large language model]

    We have a match! ChatGPT and Bard agree there’s much more to remaining youthful than maintaining your collagen levels. But what does the research say? 

    A 2021 study was conducted to define skin aging and its risk factors. It concluded that while a decrease in collagen levels goes hand in hand with skin aging, we must consider several other factors. [3] Sun exposure, genetic predisposition, and lifestyle choices make a huge difference in how your skin changes over the years. And while genetics is not something we can directly influence, there are many other ways to stay youthful longer.

    Myth 4. Collagen creams can improve your body’s collagen production

    Let’s say you’re getting older, and your skin starts to lose collagen; you then begin using beauty products that contain collagen, and the state of your skin improves. You notice fewer wrinkles, your smaller fine lines have smoothed out, and your skin generally feels healthier. Does that mean the issue has been solved, and your body is back functioning as it used to five, ten, or fifteen years ago?

    Before we answer that question, let’s see what we got from our AI helpers.

     

    Image source: Google AI. (2024). Bard [Large language model]

    Image source: OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT [Large language model]

    There you have it. Both have agreed that topical collagen products cannot affect collagen levels in your skin significantly, and there are other, more effective ways to boost collagen production.

    Now, let’s see what the research says!

    According to the article published on the Harvard School of Public Health website, topical collagen products can only affect surface-level hydration and give a temporary plumping effect to your skin. This stems from collagen fibers being too large to penetrate the deeper layers of your skin and change how much collagen it produces. [4]

    Bottom line: collagen creams and serums might not offer your skin much beyond short-term benefits. But suppose you’re looking for a topical beauty product that can boost collagen production and has long-term effects. In that case, you might want to look into retinol!

    Myth 5. Topical collagen treatments erase wrinkles

    Let’s cut to the chase: will your new shiny collagen cream get rid of fine lines and wrinkles? Suppose you use it religiously, twice daily, following all provided instructions. Will it de-age your skin and eliminate any signs of aging until they’re a distant memory?

    It’s a common belief among beauty lovers that some skincare ingredients work more as medical remedies than to support your skin’s general state. It’s no secret that whenever we try a new moisturizer or serum or what have you, we want it to wow us. We want to see an immediate effect in the mirror even though we know that might not be the likely outcome.

    So, what does AI think about collagen’s immediate effect on your skin?

    Image source: Google AI. (2024). Bard [Large language model]

    Image source: OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT [Large language model]

    Even though initial answers are “yes” and “no,” both models say the same thing here. Collagen temporarily affects the skin, filling in fine lines and wrinkles.

    Let’s fact-check that!

    A study published on PubMed in 2022 concluded that, over time, topical collagen treatments have caused significant improvements in the elasticity and density of the facial skin of the subjects. The treatments reduced the depth of wrinkles and fine lines and improved the overall skin appearance. [5] This means your collagen cream might help (yay!), but will it completely erase all signs of aging? Probably not.

    Collagen beauty products, like creams, serums, and lotions, can plump your skin, but that effect will most likely be subtle. We have discussed earlier that several factors affect your skin’s appearance, including your lifestyle choices, bad habits, genetics, and sleep schedule. It’s fair to say you can’t fix those with a new moisturizer!

    So, should you employ the help of collagen beauty products to plump up wrinkles? That’s up to you. Research shows those products might help, but it comes down to your preferences, needs, and skincare goals.

    TL;DR

    The Internet is full of misconceptions about beauty products and the effects some of the ingredients might have on your skin, and collagen is no exception!

    Consulting ChatGPT, Bard AI, and medical research showed:

    • The source of collagen (marine or animal) mostly comes down to personal preference and needs;
    • Collagen primarily benefits older adults but still has its uses for younger people;
    • Collagen creams do not affect your skin’s collagen production;
    • Topical collagen products may provide a temporary and subtle plumping effect and fill in fine lines;
    • Combining collagen with healthy lifestyle choices is your best bet at maximizing its anti-aging effect.

    Employing the help of AI can cut the time you spend researching in half. Chatbots crawl the Internet for you and consult the same sources you do, but should you trust the conclusions they come to implicitly? That’s up to you, but it doesn’t hurt to fact-check!

    FAQ

    When is a good time to start using collagen skin care?

    It will depend on your personal skincare needs and goals. You might not need it when you’re young, but the older you get, the more your skin may benefit from incorporating collagen into your beauty routine.

    Can men use collagen?

    Naturally! Collagen is an essential protein that naturally occurs in all people’s bodies. Everyone’s collagen levels start to decline with age, so everyone should consider collagen products and their potential benefits.

    When can I see the first results from using collagen products?

    Generally, you may see the first results from using collagen skin care within a couple of months. But the timeframe might vary from person to person.

    References:

    1. Wang, H. (2021). A Review of the Effects of Collagen Treatment in Clinical Studies. Polymers, 13(22). https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13223868
    2. Kim DU, Chung HC, Choi J, Sakai Y, Lee BY. (2018). Oral Intake of Low-Molecular-Weight Collagen Peptide Improves Hydration, Elasticity, and Wrinkling in Human Skin: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients, 10(7), 826. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30681787
    3. Ambrose Wong, Q. Y., & Chew, F. T. (2021). Defining skin aging and its risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Scientific Reports, 11. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-01573-z
    4. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Collagen. The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/collagen/
    5. Lee, Y. I., Lee, S. G., Jung, I., Suk, J., Lee, M. H., Kim, D. U., & Lee, J. H. (2022). Effect of a Topical Collagen Tripeptide on Antiaging and Inhibition of Glycation of the Skin: A Pilot Study. International journal of molecular sciences, 23(3), 1101. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031101

     

    Please be aware that this article has been created for informational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical care. We encourage you to consult with your dermatologist for personalized skincare guidance

    Article by Lizaveta Nekrashevich
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