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  • Liza Boone

Collagen & Tallow: Worth It?

Holy cow! My nails, hair and skin look great after 40!

I am NOT getting paid to say ANY of this.

Since going gray 3 years ago, people have been saying “your skin looks great '' to me rather often.

Sure, friends and coworkers share kindnesses, but it’s the waitresses and cashiers who don’t know me from Adam that surprise me.

It must be because I now show my age with my hair, but my skin looks much younger than my hair color must imply.

Going natural gray with my hair was an easy decision after being diagnosed with skin cancer.

I wanted to give my body as much room to heal as possible without overloading it with potentially toxic hair chemicals.

This was a new experience for me as treating gray hair with color changes its structure and makes it more manageable. This new gray hair was frizzy and dry, not at all like the hair I had 10 years ago.

Since 3 years ago, when I started taking collagen supplements every day, my hair has visibly improved. It looks healthier and stronger, so much so that I even get compliments on it without trying!

I started to notice a difference in my nails when I turned 45 - lots of ridges and angles that weren’t there before.

Healthy natural nails with help from collagen
My gardener's hands age 49

I have always preferred the natural nail look, French manicure when painted and buffing when not. It was almost like something switched around age 45 with my nails - they didn’t look pretty without polish anymore.

I even tried toxic gel nails to smooth out the ridges, but I could feel my nails weakening beneath the gel, and the removal was terrible! It left scars on my nails that took months to heal, so that’s not an option.

I can now say that my nails look as good as they did when I was in my 20’s!

How Do I Do It?

Unlike movie stars and the like, I haven’t surgically altered my skin - no chemical peels, face lifts, injections or medi-spa treatments. How do I get so many compliments on my skin over 40?

This is all clean eating, meditation and stress reduction, great sleep, Retin-A, tallow and collagen.

Here are my 6 secrets to amazing skin over 40:

Clean Eating: I follow my diet (found here) when I’m at home and stray a bit when I travel. I take lots of supplements for brain health and longevity and am constantly researching and adjusting them.

Meditation and Stress Reduction: I meditate daily, even if it is only 15 minutes before I fall asleep, to check in with my higher self.

I read a lot, garden barefoot and go on long walks - try to stay off my phone whenever possible.

Great Sleep: Getting 8 hours a night and prioritizing sleep has helped me better handle stress during the day. I always wake refreshed and know I’m getting quality sleep when I do.

This is also when healing happens, both mentally and physically, so getting great sleep is on the top 5 things I do for longevity.

Tretinoin (Rx Retinoid): This is something I have been using almost nightly on my upper torso and face since 2019.

It was prescribed to me because it is “effective for the prevention and the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancers” [1]

High-dose retinoids used topically can also boost collagen production significantly and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.[2]

This is something that I fully disclose because I am lucky that my skin lets me use Tretinoin almost every night. This is probably because I use tallow as a moisturizer and take collagen internally to support the structure of the deep layers of my skin. Tallow: Yes, you read that right, rendered grass-fed beef lard. I have tried a LOT of natural things and the fatty-acid composition of this simple animal product is perfect for moisturizing and nourishing skin, especially as we age.

Tallow contains palmitoleic acid, stearic acid and oleic acid (the same type of fat found in olive oil and is so good for you). Consuming healthy fats can help support the skin, while some fats, including tallow, can also be applied topically to your skin.

Some benefits of tallow for skin health include:

  • Improving moisture and treating dryness

  • Helping increase skin’s flexibility and healing ability

  • Supporting the protective function of skin

Tallow can be used to cook at high temperatures without causing its chemical composition to change!

Most other oils oxidize and turn into chemicals we don’t want to eat.

Oxidized oil contains free radicals which can cause oxidative stress when consumed. Too much oxidative stress and you run into premature aging and nobody wants that.

Think tallow is bad for you? Inside tallow you find both saturated and monounsaturated fats. It’s made up of about 40 percent to 50 percent monounsaturated fats, which are considered one of the most heart-healthy fats in our diets.

Tallow rendered from grass-fed cattle provides some of the following nutrients:

  • Vitamins A, D, K, E and B12

  • Choline

  • CLA

  • Other fatty acids, including oleic acid, palmitoleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid and others

You might think tallow is gross and hard to find from a good source but you can make your own from suet you get from a grass-fed cow or buy it online.

It needs to be refrigerated after a week of being open but you don’t need much and it lasts forever. If you are wondering about the taste and smell of beef tallow, I can tell you it is mild and dissipates quickly. I have added a few drops of essential oil to it for facial use before and it worked well.

Collagen: This is a big one, and there is a lot of confusing information out there about different types, sources and processing methods.

Each of these aspects is important and can influence how a collagen supplement is used by the body, but don’t get lost in the weeds.

Reading a label closely will help you decide which one is right for you, but there are so many, which one to take? That depends on your objective and lifestyle.

When I travel, I take a tablet with me, and when I’m home, I use the powder. That’s just what works for me. Here is a great place to start when considering collagen supplements:

If you want quick results with a one-per-day tablet, look for human clinical studies and licensed ingredients listing bioactive peptides on the label. I have seen products that promise visible results in 3 months!

“Numerous studies have shown an improvement in skin elasticity, the recovery of lost cartilage tissue, reduced activity-related joint pain, strengthened tendons and ligaments, increased lean body mass in elderly men and premenopausal women, and increased bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. These studies have investigated supplementation with doses of 2.5 to 15 g of bioactive collagen peptides over periods of three to 18 months.” [3]

If you have time to make your coffee/smoothie at home and add collagen powder, you may have to take more grams, but you have a lot of options in the collagen peptide powders arena.

This option is easier to swallow and has no taste so it can be mixed in with just about anything. 20g per day is usually recommended and that is a big scoop!

I always look for certifications to prove the animals were treated well and to ensure the end product is free of contaminants like Certified Paleo, NSF Certification and B Corp.

If your collagen does not have these certifications, it could be coming from just about anywhere like the Amazon rainforest being cleared for antibiotic and hormone-laden cattle production.

Collagen is a by-product of the leather and cattle industry. If you don’t like the thought of that, there is marine collagen which is using skin and bones of fish that would otherwise be headed to the landfill.

“Marine collagen peptides (MCPs) obtained by enzymatic digestion of fish skin have been shown to exert several health effects mainly in two directions: metabolic disorders and skin/bone repair. A great majority of publications demonstrated significant wound healing efficacy of orally administered MCPs in animal models of excision and full-thickness skin wounds” [4]

Collagen is an investment that will pay off in the end. I have definitely seen a difference when combined with the above 6 therapies. The cost per serving for the collagen I use is $1.07 and I consider it worth every penny.

Disclaimer: Content on this site is for reference and information purposes only. Do not rely solely on this content, as it is not a substitute for advice from a licensed healthcare professional. Always read labels and directions before using a product or prescription.


  1. Ramchatesingh B, Martínez Villarreal A, Arcuri D, Lagacé F, Setah SA, Touma F, Al-Badarin F, Litvinov IV. The Use of Retinoids for the Prevention and Treatment of Skin Cancers: An Updated Review. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Oct 20;23(20):12622. doi: 10.3390/ijms232012622. PMID: 36293471; PMCID: PMC9603842.

  2. Mukherjee S, Date A, Patravale V, Korting HC, Roeder A, Weindl G. Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety. Clin Interv Aging. 2006;1(4):327-48. doi: 10.2147/ciia.2006.1.4.327. PMID: 18046911; PMCID: PMC2699641.

  3. Paul C, Leser S, Oesser S. Significant Amounts of Functional Collagen Peptides Can Be Incorporated in the Diet While Maintaining Indispensable Amino Acid Balance. Nutrients. 2019 May 15;11(5):1079. doi: 10.3390/nu11051079. PMID: 31096622; PMCID: PMC6566836.

  4. De Luca C, Mikhal'chik EV, Suprun MV, Papacharalambous M, Truhanov AI, Korkina LG. Skin Antiageing and Systemic Redox Effects of Supplementation with Marine Collagen Peptides and Plant-Derived Antioxidants: A Single-Blind Case-Control Clinical Study. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:4389410. doi: 10.1155/2016/4389410. Epub 2016 Jan 19. PMID: 26904164; PMCID: PMC4745978


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