Health: collagen drinks tested and rated
The following feature appeared in The Daily Mail by dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams, medical director at European Dermatology London (eudelo.com)
The new anti-agers
Collagen drinks are the buzz skincare product of recent months, purported to help restore plumpness, bounce and suppleness to ageing faces.
The daily supplement comes in bottles, shots or powder (which you add to liquid). A colleague was even offered a cup of collagen tea after a facial.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, found in bones, muscles and tendons as well as skin, hair and nails. It is part of the connective tissue in the skin that creates firmness and suppleness and is vital for skin elasticity, as well as driving skin cell renewal.
But collagen production slows down as we age, thus the impetus to replace it.
Skincare brands have long tried to introduce collagen into our complexions topically, although most dermatologists say its molecules are too big to penetrate below the surface.
So can consuming collagen orally really make a difference? Initially a sceptic, dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams, medical director at European Dermatology London (eudelo.com), now believes some products live up to their claims.
‘Like many others, I thought the collagen would simply be digested and broken down before it entered the bloodstream and never reach the skin.’
Scrutinising the data, however, Dr Williams discovered the process works very differently. ‘After the molecule is broken down, the fragments are absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed through the entire body, including the skin, where small fragments remain for up to 14 days.
'Then comes the interesting bit: your body is essentially tricked into thinking that these fragments indicate collagen breakdown – as would happen with a big tissue injury, for instance – and repair is urgently needed.
'So it stimulates fibroblasts to produce more collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid – the compounds that give our skin its youthful qualities.’
Dr Williams now concludes that ‘collagen drinks – which include home-made bone broth – actually work by persuading our bodies to synthesise new collagen. There is data showing that certain supplements can improve hydration, skin elasticity and wrinkling.’