Can eating or drinking products with collagen in them really keep you looking younger?
Collagen-boosters you put in your mouth instead of on your face are gaining popularity. They’re putting collagen in coffee, yoghurt and marshmallows in Japan, while here we’re seeing supplements and drinks all claiming to increase your collagen reserves. The theory is the collagen will move to areas in need of repair like your joints, and more importantly for the beauty conscious, your skin.
Although the protein is made by our cells, it naturally depletes with age. Collagen not only helps to hold skin together but gives it firmness and elasticity, so the more you have in your body, the fewer wrinkles you have. Traditionally women have got an extra hit of collagen through topical products that use retinoids and antioxidants. But how much collagen can these really provide? Michèle Wilton, naturopath and technical adviser for Natural Meds, says the research is sketchy. “Topical applications may only get through the first layers of the skin, if at all,” she says. “You really want it working to strengthen the structures of your body at a deeper level so it makes sense to replenish your collagen stores from the insides rather than on the surface.”
Not everyone is convinced. “I personally don’t believe in collagen supplementation,” says Dr Catherine Stone from The Face Place. “I think it’s more beneficial to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and to supplement with a good multivitamin, vitamin C and fish oils,” she says.
That said, many studies seem to show a positive result. When New Zealand-based GO Healthy did a clinical trial on the collagen in its GO Beautiful Skin, the results found 71% of their subjects, who were 40 and older, saw a decrease in the appearance of wrinkles. It may not be for everyone, but it’s definitely food for thought!
Plump it up
If you think you could do with a dose of collagen, here are some products that are on the market in New Zealand at the moment:
1 NeoCell Beauty Bursts, $40, deliver their collagen boost in these soft chews. Available in Super Fruit Punch flavour.
2 NeoCell Collagen Beauty Builder, $46, contains Super Collagen Type 1 & 3.
3 Go Healthy Go Beautiful Skin Collagen Support,$50, containing clinically researched Collactive natural Marine Collagen. Take 1-3 capsules a day, and for best results take on an empty stomach, before bed.
How much collagen do you have left?
If you’re worried about the amount of collagen in your body, there is a simple test to check your status. Pinch the back of your hand, and if you can easily grab a fold of skin that looks to be detached from the underlying tissue, then your skin is getting old. If there is ample collagen in your skin, then the same test will see the skin unable to be lifted very high off your hand.