One of the building blocks of healthy skin (and a number of other parts of our body, like hair, nails and bones), collagen plays a key role in healthy, smooth and supple skin. Disappointingly for us, however, optimum levels don’t last, and our body’s ability to produce it begins to drop from our mid twenties on – prompting a loss of elasticity, firmness, radiance, and that plumpness that we’re all so keen to cling onto as we get older. “We can’t prevent it, but we can slow it down,” says cosmetic surgeon Dr Benji Dhillon. Yes, applying vitamin C and SPF is important, but experts now agree that taking a collagen supplement could help, too.
“A collagen supplement delivers various types of collagen protein when taken daily, in either a powder, gel, drink, capsule or tablet format,” explains Kay Ali, official nutritionist at Beauty Pie. “While 28 different types have been identified, type one collagen is most commonly found in skin, bone, teeth, tendons, ligaments, vascular ligature and organs. It’s typically extracted from marine, porcine or bovine sources.”
Taken daily, clinical trials have shown a collagen supplement has the ability to slow down the body’s breaking down of its own collagen. In fact, the marine collagen in Beauty Pie’s soon-to-launch Collagen Super Powder reduced it by a huge 31 per cent. “With daily ingestion at an effective dose, you can expect to see plumper and more dewy-looking skin,” says Ali. It can also promote hyaluronic acid production thanks to an “ability to stimulate HAS2 receptors in the dermis”, which means skin will also look more hydrated. The older we get, the greater our collagen depletion, which suggests supplements are an excellent idea after 40.
For a long time though, the jury was out, and some skin experts remain unconvinced by their efficacy. But it seems that in the last couple of years, as more innovative formulations have become available, many agree that they are worth taking, and not just for skin, but for hair and nails too. That said, not all are made equal: “I am a big believer in the drink options out there, like Skinade,” says Dr. Dhillon. “The brand has a fair amount of clinical research demonstrating great results, which is why I believe in it. In a lot of cases with other products, consuming collagen just means the collagen gets broken down by the body’s digestive processes.”
Meanwhile, Ali is keen to point out that many of the collagen supplements on the market don’t provide anywhere near the amount of collagen required to slow down its breakdown in the body: “Ten grams is the average amount required,” she says, pointing out that it’s important to purchase hydrolysed collagen formulas, as these can be absorbed effectively by our digestive systems and can get to where they need to be. So, what are the best collagen supplements to try now?
The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost
“Antioxidant-rich ingredients are vital in helping to fight collagen-damaging free radicals, and to protect our skin from premature ageing,” says Carla Oates, founder of the brand. “The Collagen Inner Beauty Boost is rich in antioxidants like acai, papaya, goji berry and blueberry, alongside zinc and vitamin C to help collagen synthesis.”
£29, available at Cultbeauty.co.uk.
With consumer trials reflecting increased hydration and radiance, reduced fine lines and wrinkles, plus healthier looking hair and nails, take Skinade’s (150ml) bottle daily in half a glass of cold water.
£115.50, available at Skincity.co.uk.
Nigma Talib ND Immortal Skin Collagen Powder
With marine collagen and probiotics – and 21 other powerful ingredients – this powder promises to look after your gut as well as tackle collagen depletion. Immortal skin? Yes please.
£70, available at Net-a-porter.com.
Ancient + Brave True Collagen
This Ancient & Brave powder, which contains hydrolysed collagen peptides, can be blended in a smoothie or sprinkled onto yoghurt.
£27.99, available at Selfridges.com.
Absolute Collagen Marine Liquid Collagen Drink
This drink contains marine collagen and is also formulated with vitamin C, which helps boost the body’s ability to absorb said collagen.
£32.99, available at Absolutecollagen.com.