Collagen is a naturally occurring protein gives skin its structure and elasticity, keeping it smooth and supple. The problem? “As we age, our fibroblasts — the precursor cells to collagen — don’t create as much collagen as they did when we were young,” says dermatologist Francesca Fusco, M.D. Collagen is also broken down by too much sun exposure. The result? Drier, duller, sagging skin, and wrinkles. Fortunately, there’s a handy way to prevent those signs of aging: drinkable collagen.
Why sip your collagen?
Topical collagen only affects the specific areas where you apply it. Ingestible collagen works from the inside out to revitalize your skin from head to toe. After the collagen is digested and the molecule is broken down, its fragments are absorbed into
the bloodstream and distributed throughout your system. This tricks your body into thinking you’re experiencing collagen breakdown (as would happen with a major injury) and that repair is urgently needed, which kickstarts your production of new collagen.
Any proof it works?
Yes! A new study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that women who downed a collagen peptide drink daily saw a significant improvement in their skin after just eight weeks. In other research, reported in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, women ages 45 to 65, who ingested 2.5 grams of a hydrolyzed
collagen peptide once a day for eight weeks had a 20 percent reduction in wrinkle depth around their eyes. Plus, their level of a precursor to collagen (called pro-collagen) soared 65 percent.
Both results were long-lasting: The women’s skin was still dewier and more supple four weeks after they stopped taking the supplements.
How can I get it?
Not all ingestible collagen is created equal. Many experts believe that fish collagen is absorbed most rapidly by the body, which means that you may see results sooner. Just mix your collagen powder with water or juice, or try one of these collagen latte recipes! Try this one from Sports Research ($27.95, Amazon).
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Aging.