Published February 28, 2014
The claim: Two new studies published Skin Pharmacology and Physiology find a daily regimen of a new type of collagen supplement improves skin elasticity and reduces wrinkles around the eyes by 20 percent after just eight weeks.
The research: Between the two studies, more than 200 women took Verisol, a collagen supplement that can be added to beauty vitamins and drinks to increase collagen in the skin. In the first study, 114 women between 45 and 65 took a daily oral dose and, after eight weeks, showed a 20 percent average decrease in wrinkle volume around the eye—and a reduction of nearly 50 percent in some subjects.
Four weeks after the women stopped their daily regimen, wrinkle volume was still 11.5 percent less than it was at the start, on average. The second study had 69 women in the same age group drink the substance dissolved in water for 8 weeks; the subjects older than 50 showed a significant improvement in skin elasticity, hydration, and skin roughness.
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What it means: Collagen supplements are a point of debate among dermatologists and doctors because collagen is a protein that, when it enters your stomach, is largely broken down before ever making it to your skin. As a result, most derms would deem collagen supplements ineffective for anti-aging results. Instead, derms typically recommend a topical collagen cream to help boost collagen and achieve the firm, springy skin of decades past. But even creams have their limitations:
“The topical stuff doesn’t last long and it only penetrates the first layer of skin,” says Dr. Shilpi Agarwal, board–certified integrative medicine and family medicine physician in Los Angeles.
These studies, however, focus on a new type of ingestible collagen peptide that is more bioavailable—meaning, it's more easily absorbed by the body. As a result, it may boost collagen in the skin's deeper layers, where it helps reduce the look of wrinkles by plumping and firming the skin.
“On a cellular level, this works,” said Agarwal, who was not involved in the study but reviewed the research.
Bottom line: These initial studies only focus on one specific type of collagen peptide, but it’s a peek into the future of beauty-focused supplements that carry a serious bang for their buck.
“We need more validation and more research, but in addition to eating foods that are known to be collagen boosting like soy, omega-3s, and lutein-rich green vegetables, we’re close to making this a recommendation,” says Agarwal.
In the mean time, choose a collagen-booster that features this bioavailable formula, like Swanson Ultra Beauty Drink Mix with Verisol ($20; swansonvitamins.com) or Reserveage Collagen Booster ($42; resvereage.com).
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