Do collagen drinks really work?

Collagen drinks are one of the more controversial tools in the beauty and wellness industry's anti-ageing arsenal. In the search for new and effective ways to help us looking youthful for longer, the suggestion of simply taking one drink a day sounds tempting, but how effective are they really at improving your skin?

We spoke to skin experts for two collagen drink brands, Skinade and Beauty & Go, to answer the questions that have sprung up around their products and to discuss whether you'd benefit by incorporating collagen drinks into your skincare regime.

Why do we need to supplement our natural collagen levels?

"Our natural collagen production slows down from our early 20s by 1-1.5% every year and by the time you turn 50, most individuals will have lost about 50% of the collagen in your skin", reveals the plastic surgeon, and skin expert for Skinade, Dr Paul Banwell. "This can lead to sagging, thinning and wrinkles."

"This rate will depend on various lifestyle factors, such as diet, sun exposure, sleep and stress levels plus genetics and hormones," Daisy Whitbread, resident nutritionist for Beauty & Go, goes on to explain.

Isn't collagen too large to be absorbed into the bloodstream?

“Collagen molecules are indeed too large to be absorbed into the bloodstream, but the collagen in collagen drinks and other formulations is hydrolysed”, explains Tariq Karim, doctoral research fellow at Santi London, who works with Skinade. This means that the collagen molecules have been broken into smaller pieces, called peptides, which have a very low molecular weight, making them more easily absorbed in the gut.