Beauty drinks are all the rage in Asia and in Europe, and now they are even popping up here in the US.
Instead of undergoing laser resurfacing to help replenish your body’s natural collagen stores, you can gulp some collagen-enriched beverages. Products include Black Fungus Collagen Drink, Red Collagen Youth Drink, and Glowelle’s line of beauty drinks. Even Coca Cola is getting in on the game with the Beautific Oenobiol brand.
But before you drink to that. Do these products really deliver on their promises? And more importantly, how do they taste?
Many U.S. beauty and nutrition experts say the science is sketchy, and that there are far better ways to improve skin health than doing shots of hyalurionic acid or collagen.
“Current evidence does not show that special products provide any greater benefit than any food or beverage,” says Connie Diekman, RD, the director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St Louis and a past president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “When products go through the gastrointestinal tract, they are subject to digestion just like any food so ‘special’ ingredients, vitamins or amino acids are subject to digestion.”
Still, drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated is important for skin health. This means water and other fluids. “Caffeine is acceptable if consumed in moderate amounts,” she says. “As an RD, I’d encourage people to rely on proper nutrition, adequate hydration and activity for a healthy body, including the skin.”
Don’t go drinking your favorite moisturizer or other beauty products, warns Ron M. Shelton, MD, a New York City dermatologist. “It is not a simple matter to replenish the skin by consuming the end product,” he says. “If someone can benefit by more hyaluronic acid in their dermis, consuming it would not deliver this mucopolysaccharide (sugar water with amino acids) to the skin’s dermis.”
Put another way: The molecules would be broken down and reassembled, but not delivered to the area below the wrinkle that Juvederm would fill up, he says. “So drinking a bottle of hyaluronic acid will not give one a result of lifting and filling that the hyaluronic acid injections accomplish.”
Sorry, eating or drinking collagen won’t replace that which is lost in our skin. Yes, eating more protein can help boost your collagen supply, but not if you have sun damage, he says. “The destroyed collagen from ultraviolet A, does not get replaced by dietary protein.”
If you are deficient in vitamin C, your collagen supply is at risk. Vitamin C supplements can help, but when it comes to skin, topical administration of antioxidants may help the agents reach the dermis better than consumption by mouth.
The bottom line about beauty drinks? If you like the taste, there is probably no risk, but if you are expecting that they come from the fountain of youth, you may be setting yourself up for a big disappointment. Instead, see your dermatologist or plastic surgeon to find out what you can do to boost your collagen supply and get rid of fine lines and wrinkles.