Can beauty really be bought from a bottle?

by Ashleigh Austen

I’m no stranger to supplements. Each morning I dutifully swallow a selection of pills on the orders of my GP, naturopath and yes, a few to remedy self-diagnosed deficiencies. In the mix there’s a multivitamin, a probiotic, magnesium, apple cider vinegar, Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin D and fish oil – and that’s just the morning lot.

It’s safe to say most of us have had a dalliance with supplements at one point or another. But beyond basic nutrition and boosting energy levels, there’s a new generation of collagen bolstered pills, powders and liquids promising a slew of aesthetic benefits.

The theory behind these beauty elixirs is that when taken daily, they’ll increase collagen production in your skin, which in turn leads to a plump, younger complexion. So why not topically apply collagen if it’s so great? Because lines and wrinkles start deep beneath the skin’s surface for one. Plus, it’s no secret what you eat has a direct impact on the way you look, so it makes sense to ingest things that will make our skin look its brightest, smoothest and healthiest.

Like all things wellness, the past couple of years has seen the hype around supplements explode, with celebrities fuelling the rise (Jennifer Aniston, who looks the same as she did when Friends first appeared on our screens 23 years ago, credits collagen vitamins for her youthful skin.) At 27, I’m in a place where my complexion is still in good condition, but the signs of ageing and sun damage are creeping in. With the change of season leaving me with dull skin and patchy blotches, I was willing to put my face on the line.

Face facts

After reading up on collagen (and consulting my GP), I decided capsules were my most convenient bet, and added them to my AM collection. I’d read the effects are cumulative, so I wouldn’t notice much of a difference in the first couple of weeks, but towards the end of the month, that’s when they worked their magic. First, my spots disappeared (even the hormonal ones around my chin) and my tone evened out. Second, my skin just had more of a glow about it – akin to a once over with liquid illuminator.

What’s more, science backs my findings. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found women who’ve added collagen peptides into their routines not only improved their skin moisture, but that the peptides “reduce the fragmentation of the dermal-collagen network, thus counteracting one of the hallmarks of skin ageing.” Not bad for popping a few pills.

After seeing the payoff, I can safely say I’m now a (relative) convert.

Extract from