Beauty Clinic: Do collagen supplements work?

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Q. Are there any collagen supplements that you would recommend?

A. We had been sceptical about collagen supplements in the past but a couple of years ago, Sarah spent some time researching them with consultant dermatologist Dr. Stefanie Williams, medical director at European Dermatology London, and our views shifted.

Dr. Williams admitted that she too had been a sceptic. ‘Like many others, I thought the collagen would simply be digested and broken down before it entered the bloodstream and never reach the skin.’ Scrutinising the data, however, Dr. Williams discovered the process works very differently.

‘After the molecule is broken down, the fragments are absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed through the entire body, including the skin, where small fragments remain for up to 14 days.’ Then comes the interesting bit, as Dr. Williams explains. 

‘Your body is essentially tricked into thinking that these fragments indicate collagen breakdown – as would happen with a big tissue injury, for instance – and repair is urgently needed. So it stimulates fibroblasts to produce more collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid – the compounds that give our skin its youthful qualities,’ she says.

Of the products Dr. Williams examined, the top-rated was Totally Derma/£105 for 30 days supply, a powder that you take at night in a cool drink, which is backed by research. 

Others we know rate Skinade/£105 for 30 x 150ml bottles, one daily. Like Totally Derma, the recommended course is 90 days and again is supported by research. 

When Sarah talked to consultant dermatologist Dr. Anita Sturnham ( 18 months ago, she recommended Beauty Complex, another powder (preservative-free) which does not contain artificial colours or flavours and is sweetened with stevia. Much to Sarah’s amazement, she did see results within about 14 days, which continued while she trialled the product for nine weeks, and definitely tailed off after stopping. 

As Sarah wrote then: ‘Let’s be clear: we’re not talking a facelift here – these are nutrients not a knife. But a bit more tone, lift and bloom, slightly more even-ness of texture and colour, and overall just a better more rejuvenated complexion. Maybe a ten to 15 per cent improvement, which is entirely welcome.’  Beauty Complex, £39.95 for 21 day supply,