Skin Deep

Jennifer Aniston promotes it. But does drinkable collagen really get rid of wrinkles?

Collagen drinks such as these collagen smoothies are growing in popularity as an anti-aging supplement, but some doctors say they don’t work because your stomach acids break down the collagen when they are ingested.
Collagen drinks such as these collagen smoothies are growing in popularity as an anti-aging supplement, but some doctors say they don’t work because your stomach acids break down the collagen when they are ingested. Getty Images

Kourtney Kardashian and Jennifer Aniston have been promoting expensive collagen drinks, pills and powders lately, leading my patients to ask me if they work as anti-aging supplements.

Truthfully, your money would be better spent elsewhere. Drinkable collagen isn’t going to do anything for your skin.

Collagen is an important structural protein that gives your skin its youthful firmness and elasticity, but your stomach acid breaks it down when ingested orally before it can do any good. Besides, your skin can make its own collagen, but it needs vitamin C to do so.

Yes, your body produces about 1 percent less of collagen each year after the age of 20. So instead of buying expensive collagen drinks, you can eat an orange, grapefruit, or other foods that are rich in vitamin C, or take a vitamin C supplement.

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Dr. Leslie Baumann Miami

How to effectively combat wrinkles

While adding a collagen supplement to your diet isn’t going to erase your wrinkles, there are plenty of things you can do to help keep your skin looking smooth and youthful. First, talk with a board-certified dermatologist about your skin care routine to be sure you’re using the right products for your skin type and specific anti-aging concerns.

Topical vitamin C and retinoids are two of the best anti-aging ingredients, since they both help your skin to produce collagen on its own. Sunscreen is also a must, no matter your skin type, since the sun’s UV rays cause collagen proteins to break down more quickly.

There are also a number of in-office skin treatments that stimulate your skin to make more collagen, such as microneedling and laser skin rejuvenation.

Outside of your skin care routine, your everyday lifestyle habits can have a considerable impact on the health and appearance of your skin. Avoid things like smoking, tanning beds, and spending too much time in the sun, and always wear sunscreen, eat a balanced diet, and get plenty of exercise and enough sleep.

Bottom line

Don’t waste your money on trendy collagen drinks and pills — they don’t work. If you want to splurge on something for your skin, invest in a high-quality vitamin C serum.

Pair your anti-aging skin care routine with healthy lifestyle habits to get and maintain a healthy, glowing complexion.

For more information and videos on skin science, follow Baumann Cosmetic on YouTube, or follow @BaumannCosmetic on Instagram or Facebook.
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