Twenty (or so) days ago I let you into the secret that I was drinking the new Pure Gold Collagen drink – now you know why, it was all to do with my Japanese theme. Skin boosting drinks and foods containing collagen are common in Japan. You can buy yogurts, drinks, sweets, all sorts enhanced with it. Plus, as I discovered over at Jonelle Patrick’s excellent Tokyo blog there’s a tradition of eating soups or stews made of intestines (which, like most other offal, are a good source of collagen) to aid skin. Now, the collagen craze has hit the UK with the first mass market collagen supplement drink, Pure Gold Collagen, being sold in high street chemist Boots.
It’s caused some controversy – since I posted my first post I’ve had radio stations contacting me to ask what I thought and there’s been a bit of a twitter debate between beauty journos as to whether it can live up to the hype. Scientifically, not surprisingly, much of the research as to whether ingested collagen can actually reach the skin has been done in Japan and there is a study that’s found that if you eat or drink collagen it does make its way into the bloodstream and therefore theoretically it could impact on the skin.
So, the next question is, does collagen itself actually do anything to the skin? And, again yes, it has been shown that collagen applied to bits of skin in a lab environment does stimulate activity in skin calls called fibroblasts. Theoretically therefore, if you add the two studies together it’s possible that if you eat/drink collagen containing goodies they could improve skin health – under a microscope at least.
Which brings up the big issue – see even if your fibroblasts are doing little jigs of joy every time you take a swig of collagen drink, does this make you look any better in front of the mirror where it counts? The only way to tell was to try it. So, over the last month I drank 30 bottles of the stuff.
Thankfully, I was surprised at how pleasant it was – I was expecting, well, let’s be frank – slimy goo that felt like swallowing snot. Actually it’s just like a thin smoothie – and it tastes nice and fruity, if a bit acidic (not really surprising as it contains added vitamin C), it was certainly not a problem to consume it every day. But was it a total waste of time?
Well the box claims it should help in three different areas, so in turn…
The Claim: It can help promote younger looking skin: Depends on your definition of younger I suppose. I’ve noticed no difference in the lines around my eyes which are my personal determinant of how old I feel – however, my skin does look plumper and dewier overall. So yes, in that respect it does look better – and younger. Result out of 10: about a five
The Claim: It improves skin hydration: My face is still super dry – but there again, I think I’ve been reminded (by my skin feeling like it’s going to crack) to apply moisturiser probably twice this month so perhaps it’s doing something. I do also notice that I don’t have my normal scaly shins: Result out of 10: about a six
The Claim: Reduces the appearance of deep wrinkles: As I say, it has made no difference to my crows feet – the lines between my nose and mouth which I have treated with fillers do seem to be less pronounced, but the fillers do plump out with increased hydration. My decotallage however is still crepey! Result out of 10: about a three
So, would I spend £35.99 on it – no probably not I’m afraid to say. I can’t say the results I’ve had have been any better than those I achieve by taking a good quality fish oil and actually remembering to apply moisturiser. Admittedly the big results the company claim say they arrive between 8-12 weeks and I’ve been testing the product for four, but if I’m going to spend over £100 on making my skin look nice I’d rather do so splashing out on a pot of Creme de la Mer which, applied sparingly, lasts me over three months and does make my skin look amazing.
So I suppose the next question is – am I brave enough to try a bowl of motsunabe on my trip? And will that make me gleam? The jury, to be honest, is still out – I have some offal issues which I need to get over before I get on the plane. At worst I will attempt to hunt down some collagen marshmallows though – just got to remember what the characters look like!
Collagen soup: from jonellepatrick.com.
Mashmallows from http://hotjapannow.ecrater.co.uk/