Can collagen-enriched water really improve your skin?

Frankie McCoy

Improve your skin by drinking?

Well, yes, obviously by drinking more water — H2O from the tap is a fail-safe face saver. But if mere water isn’t rescuing you from dry cheeks and crow’s feet, there’s collagen-enriched water. Collagen, the protein that strengthens, elasticises and firms your skin, is being popped into bottles of quirkily packaged fruity water across town, with producers claiming that it’ll drastically improve skin elasticity all winter long.

Beauty & Go’s colourful bottles of bioactive beauty drinks, for example, come in four superfood sweet-coloured flavours, from the yellow mandarin, ginkgo biloba and guarana Skin Vitality, to Skin Revive (pomegranate, raspberry and persimmon), which tastes like Robinsons Summer Fruits squash, except with a jelly-ish mouth feel (although that could be psychological). Besides the collagen, each bottle contains vitamins and antioxidants to ward off winter sniffles. ‘The bioactive collagen peptides in Beauty & Go stimulate the body’s collagen production,’ says its resident nutritionist Daisy Whitbread.

What’s more, ‘the 100 per cent natural ingredients protect skin against environmental damage by improving its barrier function’, while ‘hyaluronic acid and aloe vera moisturise skin from within and antioxidants protect against free radical damage and ageing.’ Celebrations all round, then.

Bottling it: collagen is added to drinks, right, and shots

Not everyone is convinced by the claims of the collagen water industry, mind you. Dietitian Sian Porter points out that when we consume collagen-enriched products, ‘collagen would be broken down in the body like other proteins and used for growth, repair, renewal, energy — whatever your body needs it for. You have no control really where the body “puts things”, so collagen for skin does not mean it will be used for skin.’ Still, one study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology released last year showed an improvement in the skin in women who consumed a collagen peptide drink every day for eight weeks. Plus, of course, merely drinking more water will help. And it’s easy to knock back bottles of the Oasis-like Bella Berry, for instance, which comes in superfruit (pomegranate, blueberry, acai), summer fruit (raspberry, apple, pear) and tropical (pineapple, lime, mint) flavours, the last of which is particularly refreshing when ice cold. The snazzily packaged drinks, made with proper pressed fruit juice, contain not just collagen (marine collagen, made from the scales of saltwater fish — don’t worry, no fishy taste lingers) but other nutrients: collagen-boosting vitamins C, E and multiple Bs, plus zinc.

If you’d rather stick to shots, there’s Skinade in 150ml bottles and 15ml sachets — ideal fuel for the winter months, as head of marketing Louise Marchesin points out. ‘As winter comes, so does dry, dull skin. The big differences in temperature between the inside and the outside are devastating for skin hydration.’ You have to drink it every day for a month to see results, but that’s not a massive hardship given that not only does it have fewer than 40 calories and a host of other vitamins, it also tastes nice — of peach and mango. Want pampering with your collagen smoothie? At Askinology spa’s Facial Bar in the City, you can round off your deep-clean facial with collagen-boosted fruit cocktails (sadly non-boozy) such as the tropical fruit Singa Pore Skin. Winter’s here, people — it’s time to get a skinful.