It’s important to take a comprehensive approach to your skincare regime; gone are the days of just reaching for the pot of cold cream on your bedside cabinet. Nowadays, in order to do the best for your skin, and achieve the results that you want, it’s important to combine a variety of specialised skincare products and sunscreen, whilst avoiding no-nos like smoking, but also think about treating your skin from within – this means learning about how nutraceuticals can also be used to improve the condition of your skin.

This isn’t just about anti-ageing or wrinkle removal that makes us, as women, feel like there is a clock ticking above our heads which chimes every year and rings out a sound screaming “you’re getting old” – this is about wanting our skin to look great for our age, for others to think we look healthy, well and natural – we want our skin to have vitality! With improved life expectancy, and people much more active than ever before into later life, feeling good also means looking good.

Nutraceuticals and nutricosmetics

The term ‘nutraceuticals’ was first coined in the late 1980s. It describes the fusion between the words ‘nutrition’ and ‘pharmaceuticals’ as a name for products derived from food sources to promote health, prevent chronic diseases, delay the ageing process or support the structure and function of the body. Honing the definition yet further has seen the concept of ‘nutricosmetics’ appear in recent years – a hybrid between cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals – which refers to orally taken products, generally derived from natural ingredients, which are aimed at combating oxidative stress and inflammation, caused by our environment and lifestyles, by supplementing nutrients within the body to promote healthy skin. The main products within the nutricosmetics sector are so-called collagen drinks.

We all know that a good diet helps us to have a healthy body, and the skin is no different, there are now dietary supplements available, in the form of collagen-based drinks, which can boost the health of our skin. And in some cases, they have even been shown to have a beneficial effect on hair and nails too, if they also contain a vitamin B complex.

With this in mind, more and more women are becoming aware of the benefits of an inside-out approach to their skincare regime. In fact, a report published by Global Industry Analysts in July 2013 stated that the global nutricosmetics market is forecast to reach $4.24 billion in 2017.

We know women want their skin to look great, we know that more and more are aware of nutraceuticals and nutricosmetics, and that the demand and market for products appears to be growing; but what about the scientific evidence?

Do collagen drinks work?

It’s true to say that not all products are the same, so it’s worth doing some checking. However, more and more nutricosmetics are starting to show positive results from their use in studies and trials – so look for those. Some collagen-based drinks can be bought in high street chemists and some are only available through medical and cosmetic clinics or bespoke online retailers. They may all contain collagen, but it’s worth checking which source it is derived from, how much of it is contained in the drink, and how large the molecule is as you need it to be small enough to be absorbed into your bloodstream to get to work, rather than being passed out of the body by your digestion if it’s too large, all of these factors will impact on how well a collagen drink works – types include bovine, marine or porcine. The choice is yours, but look for those with enough key active ingredients to do the job that they claim, or if you’re a vegetarian or have religious preferences then be aware of the animal source.  

This may just sound like adding a multi-vitamin pill to your daily diet, but the key word here is collagen – this is the main building block of our skin and like any building, as it ages, the bricks get a little more worn and need some repair. Adding a collagen-based supplement to your diet to assist with the reduction in healthy collagen could be seen as getting the handy-man to come round to repair and rebuild all the broken bricks which you’re not able to do on your own anymore. In fact, you could even go as far as to say that adding a nutraceutical product to your daily skincare routine is an important choice, and probably one that should be given considerable thought. Evidence from clinical trials is showing a positive effect on skin hydration, the formation of new collagen and improvements in the overall collagen density in the skin following use of collagen-based drinks for 3 months or more – this means that nutricosmetics are re-building the ‘blocks’ to renewed, healthier and more youthful skin