How to Drink Collagen for the Skin

It used to be that collagen was only known as an injectable substance that was supposed to make you look years younger by filling wrinkles and plumping lips. But recently, there's been a shift toward drinking collagen. If you're confused by the move from dermatologist office to grocery store shelves, let us explain.

Lots of companies now offer collagen-boosted drinks. (Image: m-imagephotography/iStock/GettyImages)

Collagen is a protein your body produces naturally that helps build and fortify bones, skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. You can also think of it as the glue that holds your skin together. However, the amount of collagen in the skin tends to decrease with age. Hence the desire to replenish it via external application.

Beauty and beverage companies have capitalized on this phenomenon by marketing collagen-based drink supplements. And while some studies have shown some promising results in wrinkle reduction and overall skin appearance, don't base you anti-aging regimen solely on these elixirs.

Doctors and dermatologists agree: It's important to protect the collagen your body produces naturally through a healthy diet, sufficient hydration and sun protection. But if you've been curious about drinkable collagen, it can be a part of a healthy lifestyle. Here's what you need to know.

Collagen is a great addition to smoothies. (Image: Courtesy of Vital Proteins)

Know Your Options

There are two main categories of drinkable collagen supplements: powders and pre-made drinks. Powders (like the ones made by Vital Proteins) are easily mixed into smoothies and shakes or even your morning coffee. Pre-made beverages (like Neuro Protein) require no prep, but do need to be stored in the fridge.

So choose a drink that fits your lifestyle. For example, if you're always running from one task to the next, you might prefer a pre-made beverage you can grab on the go. On the other hand, if you swear by your morning smoothie, you might try adding a scoop of collagen powder.

Additionally, pay close attention to ingredients. Most collagens are derived from either bovine (cow) sources like this one from Vital Proteins or from marine (fish) sources like this one from Further Food. So vegetarians and those with allergies should beware. And anyone using a collagen supplement should ensure that it comes from a quality source.

Store Your Collagen Properly

It's important to store your collagen drinks and powders properly so they maintain their efficacy and don't go bad. Pre-made drinks should be stored in the refrigerator. Keep a close eye on the expiration date, as quality-made drinks won't contain a bunch of unnecessary preservatives, meaning they have a shorter shelf life.

If you're using a mix, keep the container in a cool, dark place away from moisture, which can cause the powder to clump. So not necessarily in the fridge (unless instructed by the manufacturer), but away from windows and appliances like ovens and microwaves. And generally, you will want to consume your powder-made drink soon after you make it.

Stick to a Schedule

Drink your supplement at roughly the same time every day. Doing so will help you establish a routine and ensure that you don't miss any doses. Consider drinking your supplement in the morning, with breakfast, or in the evening, before bed.

And once you work out a preferred time of day, continue drinking the collagen for several months. Collagen supplementation is not a quick fix, and it may take several months to see results. Additionally, you may be more likely to notice a reduction in new wrinkles rather than the removal of existing wrinkles.

What Do YOU Think?

Do you drink collagen? Had you heard of the trend before? What collagen products and supplements have you seen? Would you give it a try? What's your favorite way to drink collagen? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!

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