And yet, if you’ve clicked through to check out the products everyone is raving about on social, you’ve also discovered that drinkable collagen powders don’t come cheap. Many brands start at just under $50 for one month’s supply. But do they really do anything visible for your skin?The studies done on oral collagen’s potential affects on skin are limited, say multiple experts. “Most studies of oral collagen are not rigorous enough to draw conclusions about their effect on skin health, appearance, or aging,” says Chapas. Even more unconvinced is Tina Alster, M.D., dermatologist and director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery. She says the collagen molecule is enzymatically digested in the stomach and thus couldn’t be distributed to the skin intact to produce the kind of changes touted in the plethora of marketing claims.
However, if you have dry skin, you’ll be interested in one study that may suggest that ingestible collagen can improve skin hydration in subjects over the age of 30 and slow the formation of deep wrinkles while increasing skin thickness, says Sumayah Jamal of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. Take it with a grain of salt, Jamal adds, as she thinks the three to four month long studies need to be repeated in larger groups, with more controls, and over longer durations in order to be anywhere near academically convincing.