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(Image: Skinade)

We tried an anti-aging collagen drink for 30 days and here's what happened

Collagen seems to be the buzz word on every skincare and nutrition product these days, so when I heard that a popular drink from the UK was gaining traction in the US, I wanted to give it a try!

Skinade is a peach and mangosteen flavored anti-aging collagen drink that is designed to boost your body’s natural production of collagen and hyaluronic acid. Unlike topical creams and serums, skinade is meant to work from the inside out. You drink a 150 mL bottle every morning to improve your skin’s hydration, elasticity, tone, texture, and suppleness, and to decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

The product is for both men and women of all ages. “From about the age of 20 onwards, we lose 1.5% of the collagen in our skin each year,” explains Louise Marchesin, the Head of Marketing for Skinade. “Collagen loss results in wrinkles, fine lines, and dry, blemished, or thinning skin. Drinking collagen from a young age before wrinkles form will help you maintain your youthful appearance.”

At the age of 25, I don’t have a ton of collagen loss or wrinkles—yet—so I was eager to see if my 30-day trial of skinade could help with hydration and generally push off the effects of aging a little longer. It’s recommended that you take skinade for at least 90 days, but you could see results in as little as 30 days.

In order to get a good read on the results, I asked Dr. Arlene Lamba, the Founder and Medical Director of Blush Med Skincare, to examine my skin in the Blush Skin Scanner before and after taking skinade. The scanner is used by members of the Blush SkinFit Health Club to measure progress during the unique skin training program, which consists of monthly “workouts” (treatments) that focus on exfoliation, hydration, collagen, and pH.

I began drinking skinade daily in February. The drink is made with marine collagen peptides, sourced from the skin of freshwater fish, but there is no oily consistency or fishy flavor to the drink whatsoever. The fruity taste made it very easy to take every morning.

“Collagen can be taken at any time as long as you get the daily dose of collagen peptides,” Marchesin says. “It’s been proven that the fibroblasts—collagen factories in our skin—will fire up when you consume between 5,500 and 6,500 milligrams of collagen peptides.” Skinade contains 7,000 mg per dose.

There are many ways to take collagen, including topical applications, pills, powders, and drinks. Skinade delivers collagen via a liquid because of the high absorption rates and the biological effect it has on your skin. Marchesin says the best way to add collagen to the skin is to trigger your own collagen production.

“Skinade works as a feedback mechanism, designed to trigger a physiological response in our bodies,” she explains. “As the collagen peptides are absorbed into the bloodstream, it prompts a wound-healing response. This response triggers fibroblast activity, our own collagen factories, specifically in the skin as skinade contains collagen type I and III, which are most abundant in the skin. But skinade is not a ‘nutritional supplement,’ as there isn’t anything you can eat or drink that will create this feedback mechanism. This is a common misunderstanding. There are nutritional elements in skinade like Vitamin B and C, but the collagen peptides are not.”

The absorption is also a key factor in skinade’s efficacy. “The Physicians’ Desk Reference puts the absorption rate of tablets at between 10 to 20 percent as opposed to liquids, which are listed at a much higher absorption rate of over 95 percent,” Marchesin adds. “The reason for this huge discrepancy is that, while the ingredients in solution can pass through the lining of the stomach and enter the bloodstream directly, pills and tablets must pass through the digestive system, where a great deal of the ingredients are simply passed through the body without being properly absorbed.”

Before I started my skinade trial, Dr. Lamba’s Blush Skin Scanner revealed that I was lacking moisture in my chin and forehead area, and I had collagen loss under my eyes and around my lips and nose.

During the trial, I felt that my skin was healthy and hydrated, but I didn’t detect any drastic changes on these fronts.

After 30 days, I went back to Blush Med Skincare for another scan. The moisture levels didn’t show any major changes, but Dr. Lamba explained that this could be because skinade is working throughout the entire body, rather than only on my face. “That box doesn’t know that I want most of my collagen on my face,” she said. “It may be helping you, but we’re not necessarily seeing that on the face as of yet. Where you’d be in six months, I don’t know.”

Regarding elasticity, it appeared that I had less discoloration around my chin and lips. Dr. Lamba explained that when skin is darker, the skin is shriveled or compressed. When it’s stretched out properly, there is a brightness to the skin.

The final diagnosis? “It wasn’t a drastic change in hydration as of yet, but there was more brightness in the skin.”

Like with any skincare regimen, the effects of skinade aren’t permanent. “When you stop drinking skinade, your collagen production will simply slow down and regain the pace of the natural aging process,” Marchesin explains.

One thing that gave me pause was the plastic waste. There’s a global push to reduce the use of disposable water bottles, yet skinade comes in sturdy plastic bottles. Over the recommended 90 days, you’d be producing 90 bottles worth of waste. The bottles are 100 percent recyclable, but it’s still a lot of plastic to consider. The travel version, on the other hand, is much more environmentally friendly, since each thin plastic sachet contains 15mL of liquid that you mix with a half glass of water.

Overall, I’d be interested in continuing with skinade to see how it would affect my skin over a longer period, but as with any high-quality beauty treatment, it’s definitely an investment. It starts at $150 for a 30-day supply, $300 for 60 days, and $450 for 90 days.