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BEAUTY CLINIC: Do collagen supplements work?

Jo and Sarah answer real questions from readers: to put your query, go to

Q Are there any collagen supplements that you would recommend?

A We had been sceptical about collagen supplements in the past but a couple of years ago, Sarah spent some time researching them with consultant dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams, medical director at European Dermatology London, and our views shifted.

Dr Williams admitted that she too had been a sceptic. ‘Like many others, I thought the collagen would simply be digested and broken down before it entered the bloodstream and never reach the skin.’ Scrutinising the data, however, Dr Williams discovered the process works very differently.

‘After the molecule is broken down, the fragments are absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed through the entire body, including the skin, where small fragments remain for up to 14 days.’ Then comes the interesting bit, as Dr Williams explains.

‘Your body is essentially tricked into thinking that these fragments indicate collagen breakdown – as would happen with a big tissue injury, for instance – and repair is urgently needed. So it stimulates fibroblasts to produce more collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid – the compounds that give our skin its youthful qualities,’ she says.

Of the products Dr Williams examined, the top-rated was Aneva Totally Derma, £110 for 30 days supply, a powder that you take at night in a cool drink, which is backed by research. As a powder, this is preservative-free but includes a tiny bit of sugar.

Others we know rate Skinade, £105 for 30 x 150ml bottles, one daily. Like Aneva, the recommended course is 90 days. This drink does, however, contain a preservative plus sugar from concentrated grape juice and sucralose, an artificial sweetener. 

When Sarah talked to consultant dermatologist Dr Anita Sturnham ( 18 months ago, she recommended Beauty Complex, another powder (so preservative-free) which does not contain artificial colours or flavours and is sweetened with stevia. Much to Sarah’s amazement, she did see results within about 14 days, which continued while she trialled the product for nine weeks, and definitely tailed off after stopping.

As Sarah wrote then: ‘Let’s be clear: we’re not talking a facelift here – these are nutrients not a knife. But a bit more tone, lift and bloom, slightly more even-ness of texture and colour, and overall just a better more rejuvenated complexion. Maybe a ten to 15 per cent improvement, which is entirely welcome.’ Beauty Complex, £39.95 for 21 day supply, 

Beauty Bible loves… Herbivore Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Cream, £42. Herbivore’s is a wonderful story. The brand began as a kitchen table start-up in Seattle, selling its wares at farmer’s markets. That was nine years ago – yet its founders, Alex Kummerow and Julia Wills (they’re a couple, see below) are only just hitting their thirties.

This has become a much talked-about brand and is now here, at Space NK. At the prettiest press launch in history (and we’ve been to soooooo many), several things caught our eye – and our nose, because Herbivore’s creations smell just GREAT.

Herbivore Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Cream , £42. Herbivore’s is a wonderful story. The brand began as a kitchen table start-up in Seattle

The stand-out product in the 100% botanical collection is the new Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Cream – a divine, rose-scented, skin-plumping moisturiser that is pure joy to use. It is formulated for all skintypes; featherlight and offering a dewy finish that’s good under make-up.

But what we will say is that this one is really for ‘millennial’ skins, which don’t yet need extra anti-ageing or rich moisturising help. (Remember when ‘millennials’ were just called ‘young people’?)

Also interesting, in the range, are the Orchid Youth Preserving Oil (much better for older faces like ours), and we are LOVING the Jasmine Body Oil. There are dry clays, oils and other products in the range which tap into the growing love of doing a bit of D-I-Y with your beauty regime. (Something we’ve been doing, um, since before these two were born…!)

We love that some of the products are still made on the kitchen table, incidentally – with Julia’s dad crafting ever bar of their bestselling Bamboo Charcoal Cleansing Bar Soap, their very first launch.

Trust us: you’re going to be hearing a great deal more about Herbivore. (Not least from us.)

For a look at that launch, by the way, check out our Instagram: @beautybibleofficial  



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