Over the past few years, we’ve been told that the highway to clear skin isn’t just what we put on our skin, but what we eat as well. As such, we’ve grown accustomed to a new kind of beauty routine that involves green blender concoctions as well as anti-aging creams.
Beauty experts in Asia, however, have been practicing this method for a long time, developing fantastic over-the-counter beauty shots and supplements—now known as “nutricosmetics”—that have replaced homemade formulas. Their biggest discovery: ingesting collagen, the protein that keeps skin looking young and wrinkle-free, can create younger, wrinkle-free skin. We caught up with Paula Simpson, a celebrity beauty and nutricosmetics expert, on the benefits of these beauty shots and supplements and how they stack up to the traditional anti-aging lotion.
“Japan is the most mature market for nutricosmetics,” says Simpson. Similar to our five-hour energy shots, stores in Asia sell beauty shots right at the counter. “North America has most recently embraced the concept of ‘beauty from within’ as the association between nutrition and skin health strengthens in clinical research and education, along with recent nutricosmetic launches that bring convenient products to fit more easily into our fast-paced lifestyles.” With packaged drinks and pills becoming increasingly available, the idea of mixing your own beauty supplement seems like a waste of effort.
How do they compare to more traditional skincare products? “Nutritional beauty products work from within, providing key nutrients (such as hydrolyzed marine collagen) that are readily digested and effectively delivered to the target organ (the skin).” When applying a serum or lotion topically, only the targeted area of the skin is affected, whereas nutricosmetics affect all of the skin cells, increasing the rate of skin cell renewal and protecting the skin from external factors such as sun exposure and pollutants (both environmental and dietary).”
As it turns out, a topical treatment not only affects a smaller number of cells, it’s also not absorbed as well as something you can eat. That’s why a cream will have a shorter effect on your skin than, say, a beauty supplement, which may have a longer-lasting influence.
“It has been clinically shown that ingesting readily absorbed forms of hydrolyzed collagen can increase the diameter and density of collagen fibril within the dermis, thus improving skin’s mechanical strength and resilience against stressors that can break down healthy skin. By feeding within, the skin organ is supported throughout the body while stimulating cellular renewal and strength of the extracellular matrix to keep skin firm, strong and vibrant.”
Whether consumed in drink or pill form, the results are the same. Our favorite, however, is Taut Premium Collagen Replenishment Formula ($110 for a box of 8, renewalliance.com). Hailing from Japan, Taut’s 80-calorie beauty shot has the highest concentration of ingestible collagen on the market with 13,000 milligrams per 50 milliliter serving, compared to most products that offer only 5,000 milligrams. It also provides a big helping of vitamin C, which helps keep and build more collagen over time while repairing the skin’s elasticity and eliminating fine lines. For best results, our tester drank the shot every day for eight days, and then alternated every other day for 16 days. After a 24-day trial, our tester found that her skin was brighter and her fine lines were less noticeable.
We’ll drink to that!
Read more: 6 Things to Consider Before Getting Botox