The drinks are easy to find and purchase online, with a one-month supply of some popular brands retailing for around $42. But are they worth adding to your Amazon cart? Not according to Katie Rodan, MD and a cosmetic dermatologist in Oakland, CA.
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“Your body will break it down and use it for energy,” Dr. Rodan says. “Digestive enzymes are powerful, so the collagen won’t be absorbed into your bloodstream, meaning they won’t make it to your skin.”
So if guzzling collagen won’t do the trick, how can women increase their collagen levels? Dr. Rodan suggests tretinoin, a derivative of vitamin A and often used as an acne treatment, which penetrates far into the skin. “This is important because collagen is under the epidermis,” she says. In other words, any product needs to penetrate deeply to make a difference.
While tretinoin requires a prescription, an over-the-counter retinol can also help. “They both convert to collagen-boosting retinoic acid,” Dr. Rodan says. Plus, retinol is less irritating than its stronger, prescription counterpart. Not sure which is best for you? We’ve rounded up the Best Age-Reversing Retinols to suit your skin.