For decades, consumers have lined up for injections and creams that promise to plump, refresh, and smooth aging skin. But now, that same anti-aging crowd is dumping the shots and salves and going for snacks and smoothies instead.
A staple of skin care products—collagen—has moved to the newly trendy “functional foods,” as The Wall Street Journal recently pointed out. Instead of the standard anti-wrinkle creams and injectable fillers, people can try everything from collagen-packed powders to pre-made energy bars, chocolates, teas, shakes, and coffee creamers. The edibles tout all the same benefits of old stand-by cosmetics containing collagen—which is an abundant structural protein in the body, found in connective tissue. As we age, our bodies naturally produce less of the elastic, thread-like molecule that keeps our skin from sagging. Boosting and restoring your collagen levels with supplements “enhances” or “promotes” supple, youthful-looking skin, according to product labels and makers.
So far, the cosmetic-inspired consumables have been a hit. There are nearly 300 collagen-containing snacks now available, and sales reached more than $ 60 million in the past year. But scientists have been less eager to spoon up the food fad.