Pill that really can banish wrinkles

Whisper it… but there is a pill that really can banish those crow’s feet and fine lines

A woman takes a supplement. The pill called Strength Within has shown an ability to reduce crow's feet

Every woman’s dream? A woman takes a supplement. The pill called Strength Within has shown an ability to reduce crow’s feet

Popping a pill that will make you look younger is surely every woman’s dream. It might sound like science fiction, but research is proving that beauty supplements really do work.

Earlier this year, plastic surgeon Rozina Ali investigated the anti-ageing business in the BBC programme The Truth About Looking Young.

Among her findings was a Dove Spa supplement called Strength Within (£35 for a month’s supply, dovespa.co.uk), containing a powerful mix of vitamins and antioxidants (including vitamin C, vitamin E and lycopene) — it showed an impressive ability to diminish crow’s feet and fine lines.

The company claims the capsules contain extracts of plants and vegetables that help activate genes that promote the production of collagen, the stuff that helps plump up our skin.

Nearly 500 women took part in a 14-week trial of the pill and saw wrinkles around the eyes improve by up to 30 per cent and an increase in levels of collagen in the skin.

The research even impressed New Scientist magazine, which concluded the rigorous tests seemed to show the pill was effective.

Other companies are also making promises for their cosmetic pills that science is backing up.

Imedeen (from £35.23 for a month’s supply, imedeen.co.uk) offers a range of products including marine complex, a protein-rich extract derived from fish, shown to boost production of collagen and elastin — the foundation blocks for healthy, youthful skin.

The proof? As well as publishing its research in several international scientific journals, it offers consumers the opportunity to have their skin assessed by ultrasound before and after taking their pills so they can see the improvement in collagen density.

The free assessments, available in larger Boots stores, can be booked via the Imedeen website.

The company says 90 per cent of women will see a significant change in collagen levels after taking the pills for three months.

Meanwhile, supplement manufacturer Vitabiotics is carrying out trials on its anti-ageing pill range, Perfectil (from £9.15 for a month’s supply, vitabiotics.com).

Vitabiotics recently won acclaim for a trial that suggested its Pregnacare pills could aid conception. It is determined to show its beauty supplements are similarly effective.

‘We have hundreds of scientific references supporting each of the nutrients in our Perfectil products,’ says Robert Taylor, Vitabiotics vice president.

‘For us it’s important to obtain high-quality clinical data to support consumer studies and positive testimonials.’ So for just how long do you need to take these supplements before you start to see the effects?

Many of the trials report their results after three months, but you should start to see changes before then.

‘It takes around six weeks for new collagen to develop, so you’re going to have to use the products for at least two months to see any difference,’ says cosmetic dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting.

But while pills based on tried and tested skin-boosting ingredients, such as Vitamins A, C, E, Omega 3, lycopene and isoflavones, get the thumbs up, she warns against collagen-based supplements that don’t have convincing evidence that they can improve the skin.

Splashing out on supplements in addition to your normal skincare might seem an extravagance. But at less than the cost of a daily cappuccino, it seems like a price worth paying, if — as science is proving — the result is brighter, healthier and younger looking skin.

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