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Imagine rubbing an apple on your belly to decrease hunger pangs between meals. We all know that wouldn’t work, don’t we? In a similar vein, however, Chinese women are drinking fish collagen in hopes of softening their skin. While we find this an interesting notion, we aren’t convinced it will create younger-looking skin.

Plastic surgery is big business among the Chinese, spending $1.47 billion in 2007. Skincare is also booming—reports are that the Chinese spent $5.3 billion on skincare products in 2007, the most recent year that statistics are available. Doubtless, many firms are eager to jump on the profit bandwagon with unique products to feed Chinese appetites for youthful skin.

Fish Oil = Softer Skin?

A Chinese firm named DHC claims that drinking a $4.58 bottle of their fish collagen daily will give consumers “skin as soft as a baby’s.” While drinking fish collagen may have other nutritional benefits, Chinese nutrition experts aren’t convinced it will deliver on its promise of better skin. Sun Yat-Sen University Hospital’s Vice Director of Nutrition Studies states that the amount of collagen that can be absorbed through the digestive system is insignificant. While we have no “official” opinion about the value of fish collagen drinks, we agree with Yat-Sen’s advice to eat more vegetables and fruits, for their high antioxidant properties.

If building collagen is your goal, re-read last week’s blog post about the three best ways to greater collagen production: laser skin resurfacing (our favorite being Fraxel CO2) Retin-A and similar skincare products, and hyaluronic acid fillers, such as Restylane, Juvederm, Sculptra and Perlane, all of which contribute to collagen growth.

For now, we think you can pass on the fish soda (eww!).

Medical Director at

Dr. Mitchell Chasin founded Reflections Center for skin & body as a place where physicians specializing in cosmetic medicine could focus on helping empower patients to feel their most beautiful. Dr. Chasin believes strongly that the best cosmetic physicians are those who are dedicated to mastering their craft through continuing education and collaboration with the industry’s top doctors.

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