I get lots of emails from different companies asking me to try out and then review their products on Holistically Haute™. They are 99% of the time skincare products, which is fine since I do write about skincare quite frequently and as an aesthetician it obviously is one of my specialties, but it is nice to change it up every now and then. When I got a request from a representative of NeoCell™
to try out some of their internal collagen and hyaluronic acid (HA) supplements I was excited and immediately agreed to give them a go. Collagen and HA are found in every part of the body, but are very important for healthy and youthful skin. I have used both topically, and both are very popular topical skincare ingredients in both over-the-counter (OTC) and professional-grade products, but these ingredients do come with some challenges when used in topical formulations: mostly due to a large molecular size making the products unable to penetrate the skin. I could see how an internal supplement, however, could do a lot of good.
I was sent a 7 oz container of NeoCell’s Super Collagen powdered supplement, as well as a 16 oz jar of their Hyaluronic Acid Blueberry Liquid supplement to try. The company said that people generally start to see results in about 3 weeks or so when the products are taken as directed. So I did just that.
What are collagen and hyaluronic acid?
Collagen is one of the most important proteins found in the body. It is very strong and pliable, and supports our bones, joints, and connective tissues including the skin. Collagen makes up about 70% of the dermis (deeper layer of the skin), and is produced there by cells called fibroblasts. As we age, these cells produce less and less collagen (and elastin, another important protein fiber which supports the skin), and the collagen within the dermis begins to deplete causing the dermis to thin out. This is part of the skin’s aging process. Factors such as poor lifestyle choices like smoking, excessive UV exposure, toxic build-up, poor diet, dehydration, and stress actually speed up the degradation of the collagen in the skin, causing premature aging; but also in the body, causing joint pain, and brittle hair and nails. Conversely, making healthful diet and lifestyle choices can help preserve the collagen we have and encourage our bodies to keep producing this essential protein fiber. NeoCell’s Collagen supplement is indicated to:
- “Thicken fine hair, adds body and can slow hair loss
- Correct split, rigid and weak nails
- Strengthen and nourish ligaments, tendons and bones
- Provide specific amino acids (hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine) necessary to replenish our body’s collagen supply”
Hyaluronic acid is another protein that is abundant in our skin and bodies at birth, and degrades as we age. It is unique, however, for its humectant properties; meaning its ability to draw and retain water. It is quite possibly the most powerful humectant due to its capacity to hold 1,000 times its own molecular weight in water. This is what makes it such a hot commodity in skincare formulations: not only does it provide extreme hydration to the skin, but it also helps to push other active ingredients deeper into the skin while allowing the skin to breathe at the same time (unlike certain emollients and heavy occlusives). HA is also quite a popular internal supplement these days and is often marketed as a benefit to joint health with similar indications as glucosamine chondroitin/sulfate supplements. In addition to providing lubrication to every cell in the body, HA:
- “Has been found to assist in the regulation of cell turnover in the skin
- Stimulates DNA synthesis and fibroblast cell division for healthy skin and cartilage maintenance
- Serves as an antioxidant to free-radicals generated by UV radiation
- Has analgesic effects and aides in skin hydration and wrinkle reduction”
- Has also been shown to improve eye health.
What makes NeoCell’s Collagen and HA supplements different from others on the market?
Collagen and HA are two of the biggest buzzwords not just in skincare products but also as internal supplements. They are found everywhere from the drug store to the health food store, even in some high end department stores. Like skincare products, it is hard to know what makes one product with similar ingredient stand out from the others. I always go back to quality and quantity
, and recommend that people check their ingredient labels to see where on the label the advertised active ingredients fall. If they are found in the first 3 to 5 ingredients on the list, you can be sure that the product contains a high concentration of those ingredients. However, if it is somewhere in the middle or at the end of a long list, you can be sure that there is probably just enough of the advertised ingredient for the manufacturer to be able to legally advertise it on the product labels and in their marketing. This practice is referred to as “angel dusting” and I find it to be very deceptive.
In the NeoCell products I tried, collagen and HA are the number one ingredients on their respective product labels. Furthermore, unlike other supplements on the market, the collagen and HA are naturally derived (from animal sources). Other supplements out there use the synthesized or bacteria-fermented versions of them which are not as potent.
Now, even as an internal supplement, collagen is typically too large a molecule to be absorbed and utilized by the body. So I did a little checking (pestering) with the company’s chemists and found that “NeoCell uses a special enzymatic hydrolyzation process to lyse, or cut, the collagen into smaller molecular weight particles so they are bioavailable and bioactive to the body.”
The HA Blueberry Liquid formula also contains concentrates of very high antioxidant
foods such as agave, pomegranate, blueberry, cranberry, elderberry, and green tea
; as well as liquid ionic minerals.
Both products are free of gluten, soy, wheat, lactose, starch, yeast
, and artificial flavors. All Neocell products are GMP-certified as well. This means that the company’s manufacturing practices have been audited and approved by third party auditors and have been certified for compliance and for meeting high quality standards. This is an important thing to look for on the label of your supplements. Since supplements are not regulated by the FDA (not that the FDA is perfect), there are unfortunately many companies out there that are not manufacturing and marketing their products ethically or following any quality control standards but their own. NeoCell has the GMP-Certified seal.
Does NeoCell work?
Even though I was impressed by the company’s attention to detail and willingness to disclose information, I was still skeptical about whether the products would work or not since I have tried other similar supplements (long before I really knew what to look for in a supplement, so I have no idea how good the quality was) in the past with no noticeable results.
I’ve also mentioned before that with me, it’s hard to tell if something is working because I already use a lot of great skincare products and high quality supplements; plus I am really strict with my water intake and eating really healthy foods. All that being said, I did notice some positive changes in my hair, skin, nails, and eyes shortly after taking the products.
After I lost my weight
, I was a bit dismayed to see that my skin felt thinner and less supple due to the loss of fat in my face. Of course it was a good thing, but still a bit annoying nonetheless. I changed my skincare regimen up a bit and started seeing some improvement, but after taking these supplements, I have to say my skin feels much like it did when I had more fat in my face…supple, soft, and plump. You know my stubborn forehead lines that I tend to obsess over? They have softened significantly. On my body my skin is retaining moisture much better as well throughout the day, and my nails are much thicker, more flexible, and have been growing like weeds. My hair has also been growing more and is even shinier than it was before.
I also noticed an improvement in my eye health. I have chronically dry eyes
, which I’ve gone through quite a bit of trial and error in treating. I finally found a great naturopathic
remedy for it (after other measures had failed), which worked really well, but then allergy season hit and my eyes became dry and irritated again. I have to say that since I started taking these supplements my eyes have felt hydrated and my contact lenses don’t get that sticky, dried out feeling by the end of the day.
**4/1/17 Edited to add–this post was written in 2012 and I no longer have an affiliation with this company or the products. I do not represent these products, or work with the company. The information in this article is based on the formulations that existed at the time it was written. If you have questions or concerns about the products, please direct them to the company itself.**