Drinking your skincare sounds pretty off-putting, but we’ve been doing it for quite some time now: There are hoards of “beauty” elixirs, powders—ahem, collagen—and D.I.Y. smoothie recipes via Pinterest dedicated to clearing up your pores and giving your skin a much-needed glow. But when the notoriously intense ingredient “retinol” is thrown into the mix, sipping it sounds, well, confusing. So, naturally, I drank it for a full week.
Earlier this month, Dirty Lemon debuted their latest elixir: +retinol, the first-ever “fountain of youth” drink infused with retinol, which is meant to “support more youthful looking skin and stimulate natural collagen production.” First, I thought it seemed gimmicky.. But since retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, I figured, what’s the harm?Plus, it also contains a few other tasty ingredients: lemon juice, pineapple, and a “beauty serum” crafted out of pomegranate, black and acerola cherries, hibiscus, and retinol derivatives. Saime Demirovic, founder of GLO Spa NY, is also pro-drinkable retinol:
“I am all for ingesting retinol, this is the most important key ingredient to having youthful looking skin,” Demirovic says. “It is important to note however that some people do have sensitivities to topical retinol and results aren’t the same across the board. Retinol then for some people can lead to breakouts and super dry skin. Ingesting it is another alternative and bypasses having to deal with those issues while helping you create healthier looking skin from the inside out. And since it is derived from Vitamin A, there’s really no harm in ingesting it.”
Before I even cracked my first bottle of the $45 six-pack open, there was one thing that alarmed me: the label. Yes, it’s only 15 calories, and contains just one gram of sugar and contains a 100% serving of your daily vitamin A intake, but my brows furrowed at the warning label. First off, this drink isn’t certified by the Food and Drug Administration. Second, it says not to consume if you’re “under 18, breastfeeding, pregnant, or may become pregnant.” It suggests sticking to one bottle per day. Also, little white bits clumped at the bottom, which was a turn off.
All warnings aside, I shook up my drink and slurped away. It tastes like your average juice: fruity, citrusy, and a little kick from the ginger puree. All was well… until it wasn’t. My stomach started cramping, and my skin felt hot and looked extremely flushed. I don’t know whether it was because I was drinking this on an empty stomach or if it was too acidic for my stomach (it’s very citrus-based), but it felt like somebody lit a fire in my gut.
Though most people would have probably given up after that, I decided to keep sipping—but with caution. I cut down my intake to half a bottle, and only after eating lunch. I followed this routine for a week, but so far haven’t seen anything miraculous happen to my skin. Does it seem brighter, buoyant, and more youthful? Kind of; sure; and I’m 23 years old—I (thankfully) don’t have wrinkles or fine lines to deal with in the first place. But, I have been cutting my serving in half, and Dirty Lemon does note that it does take about two weeks to see actual results.
So, would I recommend? If you have skin that’s too sensitive for topical retinol products, and if you have $45 to shell out, then sure. But, if you have a sensitive tummy like me, be wary—this stuff is powerful on your complexion, and your digestive system.