Do you need to take collagen with your breakfast? Are skincare gummies the path to great skin? If you were to look at the feeds of the most popular beauty bloggers, it feels like supplements are a must have. Nutritionists and dermatologists, however, disagree.
What Is A Skincare Supplement?
Supplements are just products in a variety of edible formats that contain minerals, amino acids, herbs or other botanicals that can be used to supplement diet. They are not supposed to replace good eating habits, or compensate for an inadequate diet rich in fresh products and healthy meals.
Many nutricosmetics, or those supplements marketed as having a positive cosmetic effect on skin or hair, are not regulated and there are not enough medical studies to prove they actually work. There is no real proof that they do what it says on the package, or backing the celebrity blogger’s claims.
So Do You Need To Take Skincare Supplements?
In an ideal world, you would get all the nutrients you need from your diet. 5 a day vegetables, fresh lean protein and a balanced diet will give your body all the minerals and vitamins that it needs. If you already have this sort of diet, skincare supplements will do nothing useful, as your body will get rid of the excess via the usual channels.
Even if your diet is absolutely terrible, supplements are not going to fix it and give you the skin of your dreams. If your main source of carbs is fizzy drinks and you haven’t seen a fresh vegetable in a week, supplements won’t combat that. But if you are lacking in some vitamins, proteins or minerals supplements will supplement your diet and help you reach the recommended amounts.
Are There Any Skincare Supplements Proven To Work?
There are actually some science-baked supplements that have proven to be effective in clinical trials. For example, the extract of polypodium keucotomos is a very potent antioxidant and has been shown to improve skin conditions related to pigmentation, such as melasma.
Many people also lack enough vitamin B in their diets, due to dietary choices (vegetarians get the short stick here) or just because they don’t get enough from food. Vitamin B is incredibly important for the health of your hair and nails. If you take Biotin containing supplements, you may notice your hair and nails are stronger and healthier.
According to WebMD vitamins C and E are able to counter the effects of sun exposure thanks to their antioxidant powers. However, it is important to note than supplementing with vitamin E without medical supervision can be dangerous. This is due to the fact that this particular vitamin binds to fat and accumulates in the body, unlike Vitamin C which is water soluble and gets removed easily.
The same goes for Vitamin A, which you probably already use topically as your nightly Retinol product. It is safer to use it this way, so if you are worried about acne or wrinkles consider using a retinol instead of a skincare supplement.
Skin Elasticity Supplements
If your concern are fine lines and wrinkles, there are some vitamins and minerals that have shown promising results.
Look for skin elasticity supplements containing vitamin A, C and E (antioxidants), vitamin B (it keeps your skin hydrated for longer) and the minerals zinc, selenium and copper.
The jury is out regarding collagen peptides. Collagen is a protein. Due to the effects digestion has on the proteins you eat, it is unlikely that the collagen in your skin care supplements will reach your skin. However, if your diet is lacking in protein the amino-acids resulting from digesting those supplements can be used by the body to rebuild collagen on your skin.
Most skin elasticity supplements will take a long time to actual give results, but they may be helpful if your diet is not as good as you’d like. You may start seeing some results after the three months mark. Overall, if your diet is already balanced, you may never see any improvements.
Meanwhile, don’t forget your sunscreen! Preventing sun damage will help your skin elasticity and reduce the formation of wrinkles.
Side Effects Of Skincare Supplements
It is always advised to talk with your doctor/health professional before you start taking any vitamin supplement for skincare or hair and nails supplements. This will identify if you are actually lacking something on your diet, or if supplementing could lead to secondary effects.
This is particular important if you are pregnant or aiming to be, or on a medication that could play havoc with your blood mineral and vitamin levels.
Pay special attention if your are using a supplement that contains calcium or vitamin D. They can cause constipation, nausea and fatigue, as well as abnormal health rate.
Some supplements contain marine sources or egg derivatives that could cause an allergic reaction if you are, for example, allergic to shellfish or egg. Always check the booklet for details, even if they are bought over the counter.