Supplements aren’t just your basic vitamins. Dietary ingredients can be vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs or botanicals, as well as any other substances that can be used to supplement a diet.
But even though they sound harmless, know this: Nutricosmetics, which is when you try to take nutritional supplements for the purpose of skin health and beauty, is super popular in the modern age of desiring instant fixes, but supplements fall into a category that are not reviewed or approved by the FDA. In other words, there’s no regulation on the claims made on supplement packaging, so there’s no real proof that they would work in an average, healthy person.
We spoke to scientists and skin doctors for their take on whether consuming these costly supplements is helping us at all. You’ll be surprised to hear the answers…
Skincare supplements are not necessary…
for someone who has a healthy, balanced diet and doesn’t have any vitamin deficiencies. How do you know if you have any vitamin deficiencies? Get tested by a doctor. Secondly. Look at your diet, if you are taking three square meals with plenty of fruit and vegetables, you are probably getting more than your fair share of vitamins. However of you are smoker or on a crash diet, then you may need vitamin supplementation to support your skin, nail and hair needs.
Will It Hurt to Try Them Anyway?
If you’re thinking to yourself, I hear you, but I’m probs gonna try them anyway, then by all means, give one a go!* (*After checking with your doctor). Just promise me you’ll stay away from experimenting with fat-soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K. While some supplements are harmless to try (like vitamin B and C), because you’ll pee out the excess that your body doesn’t need, fat-soluble vitamins can accumulate in your system and lead to serious issues.
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Know that you probably won’t see big results …
from using supplements but, hey, there’s a small chance you might. Unlike medications, supplements are not meant to treat disease. Rather they are meant to optimize healthy functioning systems. Because they are usually taken by people who may not have severe skin or hair issues, don’t expect instant results. In fact, if you are taking oral vitamins for your skin, know that the oral route may not be the efficient method for delivering effects to the intended target— skin.
In an ideal world, supplements would give your body an extra dose of all of the important, “beautifying” vitamins necessary for clear, smooth, filter-perfect skin. But in reality, your body already has a pretty specific method for regulating its vitamin levels, so even if you take a supplement, those nutrients won’t automatically go to your skin (sadly). Same goes for collagen drinks. “There isn’t any evidence at this time that consuming whole collagen will actually survive the metabolism and digestion process, then travel to the bloodstream, and then, in turn, increase collagen production in your skin,” says Dr Kenneth Lee, an aesthetic doctor at SW1 Clinic.
So how do you get the vitamins to work on your skin? Aesthetic doctors recommend applying the vitamins topically onto your skin or undergo a skin therapy that infuses medical grade vitamins into the skin where you want it to work.
Still, Some Might Actually Work
Despite all of these prefaces and skepticisms, there are, actually, some science-backed supplements on the market that have been proven to be effective. For example, probiotics have been shown to improve both gut and skin health. If you have been taking antibiotics, you may be messing with the good bacteria flora of your gut and skin. This may result in a chain reaction of unpredictable skin (sensitivity, fungal) and gut issues (diarrhea anyone?). Taking an oral probiotic will help reset the skin microbiome and improve your overall skin condition, reducing your chances of acne outbreaks and skin rashes in the future.