How Supplements Can Enhance Your Skincare Routine
A consistent skincare routine is the foundation for healthy skin. Using sunscreen everyday alongside potent active ingredients like retinol to ward off signs of aging, vitamin C to brighten the skin, and hyaluronic acid (HA) to restore moisture (to name a few) can go a long way towards maintaining or improving skin tone and texture. But even the best skincare regimens can’t fix everything.
This is where the saying ‘beauty from within’ holds true. If your topical skincare products aren’t delivering the level results you’re looking for, an ingestible supplement could help boost the benefits from the inside out. “It is very clear that our skin is impacted by what we consume, which includes both food and supplements,” says Gabe Kennedy, co-founder of Plant People. As he explains, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and herbs can all directly impact the skin and protect against environmental aggressors that lead to signs of aging. “There are other factors, such as stress, that impact our skin,” he explains. “We specialize in supplements for sleep, stress, and inflammation — all of which can improve the quality of skin from the inside out.”
So, how can supplements complement your skincare routine? We’re asking the experts.
How Supplements Enhance Skincare
Supplements work in several ways to enhance your skincare. First, “they can provide vital vitamins and minerals that our body needs to have healthy skin cells or hair follicles,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a New York City-based board certified dermatologist. This is especially beneficial as we get older. “As we age, many of our naturally occurring proteins and vitamins deplenish and supplements help to replenish this loss and support the building blocks of our body,” she says.
Secondly, “they can trigger our body’s production of proteins or minerals,” Dr. Engelman says. Take, for instance, collagen supplements. “Supplemental collagen is fragmented pieces of amino acids and peptides,” she explains. “The presence of these in the bloodstream sends a signal that collagen is being processed as waste for removal.” That signal kickstarts the body’s natural processes. “This triggers production to go into overdrive to replenish the collagen that is being removed,” Dr. Engelman shares. “In a collagen-deficient system, this will support and increase collagen production.”
Just as the quality of a topical skincare product is dependent on the quality of its ingredients, a key component to the effectiveness of a supplement is what it’s made of. “Our formulas use a combination of scientifically proven, clinically studied ingredients alongside extracts used in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine,” says Jules Miller, founder and CEO of The Nue Co. “It’s this combination which delivers real results.”
If you look at the brand’s Skin Filter formula, you’ll find beta-carotene alongside a proprietary blend of champagne grape seed, melon, vitamin C, and zinc. When ingested, the body turns beta-carotene into vitamin A, which “is responsible for stimulating fibroblasts, the cells responsible for developing tissue that keeps skin firm and healthy and the deepest layer,” Miller says. As such, this supplement addresses skin concerns ranging from blemishes and redness to skin tone and texture.
Common Skin Concerns Supplements Can Address
The vitamin and supplement market is a crowded one, and every formula seems to make a grandiose claim. So, how should you decide what’s worthy of a spot in your routine? For starters, determine what skin concerns you’re trying to address. “We get really specific about the conditions we want to target,” Miller shares. “There’s no point in making a generic ‘skin’ supplement because everyone has different concerns.” The more micro your concern, the more targeted your results. “We really focus a formula on addressing breakouts, hydration, or pigmentation,” she says. “By getting specific about the issues a formula is addressing, we can ensure each ingredient is being used at an efficacious level.”
Some of the most common skin concerns supplements can assist with are:
- Collagen production
- Redness & inflammation
- Overall skin health
A good topical skincare routine incorporates collagen-stimulating ingredients like vitamin C, retinoids, and peptides. Adding an ingestible supplement to assist with collagen production can produce more visible results. “Most supplements support collagen production, the building blocks (proteins) of our skin,” Dr. Engelman says. As she explains, hydrolyzed collagen is the easiest to digest since it’s broken down into the smallest forms of peptides and amino acids. “The most impressive research studies collagen sourced from fish scales, and bovine also has been proven effective,” she notes. “Ultimately, the skin should feel plumper, more hydrated, and smoother (less fine lines and wrinkles).” Our pick? Vital Proteins Marine Collagen.
As we’ve discussed, skin health is often a reflection of gut health. “Studies show that people suffering from digestive issues often have a high prevalence of acne or other inflammatory skin conditions,” Miller explains. “For example, a report indicated that small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) — a condition involving inappropriate growth of bacteria in the small intestine — is 10-times more prevalent in people with acne and rosacea than those without.”
A daily probiotic can help restore good bacteria in the gut and foster a healthy microbiome. “Our Prebiotic + Probiotic contains both a prebiotic and a probiotic, which simultaneously cultivates and delivers more good bacteria to the gut,” she says. Dr. Engelman also recommends supplemental vitamin A and zinc to her acne patients because they have significant research proving their effectiveness in treating breakouts.
Reducing Redness & Inflammation
Concerned about redness and inflammation? Stress-reducing supplements may be to help. “Our supplements predominantly support the regulation of various hormones, the endocrine system, and other body systems that work from the inside out,” Kennedy says of Plant People formulas. “The result can be anything from reduced inflammation and redness to a more luminous glow.” In this case, you want to look for calming ingredients. “Adaptogenic, nervine, and herbs that support a healthy response to inflammation are wonderful for helping regulate our stress responses and soothe inflammation,” he notes. “Ingredients like rhodiola, ashwagandha, schisandra, and even CBD can support the skin from the inside out.”
Overall Skin Health
Since each person has unique factors that influence their skin, our experts don’t recommend a one-size-fits-all approach to supplements. “There isn’t one solution for addressing skin concerns,” Miller says. With that said, there are certain targeted treatments that have far-reaching benefits. “In creating Skin Filter and our ingestible moisturizer, Skin Hydrator, we used key ingredients to address specific concerns from the inside out,” she explains. Those ingredients include the aforementioned beta-carotene to address aging concerns and phytoceramides to repair the skin’s lipid barrier. The latter “keeps the moisture in your skin where it belongs,” Miller notes. Hyaluronic acid, grass-fed hydrolyzed collagen, and aloe vera, meanwhile, all work to brighten and soothe the skin from within — something everyone could benefit from.
While dietary supplements can improve the quality of the skin (especially when paired with a well-curated skincare regimen), the quality of the formula matters. Just as when introducing a new product or treatment into your routine, it’s important to consult with your provider before trying any vitamins and supplements to ensure they are safe and effective for your needs.
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