There was a time when Sephora only carried a handful of supplements—namely the classic hair and nails supplement by Phyto, and vitamins from Murad or Dr. Perricone. Fast forward to 2017—now its own category, it appears beauty supplements are here to stay. From Moon Juice Beauty Dust to The Beauty Chef’s Collagen Inner Beauty Boost, the new era of beauty supplements promise to hydrate and brighten, and even firm and tone your body.
While Fytt believes that a well-balanced diet consists of eating whole foods from the basic food groups, supplements can be incorporated to fill in the gaps in your diet. Think days when you just haven’t had enough time to prepare your kale smoothie, and instead of the antioxidant grain bowl for lunch, you went for the 2 for $5 menu at McDonalds.
Here’s what you need to know when you’re browsing the beauty supplement aisle:
- Check the label for certifications from independent organizations like USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab which conduct tests to ensure the purity of supplements. Note that they don’t verify the product’s claimed health effects.
- Avoid supplements containing these fillers: hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, magnesium stearate, titanium dioxide, maltodextrin, and ascorbic acid. A few of these are potentially carcinogenic and affect your body’s absorption of vitamins.
- Note that some supplements can affect medicines you take. For instance, Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamin K shouldn’t be taken with blood thinning medications. Also, the risk of bleeding increases if you take Omega-3s prior to surgery. Discuss your intake of supplements with your doctor.
- Taking certain supplements with food increase absorption. For instance, Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble, so it’s best to pair the vitamins with some dietary fat like olive oil or avocado. Try to also avoid taking your iron supplement with milk. The calcium in milk decreases the body’s absorption of iron.
Look for Supplements Containing These Superstar Ingredients
Probiotics - A glowing complexion starts with a healthy gut. An overgrowth of bad bacteria in your gut can lead to breakouts. Feed your microbiome with beneficial probiotics to restore and balance your gut. Look for a supplement that contains various strains of friendly bacteria, with a dose of at least 3 billion colony forming units (CFU).
Astaxanthin - A powerful antioxidant, astaxanthin’s benefits include its ability to boost sun protection, while increasing skin elasticity and decreasing inflammation. Check out krill oil as a good source of astaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids.
Collagen - A major structural component of skin, hair, and nails, studies have shown that ingesting collagen can treat dry, brittle hair, and promote hair growth. While collagen may also plump the skin, there’s been less research substantiating this claim.
Chlorella - A freshwater green algae, chlorella is an anti-aging superfood, similar to spirulina. The high chlorophyll content in chlorella detoxifies and rids the body of heavy metals such as lead and mercury.
Vitamin D - Vitamin D reduces skin inflammation for patients with psoriasis, and also acts as a natural sunscreen. Many people are deficient in the vitamin, thus making it especially important to look for in a beauty supplement.
Iron - Low levels of iron can cause hair loss. We recommend pairing iron with Vitamin C to improve your body’s absorption of the mineral to help with hair regrowth.
Evening Primrose Oil - A good source of omega-6 fatty acids, this oil does wonders in decreasing the symptoms of hormonal acne. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help to soothe and heal your breakouts. Reducing PMS symptoms is an added benefit.
Alpha Lipoic Acid - This powerful antioxidant fights free radicals in the body and reduces inflammation. Studies have also shown that topical application of this antioxidant smoothes the appearance of fine lines and reverses sun damage.
Zinc - Zinc reduces your body’s production of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), the hormone which clogs pores, increases acne, and causes hair loss.
Ashwagandha - Last but not least, the buzzy adaptogen of late is a miracle shrub native to Africa and India. The root has been touted for its anti-inflammatory and calming properties. One of the most potent Ayurvedic herbs, ashwagandha has been used for centuries to heal the skin.
The Fytt Perspective
Start off slow and unless indicated otherwise, take supplements with a meal. Be prepared that results will not be immediate. It takes time to see visible changes from your skin as your body is working to process the nutrients. Since it takes 28 days for skin to renew itself, wait a couple months before evaluating results.