The health, wellness and beauty industries are growing fast. The cosmetic industry, for example, generated $84 billion in 2016 in the U.S. alone. And the rise of cosmeceuticals and edible cosmetics have been drawing more attention to the importance of supplementation as part of our skin and beauty routines. But do vitamins really matter for skin health and beauty, or is they just an overpriced gimmick raging through the alternative health communities?
The facts on beauty supplements
The body was made to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. But over the last decades, our nutritional intake has gone down in the wake of convenience foods. And our skin and bodies have had to pay for our poor habits. From the obesity epidemic to sallow looking skin, studies show that health declines when good nutrition is lacking.
A well-balanced nutritious diet can help keep your skin healthy and glowing. But sometimes, due to poor diets or health conditions, we don’t get all the nutrients we need. That’s where supplementation comes in. But unlike some of the topical vitamin fads raging through the beauty industry, how you take your beauty supplements does matter. That’s not to say that topical applications aren’t beneficial. While the evidence isn’t overwhelming for topical application, some research has shown that certain vitamins can be helpful when applied directly to the skin.
But since health and beauty really does begin on the inside, it’s important to begin at the root of it all. So before you spend your whole beauty budget on pricey cosmeceuticals that promise to eliminate wrinkles and take years of your face, check out these dermatologist-approved supplements for achieving that coveted glow.
Unlike many other supplements, the antioxidant Vitamin E can be difficult to obtain through diet. The meager amounts found in foods like sunflower seeds are quickly obliterated in the presence of UV rays. But this antioxidant is vital for young, healthy skin, and to prevent and fight UV damage.
Studies have shown amazing skin benefits, such as smoother skin, when Vitamin C is applied topically to the skin. But what about internally? Research has shown that Vitamin C, when taken internally, can increase collagen production and maintain skin elasticity, which is an important element for youthful skin.
Collagen protein is a vital part of skin health. It maintains the elasticity that keeps it young and fresh. But as we age, collagen production decreases, making youthful skin seem like a pipe dream. But collagen supplements can help rev up slowing processes within the body and ensure that your cells continue to repair and renew themselves.
We typically think of Vitamin D as coming from the sun. It’s actually a hormone that is produced on your skin in the presence of UV rays. But contrary to popular belief, 15 minutes of sunshine a day isn’t enough to feed your skin the Vitamin D nutrients it needs. Research has shown that Vitamin D, when taken internally, can help reduce the inflammation from sunburns. Studies have also shown that it’s effective at reducing the aging effects of free radicals on the skin. Another study showed that having enough Vitamin D may reduce the risk of certain cancers. Add some Vitamin D supplements to your diet every day to give your skin what it needs to do what it does best—protect you.
As we age, our skin can become thinner, as shedding skin cells aren’t replaced by new skin growth as fast as they were in our younger days. Taking 500 mg/day of calcium can help promote skin growth and regeneration to keep your skin looking more youthful and healthy.
Other vitamins and minerals
Good health isn’t just made up of the main vitamin groups. Our bodies require the trace elements, such as zinc, to function at their best. But trace minerals are easy to miss without intentional eating habits. For good skin health, try adding in a bit of zinc, copper and chelated selenium every day. Between boosting your ability to beat free-radicals and aging, reducing acne flare-ups, promoting collagen production and cutting inflammation, these minerals, trace though they may be, play a serious role in healthy, glowing skin.
As always, it’s important to check with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet to ensure they’re safe for any medical conditions you might have, or medications you might be taking. Once your doctor approves supplement use, make sure to read honest reviews of supplements to make sure you’re getting the best products that are right for you.