When it comes to supplements, are we too reliant on these miracle capsules for skin-deep beauty? We look at a 360-degree approach instead.
Over the years of curating our routines and discovering hero products that deliver exactly what we need, one thing we all have come to realise is that beauty isn’t only skin-deep. There has been an evolution of products on the market that promise to nourish our complexion, and they are not just the formulas you apply on the surface. Many well-known brands have extended their skincare lines beyond topical products by introducing supplements that help tackle concerns from the inside. See it as a 360-degree approach to your daily routine.
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Some specialists believe that topical products only address around 20 per cent of skin issues, which naturally forces us to look to supplements as well as personal habits. “Skin is the largest organ of our body. It is meant to protect us, but it is also a mirror – a mirror that reflects our health and the faults in the body,” Zuzana Hrdinova, a Lifestyle Consultant and Health Coach, explains.
“Despite the nutritional supplement market being a multi-billion-dollar industry, the data to support the use of most of these products is poor. There is very little evidence that any supplement or a multivitamin can reverse the course of a disease or play a role in our skin health,” she adds.
Shirley D’Souza, a Certified Ketogenic & Primal living coach, agrees that there are “a lot of decoy supplements out there in the market, especially when claiming a whole list of benefits”, but does believe some supplements can be beneficial in replenishing the nutrients that are lost through the agricultural process.
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“Supplements may be useful for people who are unable to get adequate nutrition from diet alone,” adds health coach, Sheetal Ramchandani. “For example, it is recommended that vegans take a supplement of vitamin B12 since it isn’t adequately available in plant foods and some specific conditions, like gastrointestinal issues that can affect nutrient absorption, call for more than high nutrition and require extra support that supplements can provide.”
Zinc is one of the widely recommended supplements that support the immune system, while Omega 3 repairs the skin barrier. Iron can also be extremely beneficial, especially for those prone to eczema or psoriasis. But like with anything, seeking professional advice is the best way for you to know for sure that what you are taking is beneficial, as Hrdinova points out: “If you take calcium, magnesium or zinc, but you are deficient in Vitamin D, you will not be absorbing those minerals and hence you will not see any results.”
Vitamin C and E are emerging as skincare heroes among the beauty insiders as they are seen as powerful antioxidants. Collagen supplements are also on the rise. As we age, we produce less collagen that results in wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity. It is still hard to judge whether the collagen you ingest will have the same properties when it reaches your skin as the digestion process breaks it down, so perhaps it’s more beneficial to look at products that encourage collagen production. Chicken soup, for example, is rich in amino acids which encourages our bodies to produce collagen. “One big change I would add to a diet is bone broth – chicken or beef – which is full of collagen but more importantly full of electrolytes and has properties that help, our gut health a lot more. Our gut health is important as it is our main communication to the brain, hormones and nerves,” D’Souza reveals.
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It appears that all of our supplement trails lead us back to something we can easily change – our diet. “There are certain nutrients that help us to get the look of glowing, healthier skin and slow down the ageing process,” Hrdinova explains. “Essentials are vitamin C, E, A, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, copper, zinc, selenium, but also vitamin B and iron. All these nutrients are available in a balanced diet. My advice for anybody who wants to have smoother and clearer complexion and glossy, silky hair is to eat healthy food including lots of fruit and vegetables, drink sufficient water, exercise frequently, get out in the fresh air, get proper rest and learn to manage your stress levels.”
D’Souza also champions a healthy lifestyle, promoting a balanced diet and cutting down on junk food. “Cucumber and kale added to our diet has properties of naturally hydrating our skin, the nutrient silica is a trace mineral found in high levels inside cucumbers,” she explains. “Silica contributes to the growth and maintenance of connective tissue throughout your body.”
“We need to limit eating things in plastic or packets with long shelf life and eat more natural basic ingredients,” she continues. “If you cannot pronounce the additive or do not know the added preservative do not eat it.”
Hrdinova echoes this saying, “Excessive consumption of refined sugars and artificial sweetener and trans fats (fried food) can cause inflammation which may lead to a breakdown in collagen and elastin and have a negative impact on the skin’s strength and elasticity. Too much of caffeine from coffee or energy drinks have an impact on the hormonal levels in our body and may lead to breakouts of acne.”
The only additional supplement D’Souza would add for a glowing complexion is a probiotic “at least with a minimum of 1 billion colony forming units and containing either genus Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium or Saccharomyces boulardii.”
Looking at the busy skincare industry promising a miracle solution with every new launch, it is easy to become overwhelmed at the options that are before you. The bottom line, take a closer look at your diet, seek advice if you want to introduce supplements, and continue to enhance your skincare routine. A glowing and healthy complexion requires attention from all angles, especially if you want to achieve long-lasting results.
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