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Supplements:
do they help or hurt your skin?

It depends.

It seems like supplements are popping up everywhere lately. From major retailers like Sephora and Nordstrom expanding their wellness spaces to trendy vitamin formulations from Hum Nutrition — it begs the questions, do supplements actually help? If so, which ones should you be taking?

WHAT ARE BEAUTY SUPPLEMENTS?

We’re sure you’ve seen them before — a new expansion on the traditional “hair, skin, and nails” supplements that have always been around. Now, these new-age supplements come in all shapes and sizes from collagen to hyaluronic acid and even ones that claim to make your skin glow from the inside out. Technically, a lot of them contain the same vitamins and minerals you would find in traditional hair, skin, and nails vitamins but these blends are specifically intended to target your skin health.

DO THEY WORK?

It’s complicated. It depends on your own health and where you are at vitamin-wise. We think it’s important to point out that before you take any supplements you should always talk to your doctor first to assess whether or not you actually need them. The reality is that the only vitamins we should be taking are ones that we are deficient in. There is no benefit in overloading the body with vitamins we don’t need. This is where the “work” aspect comes in. You may see an improvement in your health with vitamins if you were previously lacking them. So, technically they can work but it depends on your individual health.

Think of it this way, if you suddenly changed your diet from tons of refined sugar to healthy fruits and vegetables and complex carbs — your health will, of course, improve and it’s the same with vitamins. If you were lacking any specific vitamin or mineral, taking them will help to improve your overall health and it some cases your skin as well. But, it’s necessary to understand that supplements aren’t a one and done solution for your skin issues. There just isn’t enough scientific research to correlate skin health and supplements.

This isn’t meant to disregard supplements entirely. In fact, some research has shown that vitamin D deficiency could lead to an increased risk of acne so there are some instances where vitamin deficiencies can show itself on the skin. But, again, you could potentially see clearer skin if you take vitamin D supplements if you were previously deficient in it. Supplements are only there to fill in the gaps you may already have in your diet not to replace them entirely.

WHAT ABOUT THOSE TRENDY INGREDIENTS LIKE HYALURONIC ACID

The more the wellness space grows the more we see ingredients like hyaluronic acid, and collagen becoming front and center. These supplements vary from our typical vitamin A and C so we can understand the confusion when it comes to understanding whether or not they actually provide the skin with any benefits.

Hyaluronic acid, for example, is a sugar molecule that is naturally found in the body that retains moisture and lubricates your connective tissue. It’s an essential component which sadly degrades as we age so how do we prevent this? With a hyaluronic acid supplement? While there is some positive research to suggest oral hyaluronic acid use can actually help to hydrate and plump the skin — keep in mind the research is limited. There hasn’t been enough done to conclusively prove the benefit. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t take them but don’t rely on it entirely.

You can think of collagen supplementation in the same way as hyaluronic acid. The research has been positive but is also extremely limited. Instead of looking to supplement your routine with collagen, we suggest using collagen-boosting products like retinol or peptides instead to keep skin firm and plump. Retinol, in particular, has been considerably researched and is considered the gold standard when it comes to anti-aging. These products would be a wiser investment than a collagen supplement that could potentially work.

LONG STORY SHORT

💊Supplements are complicated. But, don’t ditch them entirely. Have a conversation with your doctor to figure out the ones you actually need in your routine rather than relying on them to change your skin. Keep in mind that just because something is hyped doesn’t mean it actually works.

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