Your skin takes a beating for doing such an important job. After the harsh UV radiation, environmental toxins, unhealthy diet, and stress of endless adult responsibilities, your skin, too, deserves all the TLC it can get. But how do you care for your skin? A simple skincare routine can go a long way. However, you can go even further by nourishing your skin from the inside, with skin supplements.
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What Are Skin Supplements?
Put simply, skin supplements are nutritional supplements made with pharmaceutical-grade ingredients. Extracted from fruits, vegetables, and other food sources, skin supplements often contain one or more ingredients. These can include vitamins, trace elements, peptides, fatty acids, and plant polyphenols, among others.
The skin is the largest organ in the body and performs multiple functions vital to health and well-being. Your skin protects your body from infections, sudden temperature changes, and pollutants. It detects temperature, senses pain and touch, and serves as a reflection of your inner health.
Proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are necessary for skin and overall health. In fact, nutrients provide the building blocks for healthy skin and body. For example, vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen, a protein that provides structure and support to your skin. Meanwhile, dietary fat is an essential component of the cell membrane.
Most healthy people get the nutrients they need from their diet. However, maintaining optimal nutritional targets through diet alone is unrealistic for some people. If you feel your diet falls short of the ideal, you may benefit from an extra boost in the form of skin supplements.
Factors That Can Dull Your Glow
Genetics plays an important role in determining your skin quality and how well you will age. However, environmental factors and lifestyle choices also play a direct role in how your skin looks. In fact, they can change the way your genes behave. These factors include:
Responsible for 80% of signs of skin aging, the sun’s UV rays may be the biggest threat to your skin. UV radiation not only causes superficial sunburns but can also cause collagen to break down faster than it’s produced. Although collagen damage isn’t immediately visible, repeated UV exposure can lead to premature sagging, skin discoloration, and fine lines.
Diets high in refined sugar have been linked to acne. Refined sugars can cause sudden increases in blood sugar and androgen production, both of which can trigger inflammation. Plus, studies have shown that women who consume dairy are more likely to have acne. Hormones in dairy can cause hormonal imbalances and inflammation.
Diets rich in refined sugar and fried animal protein may accelerate skin aging. Early research shows that excess sugars can bind to proteins (e.g., collagen). The binding of excess sugars to collagen creates harmful molecules called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). Over time, collagen loses its function, leading to loss of skin elasticity and suppleness.
Both chronic and acute stress has been linked to acne and premature skin aging. Stress affects skin health in many ways. It causes inflammation, diminishes blood flow to the skin, and accelerates collagen breakdown.
Key Benefits of Skin Supplements
Skin supplements are designed to support the dynamic processes involved in maintaining and restoring skin health and structure. Specific skin supplements are proven beneficial in:
- Protecting skin from UV radiation
- Promoting collagen production
- Restoring skin elasticity
- Reducing inflammatory processes
- Increasing antioxidant protection
- Restoring hormone balance
- Restoring good skin bacteria
- Normalizing oil production
- Supporting healthy skin renewal
- Inhibiting AGEs
- Brightening dull, uneven complexion
- Getting rid of redness or puffiness
- Keeping pores clear
- Increasing skin hydration
Science-Backed Skin Supplements
There’s no shortage of skincare products that promise quick fixes and miracle repairs. Here are some of the best skin supplements that SRx believes in.
A Boost for Tired, Dull, and Aging Skin
Bioactive Collagen Peptides
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, making up 85% of healthy skin. It’s a connective tissue that basically holds our skin and bones together. However, by age 30, your body starts producing less collagen. Slowly, your skin starts to lose elasticity and suppleness and begins to sag in some places.
Bioactive collagen peptides (BCP) are made from hydrolyzed animal bones and cartilage. They’re designed to be more absorbable and bioavailable for use by your body to build new collagen and restore skin elasticity. In one placebo-controlled study, the oral BCP Verisol significantly reduced eye wrinkles in eight weeks. In addition, the BCP significantly increased the skin’s collagen content.
Carnosine is a peptide composed of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. It functions as a strong antioxidant. Specifically, carnosine protects the fatty acids in cell membranes from free radicals. It also protects DNA from the destructive effects of the sun and free radical damage. Moreover, carnosine is known to prevent the binding of sugar and collagen, inhibiting the formation of AGEs.
Copper acts as a signalling molecule. This means that when there is tissue damage, copper activates the healing process. It triggers the immune response and promotes the growth of new blood vessels. In addition, copper stimulates the production of new, healthy collagen while protecting existing collagen from degradation.
Niacinamide is a form of the water-soluble B vitamin niacin. Serving as a cofactor in a variety of skin processes, niacinamide has both anti-aging and anti-acne properties.
As an anti-aging skin supplement, niacinamide inhibits glycation and stimulates the production of collagen and ceramides. Studies show that niacinamide skin supplements can reduce fine lines and skin sallowness, as well as protect the skin barrier from sun damage.
In addition to promoting collagen production, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It helps lighten discolorations, repair sun-damaged skin, and brighten a dull complexion. Because the body can’t produce its own vitamin C, we need to get it from our diet or through supplementation.
Skin Supplements to Combat Acne
Zinc is a trace mineral involved in hormone production and immune regulation. As a supplement, zinc has been shown to normalize sebum production and combat inflammation and redness. Furthermore, zinc possesses antibacterial properties against acne-causing bacteria. It also helps heal tissue injury caused by acne and reduces the likelihood of permanent scarring.
Probiotics are live organisms that promote the growth of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and on the skin. Taken orally as a supplement, probiotics have been shown to reduce inflammation and strengthen immunity against pathogens.
When applied to the skin, probiotics produce antibacterial proteins that kill acne-causing bacteria. The upside? Probiotics don’t produce resistance, which is a growing problem with antibiotics.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. It promotes cell repair, accelerates skin renewal, normalizes oil production, and regulates cell reproduction. This keeps your pores clear and gives your skin a healthy glow. Plus, vitamin A strengthens your immunity, which may help keep acne at bay for the long term.
*Caution: Vitamin A should only be taken under medical supervision.
Green tea extract
Green tea extracts are packed full of polyphenols like catechins. These plant compounds have potent anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties. In a 2016 study, green tea extracts significantly reduced inflammatory acne lesions in women.
As an anti-acne skin supplement, niacinamide combats inflammation and normalizes sebum production. Niacinamide clinically reduces pore size and smoothens skin texture.
Do Skin Supplements Work?
A growing body of evidence shows that skin supplements can deliver essential nutrients to the skin. But it’s important to remember that skin supplements will not work the same way or to a similar degree for everyone. To get the most out of your skin supplements, it’s best to practice a healthy lifestyle and eat a healthy diet.
- Stay active. Exercise enhances blood flow and stimulates tissue-repairing growth factors that help collagen production.
- Eat well. Eating well means limiting refined carbs and fried animal protein. Instead, opt for a diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish. Steam your animal protein instead of frying.
- Get quality sleep. Sleep is the only chance for the brain and body to recuperate, repair, and rest. It goes without saying that going days without sleep can quickly show up on your skin. Health Canada recommends getting between 6 to 9 hours of sleep daily.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and reapply every two hours.
If you don’t have one yet, find a skincare routine that works for you. This may include the use of toners, serums, creams, moisturizers, and microneedling sessions.
How soon can you expect appreciable change?
Skin cells shed and renew in a 28-day cycle. If you’re consistent in your skincare routine and take skin supplements as directed, you can expect visible changes after 28 days.
However, dermatologists recommend using skin supplements and other skin care products for at least three months. If after that time you’re still not showing any improvement, you can re-evaluate and revisit your options.
Skin Supplements Drawbacks
Drawbacks of skin supplements include:
- No guaranteed bioavailability and efficacy. The Canadian Food and Drug Regulations ensure that skin supplements are safe and appropriately labelled. However, supplement brands rarely go through clinical trials to test for bioavailability and efficacy.
- Toxicity. The body stores excess fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A in the liver. If you take vitamin A above the recommended dose, your vitamin A levels can reach toxic levels fast. Vitamin A toxicity may cause joint pains, headaches, and liver damage.
- Harmful additives. Some products may contain unnecessary and harmful ingredients like sugar and hydrogenated oils.
Try Skin Supplements for A Healthy Glow-Up
At SRx, we employ a holistic approach to skincare. We understand that achieving long-lasting results means getting down to the root causes of your skin concerns and addressing them holistically.
Whether you’re showing early signs of skin aging or have been battling adult acne, our integrated network of dermatologists, specialty clinics, and pharmacies can offer solutions tailored to your specific needs.
Reach out to us to learn more about our services!