People have mixed feelings about supplements: there’s a lot of folks who think that they’re unnecessary because they believe that our bodies get everything they need from a well-balanced diet of real food, and there are others who believe that they can actually really help us achieve our health goals, or alleviate some imbalances in our bodies, or even cure us of some maladies.
One thing is for sure: there are supplements (I’m talking pill form, here, like in the pic above – credit to DailyPerricone) that, when taken consistently in the proper dosages, can work wonders for your skin. There are many different reasons one would take supplements for the skin. To name a few: to alleviate eczema or hyper-dry skin, to chill out acne breakouts, to help protect our cells from UV and environmental damage, to boost collagen production, to provide it with essential vitamins, to help slow down the skin’s cellular aging process – etc.
There are many claims out there, and many, many options, and many many different skin types and skin needs. But below are some basic supplements that can really contribute to beautiful skin, and the reasons they do so. Read on!
(Oh, also – there are lots of skin-health and antiaging supplements out there that have been specially blended, manufactured and bottled, and sold by health brands. While those can be great, the below list doesn’t include them, as I’m looking specifically at natural supplements that are straight-up one ingredient.)
Vitamin B-Complex: This complex is a combo of the B family of vitamins (including Thiamine, Riboflavin and Niacin) and is a common go-to supplement for balanced health in the body, and for strong hair and healthy skin. The vitamins promote healthy circulation, which is key for bringing fresh nutrients and oxygen to skin cells, to keep their regeneration rates high, and it helps maintain moisture so it stays plump. Skin tone is balanced, and amazingly this complex is famous for helping to reduce stress levels – and we all know that stress can cause a pimple or two, not to mention long-term degradation of our skin’s support structure. Lastly, this complex helps the flow of oxygen and nutrients in and out of cells.
Evening Primrose Oil: This oil, extracted from the seeds of the Evening Primrose flower, is widely used for its ability to ease PMS symptoms such as achy cramps and sore breasts. However it also has a great reputation for it’s skin benefits, primarily because of its high concentrations of GLA, or Gammo Linolenic Acid. GLA is an essential fatty acid that’s in the Omega – 6 family and it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Evening Primrose Oil is adored in the skincare world for its ability to clear up and balance cases of eczema and dry, scaly skin, and because it’s reported to balance sebum production (which is the facial oil that can cause breakouts).
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is awesome for the skin for a few reasons. It’s a powerful antioxidant, which means it can help slow down the detrimental effects of free-radicals, which all contribute to wrinkles, fine lines, skin dryness and generally compromise skin cell integrity and health. Vitamin C is also essential to our skin’s collagen-production process. Collagen is the protein that helps our skin retain its strength and firmness; as we age, our skin produces less and less of it, so supporting its natural maintenance and protection is key for anti-aging!
Here’s an interesting Vitamin C fact: most of us assume fruits like orange, grapefruit or apple have the highest amount of vitamin C out there. But in fact, some of the foods that are richest in Vitamin C include hot chili peppers, guavas, fresh herbs (like parsley and thyme) and dark leafy greens. All have more C than citrus fruits!
Omega 3-6-9: This supplement is one of the basics for healthier skin and hair – and for the rest of your body (think brain, reproductive, cholesterol, artery and immune health. Whoa!). Deficiencies of these essential fatty acids can cause dry skin, rashes, and a compromise immune system – which can lead to dull, breakout-prone skin. These oils are rich in nutrients and fatty acids that help repair damaged cells, essentially healing the skin from the inside, and making it more resilient against stressors and damage – which is a key aspect in a successful antiaging regimen.
(What are some natural plant-based food sources for the above Omegas? Try raw walnuts, leafy green vegetables, flaxseeds or Chia seeds!)
Zinc: This mineral is key for skin in a few ways, one of which being it is a great overall support for our immune systems. Immune health is essential for skin health: a poor immune system can lead to weaker skin that can’t fight the bacteria that causes breakouts. It’s also widely known to help treat acne, as it helps keep sebum production in check. Also, getting lots of zinc helps speed up our skin’s healing process, making it ideal for clearing up residual spots from acne, or wounds like scrapes and cuts.
- Read those ingredient labels – search out organic ingredients wherever possible, for any supplements or multivitamins.
- Pay attention and take supplements when they are suggested: with or without food.
- Learn more about supplements, variations in quality, and which ones have been tested at ConsumerLab. (https://www.consumerlab.com/)
What supplements, if any, do you take for healthy skin? Would you recommend them?