While high quality supplements can provide beneficial nutrients for promoting skin health, which types are worth investing in and what exactly do they do?
The shelves in supermarkets and chemists are overflowing with supplement options, but before dash grabbing a bottle make sure you are researching and understanding what the ingredient is going to do for the health of your skin.
Supplements are designed to work alongside a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle. They are not a Band-Aid solution at fixing a poor one.
Eating a variety of healthy foods is the best way to meet most of your nutrient needs, but if you are low on a certain vitamin or mineral, knowing which supplements to take can maximize your benefits.
*Disclaimer: It is particularly important to consult with your doctor first before taking any supplements if you are on medication for any health conditions you may have.
Certain ingredients in supplements can change absorption, metabolism, or excretion of a medication. If that happens, it can affect its potency which means you may get either too much or too little of the medication you need.
To ensure you are making informed decisions about supplements and their potential interactions, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or registered dietitian. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific needs and circumstances.
Which Supplements Can Promote Skin Health?
Some of the vitamins and nutrients that have been linked to skin health include:
Helps the production of collagen, keeping the skin supple and firm. Vitamin C can be found in a variety of whole, plant-based foods like citrus fruits, strawberries, and broccoli.
When shopping for a vitamin C supplement you will want to consider quality, dose, and price.
Available in chewable, powders, liquid and tablets it is also worth looking at the ingredient list and choosing a product that is free of artificial additives, sugars, or preservatives.
For most healthy men and women, it is recommended to consume 90 mg and 75 mg of vitamin C per day, respectively. Some people will benefit from a higher dose, however 1000mg or above is generally unnecessary and could contribute to unwanted side effects.
As stated in the National Library of Medicine - “the key molecule involved in skin moisture is hyaluronic acid (HA) that has a unique capacity in retaining water.” Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging - PMC (nih.gov)
However, the natural aging process and exposure to things like ultraviolet radiation from the sun and pollution can decrease its amounts in the skin.
Ingesting hyaluronic acid supplements can help promote hydration and maintain skin moisture. Hyaluronic acid is readily available topically in serums and moisturisers but is also available orally & as injections.
This vitamin helps regulate the immune system and protect the skin from damage caused by the sun. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average, non-deficient adult should aim for 600 - 800 International Units (IU) per day in their diet. Salmon, eggs, fortified milk, and mushrooms as great sources of vitamin D.
Daily vitamin D supplementation is an effective way to replenish low vitamin D levels and is a safer option than direct sun exposure. Consulting with your doctor or dermatologist to have your vitamin D levels checked with a blood test to determine the appropriate dosage for you is imperative. It is recommended to choose a Vitamin D supplement from a reputable manufacturer and to check for third-party testing to ensure quality and purity.
Many Vitamin D supplements contain added sugars and artificial flavourings/colours. They also contain either ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) or cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). While both forms can increase levels of vitamin D effectively, vitamin D3 can increase levels more significantly and for a longer period.
Acts as an antioxidant helping to protect the skin from damage caused by environmental stressors, such as pollution and UV rays. It also has anti-inflammatory effects that can help soothe irritated skin.
Foods rich in vitamin E include seeds/nuts, green vegetables, avocados, capsicum, kiwi fruit and mangoes.
When it comes to selecting vitamin E supplements for your skin’s health, look for supplements that contain the natural form of vitamin E called d-alpha-tocopherol. This form of vitamin E is considered to be more bioavailable and effective compared to synthetic forms. More information about Vitamin E here
9 vitamin E supplements to consider: Benefits and more (medicalnewstoday.com)
Collagen is a protein found in the skin that helps maintain its elasticity and firmness. Taking collagen supplements may help improve skin hydration and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, particularly in combination with hyaluronic acid.
Not all collagen supplements are created equal though. The quality and effectiveness of collagen supplements can vary greatly depending on factors like the source of the collagen, the processing methods used, the size of the collagen molecule and the presence of additional ‘filler’ ingredients.
Kiri, AMPERNA®'s founder says “When I started taking a collagen supplement it caused me to breakout. So instead, I’ve opted for increasing foods that promote collagen production like seafood, bone broth, berries, nuts, and leafy greens”.
This mineral plays a vital role in skin health and can help in the healing of wounds and blemishes. It also has anti-inflammatory effects that can help soothe irritated skin. Zinc deficiency has been linked to skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and delayed wound healing. Therefore, correcting a zinc deficiency through diet and/supplementation may help improve these skin conditions.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These fatty acids help to maintain the integrity of the skin barrier, preventing moisture loss and keeping the skin hydrated. Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been linked to reducing inflammation and improving various skin conditions, including psoriasis and acne. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids for skin health include fish oil supplements which are rich in EPA and DHA, as well as plant-based sources such as flaxseeds and walnuts.
Although rare, fish oil may cause reactions to people allergic to seafood/shellfish.
In addition to talking to your doctor about the type of supplement you are interested in taking, it is critical to ask about any potential interactions with other medications. The ingredients in supplements, including vitamins, minerals, and other botanicals, can have unintended negative consequences when combined with some medications.
Some examples are:
Vitamin C and Vitamin B12
High doses of Vitamin C taken with Vitamin B12 can reduce the amount of Vitamin B12 absorbed and metabolized by the body. It is recommended to take these supplements separately or at least two hours apart.
Vitamin E and Blood-Thinning Medications
High doses of Vitamin E taken with blood-thinning medications can increase the risk of bleeding.
Vitamin A and Isotretinoin
Vitamin A supplements should not be taken with isotretinoin as it can potentially increase the risk of Vitamin A toxicity.
Calcium and Iron
Calcium can interfere with the absorption of iron supplements, reducing their effectiveness. It is recommended to take these supplements at different times of the day.
Zinc and Copper
High doses of Zinc can reduce the absorption of copper in the body, leading to deficiencies in copper.
Zinc and antibiotics
Using oral zinc while you're taking quinolone or tetracycline antibiotics can interfere with their ability to fight bacteria.
Keep in mind, vitamins, and minerals through supplements rather than from food sources can have an increased risk of consuming an amount that is too high or could become toxic over time. Overconsuming vitamins A, D, and E can be toxic, leading to side effects like irregular heartbeat, organ damage, haemorrhages, or haemorrhagic stroke.
Keeping a close eye on your levels through regular blood test is recommended.
Holistic Skin Health
AMPERNA® believes in a holistic approach to skin care. And what does holistic mean?
‘The term holistic, is the philosophy and practice of healing that has to do with constantly keeping the whole body (meaning the physical body, the mind and the spirit) at the highest level of total wellness.’ (Source: Dermascope).
While supplements can be helpful in promoting skin health, they should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Healthy individuals should get the required amounts of vitamins and minerals through their diet alone. However, there are instances in which supplements may be indicated, such as nutrient deficiencies, conditions causing malabsorption, inadequate access to food, and certain life stages like pregnancy.
Increasing your intake of foods rich in nutrients that support skin health such as, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, avocado and omega-3 rich seafood is a great place to start.
Maintaining a regular skincare routine, staying hydrated, moderate exercise, and protecting your skin from the sun are also important factors in promoting overall skin health.
When shopping for supplements, look for products that have been third-party tested and contain safe levels of vitamins and minerals.
How to read supplement labels here How to Read Supplement Labels Like a Pro (healthline.com)
Kiri is always here to help you on your skin health journey and you can sign up to Holistic Skin Health Coaching Calls.