Do Beauty Supplements Really Work?

Not interested in taking the INJECT AND FILL ROUTE? Supplements are the best natural way of doing the best for your skin, writes SARAH HALLIWELL

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If your bathroom shelf is filled to bursting with skin creams and serums, but you don’t take any supplements to support your routine, it might be worth considering. Along with the obvious considerations – eating healthily and avoiding sugar, drinking lots of water, wearing SPF, not smoking, etc – there are easy ways to help support your skin and boost its condition.

If you’re not interested in taking the inject and fill route, supplements are a good natural way of doing the best for your skin: talking to a wide variety of different skin experts, I’ve been inspired into taking a daily turmeric supplement and topping up on collagen supplements, as well as eating more fish and good proteins. And despite the onslaught of winter weather and central heating, which be really drying and battering, I’m finding my skin more resilient and healthy-looking.

As we age, our skin gets less good at repairing collagen, and an accumulation of things such as sun exposure, stress and toxins can cause damage to the dermis. Skin expert Shirley Nicholl stresses the importance of this outer layer, and how collagen is vital as a support system.

Solgar‘s Collagen Hyaluronic Acid Complex supports both the collagen structure of skin, but also joint health – important since our bone density reduces as we age. The BioCell collagen in this supplement is a specific type that is easy to absorb, with lower molecular weight, so that you need ten times less than a regular collagen supplement, plus specific raw materials that are bio-available, and co-factor nutrients that are needed to make collagen. Effects can been seen in six to 12 weeks as collagen density increases – so it’s not an instant fix, but a longer-term benefit.

In addition, Nicholls advises using topical Vitamin A to help regulate the skin’s function and maintain the epidermis, and avoiding chemical peels – “they can disrupt the acid mantle of the skin and destroy the barrier function, leaving it more exposed to UV rays.”

Food for thought: For optimum skin health, nutritionist Zoe Palmer-Wright gave us the following advice:

1. Avoid sugar (it stiffens the collagen bonds in skin so that they become less elastic) and processed food.

2. Eat good fats such as flaxseed, oily fish, and foods rich in hyaluronic acid, such as root veg, greens and beans.

3. Eat plenty of foods that can help increase collagen production, such as eggs, fish, flaxseeds, nuts and garlic.

4. Check your vitamin D levels – deficiency can lead to sagging skin and wrinkles.

5. Make sure you’re not zinc deficient – try radish, a good source of zinc, along with pumpkin seeds and salmon, garlic, chickpeas and oysters. Zinc is vital for all-round repair of the skin and collagen-boosting. If you suffer from acne, this could be the sign of a deficiency in zinc.

6. Detoxing really does have benefits for skin, and the body in general: “It can reverse certain conditions in the body and give a good internal clean-up.”

7. Additional ways to improve your skin include avoiding stress, meditating or doing yoga, which improves the body’s blood flow, and following the 80 per cent rule at meal times, eating until you’re nearly full but not completely.

Other supplements targeted at skin health that we’re trying now include Beauty Beneath, with fish oils, zinc and lycopene (€49.99 at www.boots.ie), and Revidox+, with powerful antioxidant resveratrol and zinc (€35 at www.scopehealthcare.ie).

Image by Jason Lloyd Evans

Sarah Halliwell

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