4 SKIN SUPPLEMENTS & HOW THEY WORK
- January 20, 2016
Our skin’s health plays a huge (and generally overlooked) role when it comes to its appearance. Most skin problems like dullness, dryness, dark spots and even wrinkles can be addressed with the right nutrition.
Skin supplements are designed to do just that: give our skin an additional boost of nutrients that improve its health and, consequently, appearance, leaving behind the days of temporary fixes and constant concealment.
Let’s take a look at 4 of the most effective supplements for our skin, and see how they work.
Free radicals – when created in excess – tend to wreak havoc in our body, by damaging the cells and proteins in their path; this generally happens in response to harmful factors like pollution, the sun’s UV rays, smoking, etc. When our skin’s proteins (especially collagen, the main one) get damaged, it loses its tone, smoothness and youthful appearance, beginning to age prematurely. Free radical damage can also result in blemished, agitated skin.
A daily dose of antioxidants makes all the difference here. Antioxidants enter our body and neutralise these free radicals, protecting the skin from damage.
Antioxidants come in the form of several foods’ compounds, like vitamin C, vitamin E and phytonutrients (healthy pigments found in plants). Lycopene, a phytonutrient found in tomatoes, is especially great for the skin because it acts like a UV-protector from the inside and even gives the skin a healthy pink hue.
Focusing on a diet that provides a range of antioxidants is always best. You can turn to a supplement if your lifestyle tends to be too hectic to get a regular supply of these nutrients, or if you’d like to give your diet an additional boost of antioxidants.
2] Collagen Peptides
Most people know that collagen is our skin’s main protein, which can get damaged by free radicals, resulting in several skin conditions. There’s more, though: as we age, our skin cells’ ability to make collagen also diminishes.
Collagen peptides are the building blocks of collagen. If you think of the collagen in our skin as a jigsaw puzzle, collagen peptides are half-formed pieces of the puzzle. So when we get collagen peptides in our diet, it’s that much easier for our skin to form fresh collagen. This helps our skin rebuild damage, form a stronger structure and even hold more water, for skin that’s smoother and more hydrated.
Several studies have shown that supplementing with collagen peptides hydrates our skin and reduces signs of ageing (both premature and otherwise), resulting in smoother skin that has a natural glow.
3] Fish Oil
Fish is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats seal in the skin’s moisture, preventing it from evaporating easily, and even reduce inflammation, which plays a role in all sorts of problems – everything from skin rashes to serious issues like eczema and psoriasis.
If eating fish three times a week isn’t always a viable option, it’s a good idea to supplement with fish oil. Vegetarians can opt for a supplement with an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA that’s derived from marine algae (which, incidentally, is also where fish get their omega-3 from as well).
4] Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is a fat that’s otherwise quite hard to come by in a regular diet.
GLA supports healthy skin and hair by providing them with adequate moisture and, more significantly, reducing inflammation – which affects both the scalp and the rest of the hair as well.
For instance, the inflammation of hair follicles in the scalp can cause hair loss, while the inflammation of its oil glands makes the hair very oily. So, GLA supplementation can help prevent both these, issues when they’re related to inflammation (it’s important to keep in mind that when factors like genetics come into play, there isn’t much that GLA can do). If you aren’t sure about what the cause of any hair/skin problems are, it could be worth trying out GLA to narrow it down.
While all of these supplements have been proven to address skin problems, our skin, just like any other process in the body, repairs and regenerates gradually over time; you’d need at least 30 days for any substantial effects to show.
Going beyond the aesthetics, taking the supplement route essentially focuses on giving our body the nutrients it needs, to support aspects of our health. A supplement’s beauty-boosting benefits are simply the visible consequence of its overall healthy effects.