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Every few years, a new trend seems to hit the health and wellness world and take off like wildfire. Things like kale, chia seeds, and probiotics have all had their moment in the spotlight, and now a new ingredient is winning high praise: beauty supplements.
Rather than applying products onto the skin for an outside-in approach, beauty supplements encourage an inside-out approach. As the old saying goes, you are what you eat, so it only makes sense that if your goal is healthy skin and hair, that you should start with what goes inside your body.
With celebrities and influencers alike attributing their glowing complexion and shiny locks to their favourite powders and gummies, there’s never been more of an array of products to choose from.
But how effective are they really? We reached out to Leigh Merotto, MHSc, a registered dietitian in Toronto to see whether there’s any harm to adding a beauty supplement to your wellness routine, and what you should be looking for before you start.
Do beauty supplements actually work?
According to Merotto, it totally depends on which ones you’re buying, and on your current state of health.
“In terms of beauty supplements, it is definitely a saturated market and there's no doubt that many of them have extraordinary claims that do not necessarily match the evidence,” she explained.
“The common vitamins often marketed as beauty supplements like biotin, vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc have not been shown to have benefit unless someone is actually deficient in these nutrients.”
Rather than picking up a vitamin or supplement blindly, she recommends checking if your levels are low through blood work or careful dietary assessment by a registered dietitian before taking one to support hair and skin health.
What should I be looking for before buying?
Once you’ve assessed your current levels of essential nutrients, Merotto suggests looking for supplements that feature a verified Natural Product Number (NPN) or a Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM). These certifications ensure the supplement meets Health Canada's standards for quality, safety and health claims.
As for the most effective ingredient, she recommends incorporating a collagen powder that’s been proven to provide benefits for both the skin and the digestive system.
“[It] has been shown to have some benefit for improving skin quality and reducing wrinkles when used for a period of time,” Merotto explained. “I also sometimes recommend this to support gut health amid emerging evidence that the health of our gut is tied to several skin conditions like eczema, acne or psoriasis.”
How long will it take before I see results?
When taking any supplements, patience and consistency are key. Merotto suggests allowing two to four weeks of consistent use as per direction from a healthcare professional to in order to see results.
It is important to note that as with any diet or lifestyle, we simply can't out-supplement a poor diet.
“When it comes to supporting beauty from the inside, a high quality diet rich in plant-based and whole foods, proper sleep, gut health and regular activity are our best measures, rather than those fancy and expensive supplements on the shelf.”
If you’re curious about adding beauty supplements to your own at-home routine, find some of the most buzz-worthy picks below.
Rather than adding powders or gummies to your routine, this collagen-infused water makes it easy to add extra protein and nutrients to your diet. Each box contains 10g of of grass-fed collagen protein and is free from sugar, artificial sweeteners, juice, dairy, preservatives, and GMOs.
SHOP IT: Flow, $45
According to the brand’s website, Glow Inner Beauty is “brimming with probiotics and features over 20 nutrient-rich ingredients including maqui berry, mung beans, queen garnet plum, green tea, turmeric, chia seeds, and buckwheat—curated specifically to nourish the gut and promote the look and feel of a luminous, clear, and hydrated complexion.”
SHOP IT: The Detox Market, $75
Traditionally made by simmering bones over a prolonged period of time, bone broth can be a time consuming, albeit nutritious way to incorporate more collagen and protein into your diet. This concentrated powder offers all the same gut-strengthening and immune-boosting benefits of homemade broth, without all the work.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $36
This powdered drink mix contains six antioxidants (vitamins C and E, CoQ10, grape-seed extracts, lutein, and zeaxanthin) and was formulated to protect against the effects of free radicals while helping the body improve collagen production.
SHOP IT: Sephora, from $16
This powder provides a dose of plant-based protein derived from just three ingredients: Silver Ear Mushroom, Tocos and Hyaluronic Acid. It has a creamy consistency once added to liquid, making this supplement an easy addition to boost the nutritional value of your morning coffee or smoothie.
SHOP IT: Moon Juice, $32
For an extra dose of antioxidants, this blend of powdered greens makes for a supercharged drink that helps protect cells against oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Containing a blend of chlorella, spirulina, citrus and berries, it’s a concentrated version of your most potent green juice.
SHOP IT: Maison Jacynthe, $48
For a fun way to improve your skin, these effervescent tablets combine the power of marine collagen and Vitamin C to help improve skin’s appearance and minimize unwanted signs of aging. Simply pop one tablet into a glass of water, and you have a drink that’s not only tasty, but nutritious.
SHOP IT: Hum Nutrition, $30