Beauty supplements for skin, hair and nails
Take a pill for smooth, clear skin; another one for thick, shiny hair; and one more for weight loss. That’s a dream, right?
While brands like Perricone MD, Murad and Bliss have launched oral supplements to complement their skincare line, it’s important to know which vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy skin, hair and nails before buying into the hype.
To help shed some light on the ingredients list, Dr. Cecilia Faustino, medical director and head dermatologist of MD Aesthetique, breaks down the functions of each supplement, along with their benefits.
“Supplementation is necessary only if lifestyle and dietary habits are evaluated as deficient. Lifestyle factors that elicit oxidative stress (diabetes, pregnancy, smoking, pollution, lack of intake of meat, restrictive diets and alcoholism) are a few points to consider, which can cause depletion of nutrients and minerals,” she notes.
Dosage recommendations are also dependent on your height and weight, so before popping that pill, consult your MD.
If you’re struggling with adult acne, a daily zinc gluconate supplement can make a huge difference. “Zinc is essential in acne control; there is growing evidence that zinc facilitates in the regulation of one’s hormones. It helps normalize production of oil in the skin and hair; otherwise acne and dandruff can break out. It is also very important in repairing and minimizing inflammation,” Faustino says.
However, she warns, “high zinc intakes can inhibit copper, iron, magnesium and manganese absorption.”
Where to get it? Chelated zinc and Zinc gluconate are relatively inexpensive and easy to find. MD Aesthetique, Watsons, Mercury Drug and Healthy Options all carry different brands.
If you’re past 40, you may want to start thinking about regular collagen intake.
“Collagen ensures the cohesion, elasticity and regeneration of skin. It is regarded as the substance that holds the whole body together and can be found in the bones, muscles, skin and tendons. Production typically declines at the age of 40 and is affected by environmental factors such as sunlight, smoking and high sugar consumption,” Faustino says.
Where to get it? Reputable brands include NOW Foods, IVI Premium Collagen Drink, and Belo Collagen Powder Drink.
If you don’t like fish or if, like me, you need to watch your fish intake to lower your uric acid levels, taking a fish oil supplement is important. “The omega-3 in fish is very much known for its cardiovascular effects and anti-oxidative effects,” Faustino says. In addition to its health benefits, fish oils “can reduce levels of leukotriene B4, an inflammatory substance that has been linked with eczema. It also has the ability to combat dry and brittle hair, hair loss, flaky scalp and reduced circulation in the scalp.
“It can help reduce inflammation in your nail bed as well, nourishing and promoting the health of cells that give rise to your nail plate,” she adds.
Where to get it? Apart from independent stores that sell imported supplements, you can get fish oil from GNC stores or order from www.gnc.com.ph. The company complies with AOAC International standards, and is free of heavy metals like mercury and lead.
This supplement is sometimes called vitamin H—the “H” stands for haar und haut, German for “hair and skin.” It’s also known as vitamin B7.
“Biotin plays an important role in keeping the scalp, hair and skin healthy. Known biotin deficiency symptoms include body hair loss and thinning, dermatitis, dry skin, and brittle finger nails,” Faustino says.
Where to get it? Overseas, Viviscal is the most popular brand of biotin supplements, favored by models and actresses. If ordering online isn’t an option, GNC also sells its own brand of biotin.
Unlike fish oils and biotin, there is no shortage of glutathione in the country. But before you protest that whiter skin isn’t what you’re after, pay attention to the supplement’s other benefits.
“It is a master antioxidant which is found intracellularly deficient in patients who are debilitated, aging, or have cancers,” Faustino says. “Our body’s ability to recycle antioxidants like vitamins C and E is affected by the levels of our glutathione. Research concludes that boosting glutathione levels can defend the body against free radical or oxidative stress damage, toxins, physical stress and premature aging.”
Where to get it? The top brands include Belo, MET Tathione and Snow Caps. These brands are available in Mercury Drug and Watsons.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.