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Skin Care Skepticism

Skin Care Skepticism: Are Supplements the Way to Go?

There are many tried and true topical skin care treatments on the market today. But what happens when the active ingredients in these products start being sold as health supplements?

The beauty industry continually talks about the latest and greatest “it” skin care products. These products are said to help fight wrinkles, prevent skin discoloration, reverse the signs of aging and more. While many of these products do have scientific backing to support their claims, most research is focused on topical applications.

Many companies in the beauty industry try to capitalize on skin care trends by selling the popular products’ active ingredients in other forms, such as oral supplements. However, just because a topical treatment has proven results doesn’t necessarily mean that a supplement will share these same benefits for your skin.

While taking supplements can be a great way to support and enhance your health, it’s important to carefully evaluate a supplement’s claims before adding it to your daily skin care regimen. Read on to get the facts about some of today’s most popular skin care supplements:

  • Collagen. Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in our bodies and aids not only in skin health but also in joint health and hair growth. Studies have found that topically applying collagen to your skin can actually stimulate your body’s natural production of collagen. Similarly, there are a number of scientific studies that have found collagen supplements beneficial for skin health, including decreasing skin dryness and increasing skin elasticity. However, as is common with most beauty supplements, keep in mind that collagen is not closely regulated by the FDA.

  • Ceramides. Ceramides are naturally-produced lipids in our bodies that are said to nourish our skin structure from within by improving moisture levels and restoring the skin’s protective barrier. As we get older our bodies produce fewer ceramides, often resulting in dry or irritated skin. When applied topically, studies have found that ceramides can greatly increase your skin moisture content and reduce the signs and symptoms of sensitive skin. Unlike its topical applications, you may want to hold off on buying the increasingly popular ceramide supplements. Without more research, it’s too soon to say if oral ceramides are as effective as creams or ointments — or if they are as safe for your health.

  • Resveratrol. Resveratrol is thought to act like an antioxidant, but in reality, there is not yet enough evidence to verify its effectiveness. Many companies tout the skin care benefits of resveratrol supplements, however, researchers do not recommend taking it for this purpose until more studies have been conducted. Even the supposed benefits of popular topical resveratrol creams — which boast of anti-aging properties — are inconclusive at best.

If you are considering trying a new beauty supplement, we recommend talking to your doctor to discuss any possible health risks before purchasing. And remember: while many skin care supplements do have proven health benefits, there is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle. The best safeguard to your skin health is eating a diet full of colorful fruits and veggies, drinking plenty of water and applying sunscreen daily.


This article first appeared in the February 2020 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.

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