It turns out your mom was right: Beauty does come from the inside. Just how it gets there is up for debate.
Beauty supplements, or “ingestibles,” as their name suggests, work from the inside out. Like a multi-vitamin, they provide supplemental nutrients, except they are specifically targeted at benefiting the skin. Sound simple? It’s not. Welcome to the world of bio-marine extracts, anti-oxidants, omegas and the entire alphabet of vitamins and their respective complexes.
Here’s the claim. “The skin’s a barrier,” says Pat Brown, VP of marketing at Imedeen, a skincare line that launched its first tablet in 1991. “(Topical formulas) help conceal moisture but can’t add it.” Nourishment has to happen from the inside. In Imedeen’s case, a bio-marine complex provides the molecules skin needs to produce moisture and be replenished. Similarly, Genuine Health’s Healthy Skin with Greens+ touts the effectiveness of ingesting cocoa in fighting acne.
Both products distinguish themselves from your average (cheaper) vitamin supplement through research and dosage. “Imedeen is manufactured by a pharmaceutical company,” says Brown. “It has all of the research standards that a pharmaceutical product would have.” Similarly, Genuine Health “won’t launch anything unless there’s tons of science behind it,” says its PR spokeswoman Rhoda Rizkalla.
Both products boast high concentrations of their active ingredients. “You would have to eat about four to six pounds of fish everyday to get the same concentration,” says Brown. The amount of cocoa in Healthy Skin with Greens+ coincides with what a Harvard study found to be effective. “In some multi-vitamins you don’t find the dosage that was used in the study,” explains Rizkalla.
Here’s what we know. “There’s no question that diet affects skin because if you don’t eat you die and you look like crap,” says Paula Begoun, author of Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me and The Beauty Bible.
Here’s the spoiler. Both Begoun and Dr. Benjamin Barankin, a dermatologist at The Dermatology Centre in Toronto, want more research.
“There’s no research pointing to which herbal vitamin or oil is the answer, so the notion that you have to take something special is just bizarre,” says Begoun.
“It’s buyer beware,” adds Barankin. “If the risk is low and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg do a trial for three months ... Assess your skin. Look in the mirror, see how it feels. Maybe even get a diary and document it.”
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