We spoke to skincare expert Dr Michele Squire and nutritionist Fiona Tuck to find out if ingestibles really work.
The category of ingestibles and beauty supplements did not exist ten years ago. Fast forward to today, the market is saturated with products promising to beautify from the inside out.
Ingestibles experienced such rapid growth it was easy for many to label it as a fad. Like shoulder pads, it would be out of fashion within a couple of years. However, ingestibles have dug their feet firmly into the sand, that is the beauty market, and shoulder pads are coming back into fashion. Go figure.
So can ingestibles lead to better skin? Dr Michele Squire seems to think so, but it’s not a fix-all Band-Aid. Michele says optimal skin health isn’t just limited to what we apply on the skin. Factors such as diet, stress, alcohol consumption, and sleep will impact skin health. And while we aim to keep these all in check, life gets in the way, and this is where ingestibles can help.
“While healthy skin is best achieved with adequate dietary intake of nutrients, there is definitely a place for ingestible skincare, where there is adequate science to back up its claims,” Michele said.
Nutritionist and Skin Therapist Fiona Tuck agrees with this too. She says the skin is one of the first places that shows the effects of nutrient depletion. Treating the skin topically with skincare will provide quicker results. When you treat it internally with ingestibles, you’re feeding it from within, but it will take longer to see the effects.
“Nourishing the cells with nutrients will give them the fuel to function at their optimum,” Fiona said.
She does although warn that not all ingestibles are created equal. The body functions at its best when it receives nutrients from whole, unprocessed foods. Similarly, ingestibles will work best if they are derived from natural food sources. Fiona says a lot of ingestibles on the market are synthetic vitamin-based supplements or do not contain the right ingredients to reap the results.
“Take collagen, for example, it must be a collagen peptide product. Some say they contain collagen, but not peptides. It’s important to look at the ingredients” she adds.
Collagen peptides is a skincare ingredient that works better ingested rather than applied topically as the molecule is too large and complex to be absorbed into the skin. This is backed by numerous clinical studies in the field of dermatology, proving its effectiveness. Michele says two of these studies demonstrated that a daily collagen peptide supplements significantly improved skin elasticity, hydration and collagen density in its subjects aged 30 to 48.
“A well-rounded diet will support normal healthy collagen production, but you can supplement dietary sources with an ingestible that stimulates increased collagen and hyaluronic acid production and provides extra amino acids for collagen-building,” Michele said.
Conversely, some ingredients work better topically. Michele says Vitamin C is a great example, as applied topically in the right dose, it can be a potent antioxidant used to reduce pigmentation and induce collagen production. Still, studies show that its usefulness when ingested is limited.
So to answer which is better, ingestibles skincare or topical, the results are tie. However, there is an advantage in providing both at your spa or clinic. Michele says that although the research is limited, the benefit of supplementing with collagen in treatments, such as post-fractional laser, is clear.
“Those who took 3g of collagen daily had significantly faster recovery from redness and improved skin hydration at day three post-laser, as well as increased skin elasticity at day 14 when compared to the non-collagen group. Given that there are no documented adverse effects of taking a collagen supplement, adding a collagen supplement like Vida Glow pre-and post-treatment should certainly be considered,” Michele said.
“When we combine topical skincare with internal, that’s when we really start to see a difference with the skin,” Fiona concludes.