Sometimes we need a little help to look our best – here is what you can do in the supplement department.
There is very little evidence that supplements have a direct effect on your hair, skin and nails – but many people swear by them. Here are the ones that carry the most weight.
Just as retinol is the holy grail of topical skincare ingredients, it seems to carry the same weight in the skin supplement world. The benefits are the same – it is a potent antioxidant with the ability to improve acne and act as an anti-ageing potion.
Biotin (also known as vitamin B7, vitamin H or Coenzyme R) is often used to improve hair and nail growth. There are a handful of small studies that prove Biotin increases nail thickness and reduces splitting. While Biotin is also regularly used as a hair growth supplement, only people with a deficiency show significant improvement.
Not keen on popping a pill? Get your Biotin from leafy greens, yeast, egg yolk, organ meats, cauliflower, legumes and nuts.
Chances are good that if you have acne, your zinc levels are lower than average. Supplementing with zinc improves the skin’s inflammatory response to bacteria, improves healing and reduces keratinoticyte activity (i.e. it keeps your pores clear).
Zinc comes in many forms, and the most effective when it comes to skin supplements are zinc picolinate or zinc methionine.
If you prefer to get your zinc the old-fashioned way, dish up some squash (and other) seeds, beans, nuts, mushrooms, oysters, meat, wheatgerm and dark chocolate.
Vitamin C is well-known as an antioxidant, and also for its ability to brighten a dull complexion and combat hyperpigmentation. It also strengthens skin cells and promotes collagen production, thus making it an all-round anti-ager.
Prefer fresh vitamin C? Get it from citrus fruits, berries, melons, papaya, pineapple, kiwi and mango.
CoEnzyme Q10 supports collagen and elastin production – the two fibers that interlink to keep your skin firm and taut – while fighting free radicals. Age and stress reduce our ability to produce Q10, which leaves us vulnerable to fine lines like crow’s feet.
You will naturally get CoEnzyme Q10 from organ meats, beef, sardines and mackerel.
Another antioxidant you want active in your skin is vitamin E. Not only does it fight free radicals like all antioxidants do, it also helps to protect your skin against DNA damage caused by UV exposure. Did we mention it’s anti-inflammatory (and thus anti-ageing) too?
Want to eat your vitamin E? You’ll get it from most nuts, seeds and dark leafy greens.