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Do You Need an Ingestible Beauty Routine?

When your skin-care routine doesn’t feel like enough.

ingestible beauty routine

There are varying skin-care regimens that can range from one step to, oh, let’s say 14, and having a medicine cabinet chock-full of your Sephora haul has become something of a full-fledged Instagram movement. Beauty is a big biz. So it’s no surprise that there’s been a particularly notable influx in the ingestible beauty supplement industry—from gummies that promise long, shiny hair and strong nails to collagen-packed drinks and powders and everything in between. But it raises the question: Is an ingestible beauty routine really necessary? Or is diet and topical product just enough? We consulted with Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, and founder and CEO of Nutritious Life and The Nutritious Life Studio, to gain some insight on this ever-growing army of supplements and find out whether we should start our own ingestible beauty routine.

Collagen proteins, nail-strengthening tinctures, hair gummies—in your opinion, do they work?

“It’s not that black-and-white,” Glassman says. “Many products available now that contain quality ingredients and are made with good practices can definitely benefit a healthy lifestyle and act as a great insurance to getting adequate intake of the key nutrients needed for healthy hair, skin, and nails.” But Glassman cautions, “A poor diet and lifestyle paired with one beauty supplement is not going to be the answer!”

Is an ingestible beauty routine necessary?

In short, Glassman doesn’t believe that a routine of supplements is required to live a healthy life. But she does say that adding supplemental vitamins and minerals that are in ingestible beauty products won’t necessarily hurt. “While topical products are great and can definitely make a difference, ingesting a supplement that will be taken up by your body and work on a cellular level is what will make the biggest impact over time. Much like with your diet, what you intake reflects externally.”

Are there any risks to taking these supplements?

“That’s totally dependent on what the supplements are,” Glassman says. “Typically you’ll see ingredients like biotin, folic acid, vitamin E, [and] omega-3s in beauty supplements, all of which are generally safe to ingest at the amounts recommended by individual companies. It doesn’t have to be super fancy or expensive either. You can get great beauty insurance through just one supplement, like this one I love from Brandless that provides biotin as its main component, and paired with other nutrients we all need, especially for those interested in taking it as a part of their personal beauty routine. Where you need to be your own detective is on the ingredient list. What are the other ingredients in the supplement, and in what form is the product providing the vitamin or mineral? The specific form of the vitamin or mineral makes a difference when it comes to how well your body can actually use it.”

Is there research to back it up?

“More and more research has been done over the past years that are all pointing to the benefit of intaking collagen to support numerous body functions, including maintaining your skin integrity and elasticity, gut health (which contributes to your external appearance), and even in promoting additional collagen production,” Glassman says. “Though collagen breaks down into its individual amino acids in order to be absorbed and utilized in the body (just like any other protein source), with a supplemental collagen product, you are ensuring you’re getting adequate amounts of the right amino acid profile needed to support collagen production and replacement as it naturally degrades with age. Again, think of it as supplemental insurance.”

What are other dietary changes one can make for beauty benefits?

“Definitely focus on diet first. What you’re doing over the long term is what will really influence the health of your skin, hair, nails, et cetera. These are organs made of millions and millions of cells that need adequate hydration, vitamins, and minerals to maintain and function normally. Add supplements as that ‘insurance,’ [since] no one’s diet is ‘perfect.’ Adding other types of dietary supplements like superfood powders (vs. capsules) to your regular meals can also be a fun way to experiment, [help you] be inspired to make [beneficial] daily choices for your health, and reap even more beauty benefits.” 

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