Supplements for skin that will make your face glisten like a gulaab jamun
To wipe away all your holiday sins
Your cheat period began around Diwali with a shot of the chashni that glazed the gulaab jamuns, and slowly bled into the Christmas season thanks to the heaps of processed sugar hiding in rum cakes, cookies and candy cane. A result of this cheat period (a way of life now) are snugger jeans, four-hour-long naps, and distressed skin crying for help.
You do have fruits and veggies, and a bathroom counter flooded with moisturisers, serums, sunscreens and masks, but now is a good time to introduce another element to your skincare routine – skin supplements that’ll make your face glow brighter than the Christmas tree you went overboard decorating.
“While your diet makes all the difference, think of these supplements as special pills that target specific skin issues. When combined with the right topical products, and a balanced diet and fitness routine, these oral supplements will put you on the path to glowing skin. It also helps when you’re deficient in certain vitamins and minerals,” explains dermatologist Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta of ISAAC Luxe.
Dr Niketa Sonavane of Ambrosia Aesthetics in Mumbai agrees, “Over the years, our produce has depleted in certain nutrients. The only way to get enough of these nutrients is through supplements. Topical skincare has its own role to play but skin products alone cannot always give you that glow.”
Just in time for the continuing holiday binge (+ sleepless nights, haphazard meal times), they shared with us a list of supplements for skin that should feature in your daily regime. Remember to consult a medical expert before introducing a new supplement into your routine.
Environmental factors like UV rays, pollution and cigarette smoke trigger the formation of free radicals. Antioxidants are “free radical scavengers.” They make sure that your body is free of all toxins that damage your skin.
With daily use, they can reduce pigmentation, signs of ageing and minimise skin inflammation. Antioxidants hydrate the skin, and increase moisture retention, this helps in revitalising dull skin.
Here are some antioxidants that you can consume as supplements for the skin.
- Vitamin C: An essential antioxidant, the reason for its sky-rocketing popularity is its ability to fight skin damage and promote wound healing. It protects your skin from environmental stressors like UV rays, pollution, smoke and dust, and is one of the key nutrients your body requires for collagen production – a building block for healthy and youthful skin.
- Vitamin E: This powerful antioxidant reduces the damage caused to the skin by UV rays and has anti-ageing properties.
- Astaxanthin: It has been said to smoothen wrinkles, reduce and lighten age spots, and moisturise skin.
To get your fill of antioxidant supplements for skin, you can incorporate the following dosages: 1000 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, or 12mg astaxanthin.
Omega-3s and Omega-6s
Omega-3 fatty acids are like Chyawanprash for the skin. They maintain your skin’s natural barriers which boosts its immunity and protects it from external damage due to sun exposure.
Improved skin hydration, balanced sebum production, fewer breakouts and minimised signs of ageing are other benefits that come with consuming these supplements for skin. Omega-3 fatty acids also soften rough, dry skin and have a soothing effect on skin irritation and dermatitis.
“A capsule of 500 mg of Omega-3 a day is sufficient for adults to make the most of this super supplement,” says Sonavane.
GLA oils or gamma-Linolenic acid oils, are Omega-6 fatty acids. Like their cousins Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-6s also help add to the skin’s radiance while ensuring that its healthy. GLA oils also help reduce skin inflammation. The recommended dosage for GLA oils is 360 mg per day.
Zinc is an essential mineral required for cell growth, collagen formation, wound healing and to build tissue strength. “Even mild deficiencies in zinc can cause impaired collagen production, hair loss and rough skin,” explains Sonavane.
Zinc also help wave goodbye to the crows feet, smile lines, and traces of stress make an appearance on your forehead.
The dosage of zinc you consume varies depending on the salt of zinc you’re consuming. Zinc picolinate is a salt that is easily absorbed by our body, and the recommended dosage for this is 15 mg per day.
Once you’re in your twenties, you lose about 1% of your total body collagen each year (Science, not a scarefest). This gives you fine lines, wrinkles, and dehydrated skin. Collagen supplements improve skin hydration and skin repair, giving you radiant and younger-looking skin with continued use.
“The best way to supplement collagen is with 5 grams of marine collagen per day. This is obtained from fish skin and bones,” advises Sonavane.
Ceramides are fatty acids naturally found in the outer most layer of the skin. Their main function is to lock moisture into your skin which helps prevent dryness and subsequent irritation. They also protect from environmental stressors that leave skin looking listless.
Ceramides also have an anti-aging properties. To effectively hydrate your skin with ceramide supplements AKA oral moisturisers, consume 100 mg per day.
Vitamin D is important for skin protection. Calcitriol which is the active form of vitamin D, helps promote skin cell growth, skin repair, and prevents skin ageing.
Vitamin D deficiency can show up in the form of acne, eczema, psoriasis and many other inflammatory skin conditions. To keep your skin immunity high and inflammation low, you need to supplement with at least 600 IU of vitamin D per day.
Things to keep in mind
- Water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin C absorb best on an empty stomach. Take them first thing in the morning, 30 minutes prior to eating, or two hours after a meal.
- There are no side effects to any of these supplements as long as they’re taken after a discussion with your doctor and consumed as per the recommended dosage.
- Be aware of the other foods you’re eating so you’re not getting too much of any one vitamin. This can throw your body off balance, and end up being counterproductive. You need to be especially careful with fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K.
- If you’re pregnant, never double up on your prenatal vitamins. For example, if you need extra iron, take your prenatal vitamin and an extra iron supplement instead of having an added dosage of your prenatal vitamin. Make these changes after consulting your gynaecologist.
- Supplements are great for your skin. But they are meant to supplement, not replace a healthy diet. Supplements work best when you have a well rounded healthy lifestyle including regular exercise and skincare.
- No specific dietary changes are needed while taking health and beauty supplements but a balanced diet is extremely important for a healthy body and glowing skin. Make sure you get lots of antioxidants from colourful fruits and vegetables. Include lots of farm-raised lean meat and wild caught fish for your proteins and omegas. Snack on a handful of nuts and seeds for minerals. Pick artisanal cheese over processed cheese to include gut-friendly bacteria in your diet.
*All recommended dosages are per day