By Rachel Swanson, MS, RD, LDN
Each day we are faced with environment stressors that produce free radicals and oxidative damage, leading to premature aging and overall less radiant skin. While topical skincare helps defend against this cycle, what we are ingesting is equally (if not more) important then what we put on it.
As the largest organ in our body, our skin requires vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids to properly protect, replenish, and rebuild itself. These micronutrients and their specific biological functions provide us with the opportunity for tremendous impact and influence over our appearance. Unfortunately, consuming a diet that adequately supports the health and appearance of our skin from the inside-out isn’t typically accomplished. Despite our best intention ¾managing families and/or businesses, being overbooked or tasked with deadlines and daily stressors ¾will start to take a toll on how we look. Luckily, nutritional supplements that function as internal skincare, referred to as nutricosmetics, can also help support beauty from within.
Consider this your personal guide to answer your questions and provide you some insider tips if you’re ready to boost your beauty routine with ingestible skincare.
Just as we can apply beneficial ingredients to support the structure, function and beauty of our skin on the outside, the same can happen on the inside. Our skin responds to the quality of what we choose to nourish ourselves with. Our overall state of internal health is reflected outwardly, which is why consuming colorful, plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruit, high fiber legumes, seeds, whole grains, and healthy fats from nuts and fish is cornerstone to achieving a radiant complexion. Nutrients ingested through daily supplementation can supply additional micronutrients, antioxidants, and other ingredients that can help meet nutrient demands that aren’t always obtainable through our attempts at achieving a perfect diet from day-to-day. With the addition of ingestible skincare-targeted supplements in our daily beauty regimen, we are able to ensure our skin always has full potential to thrive.
Peruse the beauty aisles or check out the latest and greatest formulations at your dermatologist or medical spa, and you’ll find nearly all products boasting a variety of antioxidants to help us achieve our best look yet. Their popularity within topical serums, creams, and ointments stems from their ability to provide protection against external insults. While this external defense is needed, we also need to take action to protect our skin from the inside-out with antioxidants, too. These antioxidants will help to maintain homeostasis within our skin through actions like:
Otherwise, skin integrity takes a serious hit from reactive oxidative species which cause subsequent DNA damage and collagen degradation. Antioxidant attenuation of these pathways should always be sought after on an internal basis to avoid a lack luster complexion. This essential steady stream of internal protection is supplied through daily intake of plant-based foods (including teas, herbs, and spices) and high quality nutritional supplementation.
When it comes to selecting a supplement to add to your beauty routine, being a conscientious and educated consumer is a must. Ingestible skincare nutritional supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, so it’s our responsibility as the consumer to have a basic understanding of the product we are putting in our body.
Keep your standards high when it comes to quality, purity, and cruelty-free standards! Be attentive towards selecting a product that is non-GMO (meaning there are no genetically modified or manipulated ingredients), vegan friendly, gluten-free, and formulated without fillers and preservatives. When it comes to ingredients themselves, these products will likely contain a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, omega-rich oils, and botanical ingredients to help promote naturally luminous skin. The supplement brand of interest should also offer full transparency into their sourcing of ingredients along with the intended benefit.
Don’t assume immediate gratification — you will want to integrate any nutritional ingestible skincare supplement for at least one month before expecting to see any improvements. Why one month? That’s the time it takes for new skin cell turnover to occur. Also, remember that results are unlikely to occur if lifestyle and dietary choices aren’t optimized, too, since no supplement will override the root causes of any skin concern. When you ingest nutrients to support a healthier complexion on a cellular level, also be honest with yourself if you are getting enough sleep, moving your body, stimulating your body’s own detoxification processes through proper dietary decisions, managing stress, and maintaining adequate hydration. Use these powerful combinations to restore and rejuvenate skin from within and reveal a silky smooth, naturally luminous complexion.
Rachel Swanson is founder of Rachel’s Rx, a preventative medicine private practice and nutrition consultancy. She currently practices at Lifespan Medicine, a concierge medical practice utilizing top technologies, leading edge diagnostics and integrative, natural therapies to help others look, feel and live their best life possible. Prior to starting her company, she was selected twice for professional NFL cheerleading teams — Patriots and Chargers. During this time, she simultaneously led research efforts in sports performance recovery for Harvard Orthopedics, diet and oncology research for a Harvard physician-led foundation, and provided nutrition education and meal plans for professional NFL players. She recently established a community medical rotation for NYU students in Cape Town to assist those with HIV AIDs, diabetes and malnutrition. She is a trusted expert for the Dr. Oz Show, where she is frequently quoted for her advice pertaining to optimal health and nutrition. Rachel is a Licensed, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, holds a Masters of Science in Clinical Nutrition from NYU, and completed clinical rotations at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan.
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Stay Ever Well,
Lynne + Renee