Younger Looking Skin

1 March 2006

Health Plus!

Skin supplements are like any other A-Z vitamin, but the range of nutrients are skin-specific. ‘We all know that nutrition has a noticeable impact on skin,’ says Candice Gardner, regional education manager at the International Dermal Institute. ‘If your body’s deficient – and most people’s are due to modern lifestyles – it will show on your skin. Supplements top up your system.’

The main drawback is that your body isn’t able to distinguish between a normal supplement and one specifically for your skin. The majority of the nutrients are diverted to your vital organs because your body will automatically use them where they’re needed – so although supplements can help, they take some time to build up in your system and the effects are dependent on your general health. ‘Some people may find they impact sooner than others and that they have a better effect – but in general I’d say you’ll start seeing the benefits within two months,’ says Candice.

But they’re not a miracle turn-back-the-clock remedy for sagging skin, says Nina Goad, spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation. ‘Some people use skin supplements believing they will prevent wrinkles. But, in terms of properly controlled clinical studies, there’s little evidence they have a significant effect on skin ageing.’ What they can do is help to boost moisture and improve the condition of your skin.

What’s your type?

So what should you be taking? ‘In general you need a wide spectrum of nutrients to keep your body and skin in good health, but there are key ‘skin’ ones to look out for, depending on your needs,’ says Candice. These include vitamin A, which controls the development of your skin’s natural defence barrier and the rate at which cells renew; vitamin C – necessary for collagen production and elasticity; and essential fatty acids like Omega-3 – the natural oils your skin needs to stay supple and build up a barrier. Without these nutrients, your skin can become even more dry and sensitised than naturally happens in your 40s and beyond.

Daily nourishment

‘I’d recommend you take a daily skin supplement to nourish and protect your skin,’ says Linda Larcombe, international training consultant for skin supplement experts Ferrosan. There are some supplements on the market that you just take for a short time – for example Imedeen’s Tan Optimizer or Arkopharma Phytobronz.

Inside out

It’s worth remembering that you shouldn’t rely entirely on a pill for your skin health. ‘You should only take a supplement in the context of changes to your skincare regime, plus your diet – you can’t depend on them to revolutionise the state of your skin,’ says Candice. ‘Because the nutrients from a supplement get diverted to other parts of your body, only about 20 percent will be ingested by your skin. But if you use a high-strength skin cream, your skin gets first option. There’s a feeling in the cosmetics industry that if you really want to maximise the benefits, you really need feed your skin directly.’

To help boost the effects of a supplement, make sure that you drink six to eight glasses of water a day, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein and ‘good’ fats found in olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados and oily fish. ‘As for wrinkles, fine lines and the visible signs of skin ageing, the greatest external factors affecting the ageing of your skin are UV damage from sun or sunbed exposure, and smoking. Good skincare should include protecting your skin from these,’ adds Nina.

Christina Wilson, 50, London

Tried: Efamol Pure Evening Primrose Oil (£7.49/30)

The lowdown Contains rich levels of nutrient GLA and vitamin E to help maintain hormonal balance and healthy-looking skin.

One month on…As well as my skin looking clearer, I’ve noticed a decrease in my hot flushes. So far so good.

After two months There’s a noticeable change in my skin and menopausal symptoms. My skin feels more supple and my night sweats and hot flushes have decreased. In fact, my periods have returned and are more regular so perhaps I’m not as ready for the menopause as I thought! I’ll definitely keep taking them.

Score: 7/10

From chemists and health stores nationwide. Visit or call 01757 633888 for details.

The importance of fatty acids

Read more