Let’s cut through the buzz and get down to the facts. It seems like every blogger and social media star out there is promoting hair, skin or nail vitamins. But which of these supplements actually work and which are just hype?
The Top 3 Vitamins for Healthy Hair, Skin & Nails
“I recommend supplements to patients who are looking to address certain skin, nail, or hair issues,” says Dr. Marina Peredo
, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. In particular, she suggests three supplements that have proven to be extremely effective in addressing the hair as well as skin or nail problems.
Of course, Biotin
(vitamin B7) is at the top of every must-have list for healthy hair. “Biotin stimulates new hair growth,” says Dr. Peredo, “and promotes healthier texture by protecting against dryness, scalp flaking and increasing elasticity of the hair’s cortex to prevent breakage. I recommend it to my patients who have any concerns with thinning hair or even brittle nails… Biotin encourages the production of protein for nail growth when absorbed in the core of the nail bed, where the cells are generated.”
Marine Fatty Acids
“When ingested, marine fatty acids such as omega-3 work to combat dry and damaged hair, hair loss, and a flaky scalp. The DHA and EPA found in omega-3 adds luster, elasticity and shine to dull strands, promoting… hair growth,” says Dr. Peredo. “Furthermore, the dietary fat found in omega-3 fatty acids helps protect and repair skin cells, moisturizing the skin from the inside out. Omega-3 can even protect skin from burning and overexposure to UV rays, so I suggest to my patients to have at least one to two capsules of the supplement a day.”
“I usually advise my patients who have acne to take a Vitamin B complex
,” says Dr. Peredo. “Vitamin B acts as an antioxidant for the skin which can assist in removing bacteria. It helps to balance testosterone levels, which keeps acne at bay. Vitamin B deficiency is also a major cause of acne, so making sure your body receives enough will help prevent and treat the condition. And if that’s not enough, Vitamin B also helps to reduce stress and address the adrenal glands, so it’s beneficial to those who break out when stressed.”
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OK, helpful. But what about the countless other beauty vitamins out there? They may be good additions to your daily routine. But, says Dr. Peredo, to get the desired results, you’d have to take “megadoses” of the vitamins — much more than is actually in the supplements.
Still, while the results may not be dramatic, says Josephine Tutrani
, a clinical nutritionist specializing in customized diets for anti-aging, weight loss, hair loss, acne, and other skin conditions, the standard go-to vitamins like VItamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin E do help promote healthy skin. And many beauty supplements on the market do feature a combination of many of these ingredients.
Vitamin AVitamin A
helps smooth and rejuvenate skin, says Tutrani. She recommends Vitamin A especially for preventative purposes and for people with acne-prone skin. However, to see dramatic skin results, Tutrani says you’d have to take a synthetic derivative of Vitamin A, such as Accutane. OTC vitamin A pills from your local supplement aisle won’t hurt, but they also probably won’t cause significant changes.
Vitamin C is important for the formation of collagen. However, it would require a high dosage of vitamin C to see results, advises Dr. Peredo. And vitamin C is water-soluble, so when you take more of it by mouth, it will just be dispelled through your urine. So make sure you have enough C in your diet, but don’t expect it to perform miracles when taken as a stand-alone supplement.
Vitamin EVitamin E
is a great antioxidant and a natural anti-inflammatory. In some patients with eczema or psoriasis, Dr. Peredo has seen Vitamin E supplements help soothe inflammation. But there is insufficient medical evidence to state conclusively that vitamin E will always work well for skin issues.
The verdict? You can pop these pills, but be realistic and don’t expect to see dramatic results.
A Supp You Can Skip
You may have seen new supplements on the market claiming to zap wrinkles and reverse your skin’s aging by increasing human growth hormones. Dr. Peredo says that this is one category of supplement that you can skip. While human growth hormone therapy can be helpful for people with concerns about their pituitary gland, there is no proof that it will do anything for anti-aging, she says.
One last thing to remember: it’s important to consult with your doctor or nutritionist before starting on any supplement regimen, especially if you’re taking other medications! That’s just savvy supp practices.
Now that you’re armed with the supplement facts, take your vitamins and get glowing!