Dietary supplements that promise to improve the look and health of your skin are soaring in popularity. You can find these products in almost every drug store with other vitamins and minerals or even in the store’s cosmetics and skin care aisle. Called “nutricosmetics,” the trend is big in several European countries and is taking off in the United States.

But can dietary supplements, or your diet, help improve your skin’s appearance? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not currently analyze or approve these nutricosmetic supplements, but experts from the American Academy of Dermatology weighed in on the value of nutricosmetics in a recent report.

The science on nutrition and healthy skin

  • Ample research shows that wearing a high SPF sunscreen every day can reduce the risk of visible sun damage.
  • There are a few studies that show a daily supplement containing collagen peptides can reduce eye wrinkle depth.
  • One study found that middle-aged women whose diet included more vitamin C and linoleic acid and reduced fat and carbohydrates saw fewer age-related skin effects, like wrinkles, dryness, and thinning.
  • Consuming too much sugar can damage the collagen and elastin in skin molecules, with consequences like wrinkles and sagging skin.
  • Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, lycopene, green tea polyphenols, beta carotene, and cocoa flavanols, protect skin from the damage that can result from ultraviolet light. Antioxidants occur naturally in a variety of foods, from vegetables and fruits to tea and certain types of chocolate.
  • Diets heavy on dairy products or high glycemic-index foods, such as processed breads or snacks or sugary carbonated drinks, may contribute to acne flares.

Many manufacturers claim their products can soften lines and wrinkles, improving skin elasticity and roughness. But, overall, the evidence for nutricosmetics is scant—consumers should use more proven methods to care for their skin, such as applying sunscreen daily, says board-certified dermatologist Patricia Farris, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology, Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans.

“There is currently no scientific evidence that oral supplements alone can provide an adequate level of protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays,” she writes. “Consumers can use these supplements and foods in combination with seeking shade, wearing sun-protective clothing and applying sunscreen.”
In general, don’t look for miracles in a bottle.




American Academy of Dermatology. (2015, Feb. 2). Beauty from the inside out: Improving your diet or taking supplements might lead to younger-looking skin. Retrieved from:

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