As the supplements market is reinvigorated with probiotics, science-backed ingestibles are helping women take back control of their skin.
Could a simple pill be the solution to lackluster skin or brittle cuticles? From hair growth vitamin gummies promoted on Instagram by the Kardashian clan, to dermatologist-owned collagen drinks, there’s an influx of ingestibles claiming to help with glowing skin, stronger nails, and thicker hair. For those new to beauty-based vitamins, it can be overwhelming to work out which products best supplement a beauty routine and deliver results. But, according to the founders of some of the newest supplement launches in the Middle East, the next generation of pills, capsules, gummies, and powders can be simple to navigate, with clever formulas devised to fill gaps in modern diets. “There is no denying the connection between our inner and outer beauty,” says Jules Miller, founder of The Nue Co, which she created after suffering gut health issues. She says that the approach to supporting your skin health should be the same as any other supplement. “It starts with understanding what our bodies need, restoring a connection with how we are feeling internally and what we are noticing externally,” she explains.
In an ideal world, a woman would ingest the perfect amount of vitamins and minerals through a balanced diet, says Sarah Philippou, co-founder of Slf Love, a new UAE-based supplements brand. Along with her husband, Peter Philippou, she launched Slf Love to fill the gaps in the average diet, with its Glow formula targeting skin and hair health with a suite of vitamins, zinc, and fatty acid-producing biotin. For those starting out, she recommends examining how both an incomplete diet and busy lifestyle can disrupt your edible intake, and work on upping these missing vitamins and minerals first. For example, in a climate like the Middle East, vitamin E is one of the more important, points out Philippou, as it protects skin cell membranes from oxidation by free radicals, specifically when the skin is exposed to UV rays. “Topical vitamin E can sometimes prevent vitamin D synthesis by absorbing UV energy, so ingesting it through supplementation is a good way of keeping your skin looking great without risking sun damage,” she clarifies. Rather than knocking back a mix of individual pills, search multi-supplements, where thought has been put into which minerals play well with others. For example, a deficiency in either folic acid or vitamin B12 could cause excessive hair breakage and loss. By topping up only one, the issue will still continue. On the flip side, biotin works harder at repairing skin synched with the B vitamin group, and vitamins C and E team up for improving hair elasticity.
Miller says that it’s important to consider adding probiotics as a supplement, to support the body as a whole. “There is such a strong connection between our gut and our skin, so what you are seeing – anything from breakouts to hyper-sensitivity – may be a reflection of what is going on with your gut microbiome,” she explains. “We say our Prebiotic+Probiotic is the backbone to your health; starting from there you can address other concerns.”
The science is supportive when it comes to probiotics, agrees Tina Chagoury, a Dubai-based clinical dietician and health behavior educator. “There is growing evidence that using probiotics may help prevent and treat skin conditions like acne, eczema, and skin damage resulting from sun exposure,” she says. By boosting the skin’s production of lipids, in particular, skin-strengthening lipids, probiotics help keep the dermis moist. However, as the experts agree, the best way to maintain inner and outer beauty is to refuel with water and plenty of greens. “There is always new research and findings in skin health,” considers Chagoury. “I tell my patients that a plate of fresh, multicolored, organic, and preferably unpeeled vegetables twice a day with a good two liters of water a day go a long way in keeping our body functions optimal – skin health is no exception.”
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Originally published in the May 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia