Lotions and creams are all very well. But increasingly it’s being proven that you can step up how your skin looks and behaves not only by targeting what you eat and drink, but also by supplementing the skin through liquids and pills.
Nicky Kinnaird, founder of Space NK is convinced this is the future. “Internal beauty is the way forward,” she says. “The external can only go so far.” Hence, her enthusiasm for a new beauty supplement that is taken orally, Ascenta Skin ($80). In days of yore, mothers made their children drink cod liver oil for its health benefits. Ascenta Skin is a much more palatable version specifically for skin health and backed by plenty of research, plus you only need a teaspoonful a day.
“While topical products will always be needed, they work mostly on the top layers of skin, the ones that are on their way out as you shed your skin,” says Marc St-Onge, the enthusiastic founder of the company. “Ascenta Skin works from the inside to target new skin forming in the dermal layers; it hydrates and nourishes the skin on its way in.”
“Marc St-Onge is absolutely, Mr. Omega 3,” enthuses Kinnaird. “When I asked to see some research documents, I had never seen anything like it, with so many facts and figures.”
The most important ingredient in Ascenta Skin is eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from fish oil, an omega-3 fatty acid. Now, most of us know anecdotally that fish oil is good for us—that cod liver oil again—and no less important for beauty to keep skin nourished and help ease eczema and psoriasis. Can it get better? Well, according to a new study from Manchester University in England, omega-3 oils could be very helpful in preventing skin cancer. One of the benefits of the lutein and zeaxanthin found in Ascenta Skin, is they act as natural UV protectors. In studies, skin has shown increased elasticity, firmness, and a reduction in rough skin. It also contains vitamin D to boost the immune system— after all, who looks good when they are sick?
One spanking new company I am very excited about is Hum Nutrition. Founded by two serial vitamin entrepreneurs, Chris Coleridge and Walter Faulstroh, the company offers personalized supplementation. Get your free consultation at www.humnutrition.com in three minutes—and unlike most questionnaires, it is actually fun and witty but, as you would expect, with hard science behind it. Your entry is then analyzed by a nutritionist and just to be clear, not just a bunch of algorithms pretending to be empathetic, but by a real heart-beating human. “The questionnaire is assessed by one of the best nutritionists in the country and in 48 hours, she will make recommendations for around two or three varieties of vitamins that are right for you,” explains Coleridge. “This then links you back to the site to order. You can’t order anything prior to assessment but afterward you can even add extras. Our aim is to take the guesswork out of supplements.”
Twenty-four different supplements cover the gamut of needs: Big Chill for stress, Wing Man for the liver, Gut Instinct for … well, you get it. But as for beauty? Aha, of course, Red Carpet ($14.95).
“Red Carpet has blackcurrant seed oil that contains GLA and ALAs that are great for skin and hair,” explains Coleridge. “And Killer Nails ($9.95) strengthens nails with biotin and silica.”
Another new range is from Dr. Daniel Sister, a French cosmetic doctor whom I have worked with before. He has created Beauty Works West Youth Capsules exclusively for net-a-porter.com (£120/$121.94 for 120, free shipping to the UK and US). It contains amino acids and marine plant extracts to enable skin repair and also increase muscle growth. As Nicky Kinnaird says, ”If you have a health junkie life, you need this too.” And even if you don’t, better skin could be just the start of really thinking about what you put in your body.