Interior Motives

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | September 15, 2011

Today’s beauty supplements work from the inside out to promote beautiful, healthy skin, hair and nails.

You are what you eat—especially when it pertains to beauty. After all, healthy skin, hair and nails start with all those crucial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants ingested on a daily basis through fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and a multivitamin, of course. But some need a little bit more help in the beautifying department beyond the dietary basics. That’s why today’s dietary supplements are engineered to target everything from aging skin to thinning hair, one pill at a time.

U.S. sales of hair, skin and nail supplements rose 10% to $520 million in 2009 (2010 estimates weren’t available at press time), according to Nutrition Business Journal.

“What we consume internally influences all of our organs, including skin. Just as a healthy diet has a positive influence on how we look and feel, so do nutritional supplements,” said Dr. Jeannette Graf, assistant clinical professor of dermatology, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY. “Some supplements, such as biotin, have demonstrated enhanced nail growth, as well as flexibility of the nail plate when taken at a dose of 2500 micrograms per day. Patients who consume biotin supplements report improvements in nail growth as well as hair growth.Research has identified vitamin D3 as a major factor involved in the regulation of cathelicidin, a major antimicrobial and wound-healing peptide that is produced by the skin.

“While there may not be many studies directed at specific oral supplements and their positive benefits to the skin, nutritional deficiencies have profound effects on the skin,” added Dr. Graf. “In addition to healthy diet, nutritional supplementation with a multivitamin, mineral, omegas, vitamin D3, probiotics and antioxidant supplements are recommended to consumers.”

Internal supplementation can provide a profound benefit to your skin, hair and nails, agreed Misha Hughes, aesthetician and personal care consultant for Xango, Lehi, UT.

“The right combination and concentration of nutrients can increase the strength and vitality of your hair and nails while increasing the clarity and radiance of your skin,” Ms. Hughes said. “Our skin is a very good indicator of not only what we have exposed ourselves to externally (excessive UV, for example), but also what we have exposed ourselves to internally as well as what is going on in our bodies.”

The benefits of using beauty supplements reach far and wide, noted Dr. Lindsey Duncan, founder, Genesis Today, Austin, TX.

“First, one must understand the proven fact that beauty comes from within. If our bodies are sluggish, toxic, over-acid, clogged up and chronically fatigued internally, then it is virtually impossible to look vibrant, bright, clean, alive and have that ‘glow’ we all aspire to possess,” she told Beauty I/O.

Critical Components

From classic açai berry to new wave extracts such as mangosteen or green coffee, there is no shortage of innovative ingredients in today’s beauty supplements. According to Paula Simpson, co-founder and formulator for GliSODin Skin Nutrients, all-natural, food-based ingredients and botanical extracts are hot right now—compared to “over synthetic” vitamins and minerals.

“People are seeking antioxidants and all-natural ingredients to support skin, hair and nail health,” she told Beauty I/O. “For skin, antioxidant, hydrating anti-inflammatory ingredients are big.”

Deep colored fruits and vegetables—such as tomatoes, carrots, peppers and melons—contain potent antioxidants such as carotenoids, which are known to give the skin a healthy glow and have been shown to help protect the skin from the damaging effects of sun exposure, Ms. Simpson explained, adding that she uses these ingredients in GliSODin Skin Nutrients products by way of berries, broccoli, chardonnay grapes, pomegranate and cocoa.

The latest rollout from GliSODin is its Skin Nutrients Advanced Slimming Formula, said to support all of the body’s systems required for healthy weight loss. This formulation promotes a healthy metabolism, while also helping to control appetite and increase energy levels by ensuring the body can break down sugars and properly absorb macronutrients, she said. Active ingredients include pea protein, a vegan source of protein to satisfy appetite and promote healthy lean body mass; seaweed extract to promote a healthy metabolic rate while controlling excess fat and carbohydrate absorption; conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), naturally sourced from safflower; green coffee extract, clinically proven to offer beauty slimming benefits by supporting healthy blood sugars levels and controlling excess sugar absorption; melon extract and more.

Over at Genesis Today, a popular nutraceutical brand sold at Walgreen’s, açai is still leading the pack. According to Dr. Duncan, “All one needs to do is dive deep into the açai berry and you will find the reasons why it’s used as an effective beauty product.”

Genesis Today’s new line of Gummy Vitamins deliver a range of nutrients, including important vitamins and minerals that help support a healthy body and overall well-being. Variations include Superfruit Omega-3 Vitamins, said to support healthy brain function and a healthy heart; Açai Energy Vitamins that provide natural energy support; and Superfruit Immunity, which offers a burst of immune support with vitamin C, echinacea and zinc to help bodies look and feel good. Celebrity fans of the brand include Demi Moore, Kelly Rutherford, Marc Jacobs and Rebecca Romijn, to name a few.

Leading mangosteen products such as Xango Juice, which contains the deep purple pericarp rind of the fruit, could provide even greater benefit to the skin than first realized, said Ms. Hughes. Similar mangosteen-based skin products may also produce strong benefits.

“Antioxidants should also continue to play an important role in one’s supplementation plan,” she explained. “Mangosteen is rich in xanthones and polyphenolic compounds, which are powerful antioxidants. In traditional cultures in Southeast Asia, mangosteen has been used for centuries—a tradition passed down through the generations even today—as a calming agent on the digestive system.”

Ms. Hughes added that science is continuing to explore native traditions for modern applications.

“Recently, research has been conducted on the sunburn-protection qualities of fruits and vegetables that have dark red and purple pigments. These deeply-colored botanicals contain massive amounts of anthocyanidins,” she said. “Research shows that increased consumption of anthocyanidins is not only associated with an ability to affect long-term health and minimize threats of many deteriorated conditions within the body, but these phytonutrients have also been shown to decrease UV-associated skin cancer risk and skin cell damage. Both anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins prevent the breakdown of collagen and improve blood flow.”

In Fine Form

Capsules and tablets are the primary format types found in new vitamins and supplements with beauty-enhancing claims, noted Nica Lewis, head consultant, beauty innovation, Mintel Group, London, U.K. Liquids and powder (especially in monodose form) are the next most popular form in new product launches.

Packaging is very important and plays an important role in influencing the purchase of nutritional supplements, added Dr. Graf of Mount Sinai.

“There are a number of factors, which will vary with consumer personal preferences. Some prefer capsules, some tablets, some gel-caps. Ease of use is extremely important,” she told Beauty I/O. “A motivated consumer may not mind having a refrigerated product. Many consumers, however, might prefer having their supplements on the countertop, so they can be reminded to take them. Since I travel a great deal I like portability of a product.That means I would either have my entire daily requirement of supplements in separate packets, which I can carry in my handbag if I am traveling for a weekend.”

According to Tom Porter, president of Malibu Wellness, Malibu, CA, dry ingredients packed in foil and heat sealed packets are still the most cost effective delivery for nutraceuticals, as “they are protected from oxidation and the compounds last much longer compared to other plastic or even glass containers. Consumers still like the convenience of quickly opening the packets and pouring them into a drink for immediate consumption.”

Packaging can sometimes be deceiving, though, noted Dr. Duncan of Genesis Today. “The best way to cut through the clutter on packaging is to look directly at milligrams per serving; that is the most effective,” she said. “If a company doesn’t put the amount of superfruit on the label, then consumers should not buy it. It should be 10,000 mg per serving or more.”

Portability by way of beauty beverages is also a hot trend right now. Anti-aging expert Dr. Aaron Tabor, Kernersville, NC, rolled out his latest innovation, Beauty Shake, on QVC recently. According to the company, this daily beauty drink for women helps support healthy nail appearance and maintain normal skin and hair health.

“Women should know that topically applied creams, sunscreen and products are only half the battle in staying naturally radiant and in preventive aging,” said Dr. Tabor. “The truth is what we eat impacts how we look, and skin, hair and nails often manifest the most tell-tale signs of our nutritional habits—good or bad. Beauty Shake hydrates, nourishes and beautifies from within and can supplement current extracellular beauty regimens.”

Each doctor-formulated, protein-packed Beauty Shake can be used as part of Dr. Tabor’s Slim & Beautiful Diet for an inside-out makeover. The drink contains 2.5mg of biotin, a water-soluble B-complex vitamin (vitamin B7) that helps support hair and nail growth. It is available in three flavors—Chocolate Youth, Vanilla Vibrance and Strawberry Sparkle—in ready-to-mix powder packs.

Around the Bend

Market research firm Packaged Facts expects annual sales growth in nutritional supplements to improve gradually during the next few years. Even factoring in 2010, when it expects a slight correction to occur due to the lingering impact of the recession, sales growth will remain in the 7-8% range, with the higher rates of growth occurring toward the end of the five-year forecast period. By this assessment, sales of nutritional supplements in general will reach more than $13 billion in 2014, yielding a compound annual growth rate of 7%.

“Future trends in beauty supplements will demonstrate greater specific benefits to skin,” said Dr. Graf. “There will be more supplements demonstrating DNA protection and cellular repair.Alkalinity of the body is going to play an even greater role in diet, as well as in overall health contributing to skin beauty.”

Dr. Hughes of Xango sees synergy as the next big thing—as seen first at her company.

“I think more attention is being paid to nutrient combinations and capitalizing on the synergy that particular nutrients have with one another, as well as the superior benefits said combinations can provide for your skin,” she said. “For example, Xango has followed traditional Southeast Asian practices—as well as the experience of its millions of consumers worldwide—to harness the beneficial xanthones and other nutrients from the mangosteen pericarp to add premium skin care products (Glimpse Topical Skin Nutrition) to its product line. In developing Glimpse, we formulated the mangosteen and complementing botanical ingredients at exact amounts to maximize synergistic effects—ensuring optimum nutrition for the skin.”

At Genesis Today, uniquely sourced ingredients will help shape the future of its products, according to Dr. Duncan.

“I have put a great amount of time, research and travel into this subject and I believe there will be unique plants with very unique compounds from southeast Asia, Peru and Brazil that will be entering the market over the next two to five years. They will show dramatic and beneficial results for both men and women for conditions that relate to the health, strength and visual appeal of the skin, hair, face, nails and internal organs that have a direct impact on our beauty such as liver and gall bladder,” she explained. “I think people are going to realize even more so that healthy digestion and a healthy digestive tract and healthy metabolism of the food we eat all play a critically important role in the way we look and feel. Natural digestive support is already a big trend, but soon it will be a big trend among people who are big consumers of beauty products.”

Overall, as more consumers are seeking holistic approaches to healthy aging, nutricosmetics provide a critical component to this framework, noted GliSODin formulator Ms. Simpson. “Oral beauty products complement topical products and treatments and often contain ingredients and antioxidants that provide additional health benefits beyond outer beauty.”

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