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Can supplements really improve your skin health?

With so many supplements on the market promising the best results for skin health and appearance, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your specific skin concern.

Supplements are just that – supplementary to regular healthy and nutritious eating. While it’s important to note supplements are not a magic health potion to ‘fix’ poor eating and lifestyle habits, the good news is that they can be used in treating skin conditions, like acne and actinic keratosis (AK), to improve the appearance of the skin from the inside out.

With so many supplements on the market promising the best results for skin health and appearance, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your specific skin concern. Dr Bradley Wagemaker, Medical Director at Lamelle Research Laboratories, says that it’s important to focus on ingredients that are proven to address specific concerns.

“It can be tempting to simply trust what’s on the bottle when it comes to supplements, but I would urge consumers to take more initiative and have a look at what’s inside each capsule, and to research whether it offers the benefits you are after. And you don’t need to have a PhD in medical science to do this either,” he says.

Choosing the right vitamins, minerals and formulations

From sun and environmental damage to ageing, genetic conditions, illness and disease, certain supplements can help to alleviate and even improve the impact on the skin. A good starting point is understanding the nature of your specific concern, and then doing some of your own research as well as consulting with medical experts to find a supplement with ingredients and formulations that are right for you.

With winter upon us and dry skin as well as AK and even acne breakouts taking a major toll on many South Africans, one of the most commonly recommended supplements are those that contain a form of vitamin B complex called Nicotinamide.

“Nicotinamide, which is also known as niacinamide or nicotinic acid amide, is the water-soluble and active form of vitamin B3. While its effects are still being studied, we have seen evidence to support that its anti-inflammatory properties can help to effectively treat acne by reducing sebum. Importantly, it also help to boost the skin’s level of hydration by strengthening the outermost layer of the skin to keep moisture locked in,” says Wagemaker.

Vitamin C isn’t just good for you in the form of a glass of OJ with breakfast in the morning. Thanks to its brightening properties, vitamin C can help improve the appearance of hyperpigmented skin, as well as improve dull, dehydrated skin.

With South Africans spending less time outdoors due to the chilly weather, vitamin D is also in short supply, not only impacting our mood and general wellness, but also our skin’s ability to fend off diseases. Vitamin D is also known to help prevent premature ageing  by regulating the body’s cellular renewal cycles, fight off harmful free radicals, and promote collagen production for improved skin elasticity.

“You don’t want to be taking a handful of different supplement capsules on a daily basis of course, so look for a supplement that contains most of the ingredients your skin needs to flourish,” adds Wagemaker.

Nia-Sol, for instance, contains nicotinamides, vitamin D3, and an extract of maritime pine bark, which grow in the southwest of France and included to help improve blood flow, stimulate the immune system, reduce swelling, prevent infections, and have antioxidant effects. Nia-Sol promotes , enhances and maintains skin health and elasticity, helping to protect and improve the internal structure of skin that has been damaged by UV radiation.


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