Holistic wellness is a major component of beauty from within. The divide between beauty and wellness has narrowed due in part to the overlap between topicals and supplements to address dermatological considerations and impart cosmetic effects to the skin, hair and nails. In relation, this article reviews studies linking some aspects of supplement formulations to cosmetic and dermatological conditions with a focus on natural ingredients.
In contrast to existing mass market offerings – which are often single ingredients and/or simple formulas in the form of vitamins, vitamin complexes, combinations of vitamins and minerals, collagen peptides, phytochemicals of different origin, etc. – the modern formulations described appear more complex and are not just limited to collagen, vitamins and minerals. A more prestige offer, backed by science and clinical trials, has been on the rise.
Modern formulations combine phytochemicals, sometimes in the form of standardized plant extracts, along with vitamins and minerals. These provide increased targeting and a holistic approach to the body’s inner mechanisms associated with stress, diet, metabolism, aging, etc., that eventually influence the external look of skin, hair and nails. This approach makes it possible to create formulations that, when tested, deliver real efficacy and support given claims.
The quality of the science and clinical tests associated with ingredients and formulations brought to the market are increasingly
important as well. Both consumers and
regulatory authorities scrutinize the formula for efficacy based on label and non-label claims, compliance and safety.
This review will not address the use of pre-, pro- and post-biotic ingredients in the supplement industry and their association with beauty (skin and hair). However, awareness of their importance in dermatology and cosmetics is rapidly growing.
It is worth noting some safety concerns raised by dermatologists in the space. Supplements are regulated as foods by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), not as drugs. There is thus no requirement for manufacturers to provide the FDA with safety data and ingredient quality assurance before going to market. However, the risk of an adverse event is real if supplements are not tested for safety. As such, supplements should be evaluated for purity, potency, interactions with other ingredients or drugs, efficacy and safety.1-3 Clinical studies should then evaluate safety as well as efficacy, especially in complex formulations where dosage and ingredient synergy could pose a health risk.
- Burns E.K., Perez-Sanchez, A. and Katta, R. (2020) Risks of skin, hair and nail supplements. Dermatol Pract Concept. 10(4) e2020089.
- Pathoulas, J.T., Bellefeuille, G., ... Farah, R.S., et al. (2020). Unknown safety profile of ingredients in hair supplements: A call to action for improved patient safety. J Am Acad Dermatol. 83(3) e213-e214
- Katta, R. and Huang, S. (2019). Skin, hair and nail supplements: An evidence-based approach. Skin Therapy Lett. 24(5) 7-13.