Soft, luscious, silky hair… clear, glowing smooth skin… isn’t that what we all want? And in order to achieve these, we use so many different topical products and eat healthy meals every day (both of which are HIGHLY important). But did you know that there are beauty supplements which can help us to achieve our skin and hair goals? Read on to find out more about the various vitamins out in the market, so that you can make an informed choice about whether or not you should invest in them, and which products you should splurge on.
Feed your face!
Biotin (aka vitamin B7) is what all the Instagram craze is about nowadays, but what exactly is it and how does it help our skin? Biotin is a coenzyme (an organic compound which binds to an enzyme to catalyse a chemical reaction) that is required to metabolise a number of things including fatty acids, amino acids, and glucose. To put it simply, without biotin, we wouldn’t be able to break down the fats, proteins, and carbohydrates we eat into the useful components required by our bodies. Biotin helps to improve the structure of keratin (which is found in skin, nails and hair) and therefore helps in protecting the skin against dryness. Though you can obtain biotin through your diet (biotin rich foods include egg yolks, avocados, sweet potato, salmon, nuts and seeds, and liver since most biotin is stored in the liver), taking supplements will give you a much needed boost. The average recommended daily allowance for biotin is about 30-70 micrograms per day for adults, however, there are no risks associated with taking an overdose because any excess can easily be excreted through the feces and urine. Biotin supplements are usually sold in much higher concentrations than the recommended daily value (the usual amount is 10,000 microgram tablets) and are generally priced moderately so you can improve your skin’s health without breaking the bank.
FACT: Even when taken in small doses, biotin can totally blow up you lab results. The tests that it particularly interferes with are thyroid function, hormone level, cardiac troponin level and vitamin D level tests, which can lead to misdiagnosis or mistreatment of these conditions. Don’t let this put you off taking biotin supplements though because you’ll be fine as long as you make sure you inform your doctors about any supplements you’re taking prior to the tests.
Vitamin A is required by all layers of our skin. Vitamin A not only prevents UV rays from breaking down collagen, it’s also an antioxidant which protects us against sunburn. A lack of vitamin A often results in dry, itchy, or uneven-textured skin. The recommended daily dose of vitamin A is 700 micrograms for women (900 micrograms for men), however, there is an upper limit of 3000 micrograms (or 10,000 IU) and taking an overdose can lead to side effects, so make sure you’re not already obtaining enough vitamin A from your diet before taking supplements. Vitamin A rich foods include fruits and vegetables, that are yellow, red or green in colour. This includes carrots, spinach, sweet potato, mango and papaya.
Vitamin C – Think C for collagen since vitamin C helps collagen to retain its shape, so basically preserve your youth! It’s also an antioxidant which protects us from free radicals and in effect lowers our chances of developing skin cancer. The recommended daily amount is 65-90 mg while the upper limit if 2000 mg per day. Although you won’t be risking your life by taking an overdose, side effects include diarrhea and nausea.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and a anti-inflammatory, that is able to absorb UV rays to prevent or lessen the damage (including wrinkles, sagging, and most importantly skin cancer) they cause to the skin. In fact, taking vitamins C and E ensures added protection against the sun. The recommended daily value is 15 mg for men and women with an upper limit of 1000 mg per day.
Feed your hair!
Biotin – As mentioned above, biotin supports the structure of keratin and keratin makes up about 95% of hair so as you can probably imagine, it’s very important!
Vitamin A helps all cells, including hair cells to grow. Moreover, it also helps skin cells to produce sebum which moisturises the scalp and prevents hair from over drying.
Vitamin C is needed for collagen production (as mentioned above) which upon breakdown is able to provide the amino acid building blocks to produce more hair. Free radicals not only affect the skin but they are also harmful for our hair so the antioxidant properties of vitamin C help to protect the hair as well.
Vitamin D helps to create new hair follicles (i.e the pores in the scalp out of which new hair can grow) and research has shown that low levels of vitamin D can lead to alopecia (hair loss). Natural sources of vitamin D include fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna, and salmon as well as egg yolks and cheese. Some dairy products are fortified with vitamin D too so it is quite easy to incorporate vitamin D intake in our diet. The recommended daily intake for adults is about 100 micrograms (4000 IU) per day and excessive vitamin intake can lead to hypercalcaemia (increased levels of calcium in the blood).
Vitamin E is also an antioxidant which was mentioned above, but more interestingly, research has shown evidence to support the fact that vitamin E can help prevent/reduce hair loss and promote hair growth.
I’m sure that by now, you’ll have realised that our skin and hair needs are very similar as far as vitamin intake is concerned, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for us to get into a routine to eat right for our body, and to add supplements as and when required. I must also stress that it is very important to discuss supplement usage with your doctor as everyone’s medical requirements are different and whether or not these supplements are suitable for you can only be commented on by your doctor.
I hope that this guide has given you the low down on beauty supplements and I guess it’s now time to say hola to flawless skin and hair!
Please Note: I have recommended products by My Vitamins throughout this post only because they are cheap and will allow you to make all your supplement purchases from one site, making the process more convenient. However, Feromina Blog is in no way affiliated with, or being sponsored by My Vitamins and these recommendations are my own.