These top experts know the secret to perfect skin, and it doesn’t stop at topical beauty products. Try these tested vitamins and supplements that they use and recommend to up your skin care—and overall health—game.
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For Better Bone Health
“I take calcium with vitamin D in the form of chocolate chews during the day,” says New York City dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD. “They taste great and are the easiest way to get myself to take calcium, a vitamin that’s especially critical for postmenopausal woman with a family history of osteoporosis.” Another bone-strengthening vitamin in Dr. Waldorf’s arsenal: vitamin D3, a nutrient she says that, despite “a lifetime of vigilant sun protection” she only proved to be deficient in after menopause.
For Less-Visible Veins
New York City dermatologist Howard Sobel, MD says a multivitamin with vitamin C and rose hips is a daily must in his personal regimen, but for a benefit we didn’t think came from a supplement. “Rose Hips help decrease capillary fragility of blood vessels as we age.” Translation: less-visible veins as you age.
For Thicker Hair
A month after hospitalization for severe food poisoning led Dr. Waldorf to notice serious hair loss, a side-effect she explains is consistent with telogen effluvium. “I started being able to see my scalp through my hair in the front of my head and my ponytail went down to half its thickness,” she says. Her response? Taking Nutrafol Women’s Core Plus ($79), “specifically formulated for post-menopausal women.” Another fan of the brand, Dr. Sobel takes the Men’s version every day. “It helps combat hair loss and increase hair thickness,” says Dr. Sobel. If you’re after a more affordable option, Westport, CT, dermatologist Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, recommends oral biotin, or vitamin B7, as a great supplement option for hair and nail health.
To Naturally Combat High Blood Pressure
New York City facial plastic surgeon Andrew Jacono, MD takes fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, every day. “Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and have a variety of other health benefits, including healthier skin.”
For a Dose of Antioxidants
“Vitamin C is a blockbuster antioxidant that supports the immune system, fights heart disease and may reduce chronic disease risks,” says Dr. Jacono. “While it may be absorbed through the foods we eat, often times we aren’t getting enough, so taking supplements as directed can be a good option.”
For Fighting Inflammation
Oral nicotinamide is an anti-inflammatory that has been shown to be helpful for some inflammatory conditions such as acne. “It has also been shown to reduce the rates of new non-melanoma skin cancers [squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas] and actinic keratosis, or precancers, in high-risk patients,” Dr. Mraz Robinson says. Adds Kailua-Kona, HI, dermatologist Monica Scheel, MD, “It’s important to take multiple vitamins, omega-3s and antioxidants, but for those with a history of skin cancer, definitely niacinamide.”
For Days You’ve Been in the Sun
Yes, SPF is the first line of defense, but if you do find yourself in a situation of extended sun exposure, Dr. Scheel recommends reaching for Heliocare ($30). The oral supplement is packed with antioxidants and claims to help skin protect itself against sun-related effects and aging. Another options is vitamin E. “Like vitamin C, vitamin E’s main function in skin care is to protect against sun damage,” explains New York dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD. “Vitamin E absorbs the harmful UV light from the sun when applied topically. Photoprotection refers to the body’s ability to minimize the damage caused by UV rays.”
For Jump-Starting Collagen Production
New York dermatologist Julie Russak, MD, bites into NeoCell Beauty Bursts on the regular. “To kickstart my morning, I thoroughly cleanse my face, apply an antioxidant serum and broad-spectrum SPF and pop in a NeoCell Collagen Beauty Burst ($15) to promote skin vibrancy, hydration and hair health.”
For Boosting Immunity
“I take vitamins D, C and E, calcium, an omega-3, and a probiotic on a daily basis,” Dr. Peredo says. “Probiotics are beneficial bacteria to improve digestion, reduce bloating, help boost immune function and protect us from viruses and infections.” Another big immune booster that also has beauty benefits: omega-3 fish oils. “They support brain and immune function, and keep skin and hair youthful,” she adds.
For Upping Your Sunscreen Game
Dr. Peredo says taking vitamin C orally can enhance the effectiveness of sunscreens applied to your skin for protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. “It does this by decreasing cell damage and helping the healing process of bodily wounds. It can also help fend off signs of aging because of its vital role in the body’s natural collagen synthesis. It helps to heal damaged skin, and in some cases, reduces the appearance of wrinkles.”
For Curbing Sugar Cravings
Sugar is a big-time aggressor in the aging-skin war. “Take 500 mg of L-glutamine before meals if you have sugar cravings,” Dr. Peredo says. “It helps stabilize blood-sugar levels so you’re more likely to make healthy food choices and not succumb to sugary treats.”