The Ultimate Guide to Skin Supplements

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From powders to pills, skin supplements are having a moment. It seems every month, there is a batch of new ingestible beauty products promising to make you glow from the inside out, but how do they achieve this? We spoke with experts in the field, including dermatologists and some of the minds behind the top beauty supplement brands, to learn about how skin supplements work and which products we can trust.

What are skin supplements?

First things first—let’s iron out exactly what constitutes a skin supplement. “A beauty supplement is a powder, capsule or pill that is formulated with known beneficial ingredients for skin, hair and nails,” explains board-certified Omaha, NE dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, MD. He adds that ingredients commonly found in these supplements include vitamins A, C and E, niacinamide, biotin, amino acids and various other antioxidants. “Antioxidants, in particular, are very popular in beauty supplements, as they have been shown to counteract the inflammation that leads to all types of skin aging,” says Dr. Schlessinger. “Ingestible zinc can help counteract oxidative stressimprove acne and even help wounds heal.”

“Beauty supplements were traditionally created to support naturally occurring processes in the body. For example, marine collagen supplements look at the depletion of our body’s collagen as we age, stimulating fresh collagen production to deliver firmer and plumper skin,” says founder of Vida Glow Anna Lahey. “But today, innovation has progressed so far that we can now be targeted in our approach to beauty, developing ingestible solutions specific to concerns like pigmentation, hair loss, dryness and wrinkles.”

Do skin supplements really work?

“They certainly can,” says CEO and Founder at NOVOS Chris Mirabile, and whether they are efficacious or not depends on a few factors. “There is so much evidence that supports the power of vitamins and minerals for not only your skin but your whole body,” says clinical nutritionist & founder of JSHealth Vitamins Jess Sepel. “I saw first hand how life-changing the right herbs and nutrients could be for my clients, and that was what pushed me to create JSHealth Vitamins in the first place.”

Mirabile notes that the supplement space is generally unregulated in the U.S., with very few companies conducting the appropriate scientific research to validate their products. “If you want a product that works, it’s important for you to get past the marketing appeal and look into the research that was conducted with the product and whether it validates its claims,” he advises. “Look for companies with a strong scientific team, scientific research and realistic claims.”

Do dermatologists recommend supplements for skin?

Many dermatologists are in favor of adding supplements to your beauty routine. Delray Beach, FL board-certified dermatologist Dr. Janet Allenby uses them herself—we’ll share which ones later. “I have seen improvement when people are consistently using these types of products,” she says. It’s “one more tool in the box to help us with whatever problems we have, whether it’s related to genetics or age.”

While Dr. Schlessinger often feels a vitamin-heavy, well-balanced diet is the best way to support the health of your body and skin, he notes that sometimes “there are nutrients that are beneficial to skin that are just impossible to get enough of in your diet,” in which case skin supplements come in handy. “The ability to increase delivery of molecules that can help the skin is enormous. You can boost delivery of active ingredients by delivering from the inside and outside of the skin,” says West Palm Beach, FL dermatologist Kenneth Beer, MD

“Unlike a topical treatment, which may only penetrate as far as the epidermis, an ingestible beauty supplement may be able to work deeper into the dermis of the skin, helping skin from the inside out,” says Dr. Schlessinger.

Which supplements are best for skin?

For an overall approach to skin health, Sepel believes “that a high quality collagen formula and a high strength fish oil is key. “Collagen contributes to our skin physiology and structure, allowing its many functions to be performed. Unfortunately, collagen production declines as we age,” says Sepel. Supplementing with marine collagen can boost collagen levels for healthy, youthful, hydrated and glowing skin plus healthy hair and nails. While fish oil has been proven to protect our skin health, it also benefits heart and bone health, brain function, cholesterol levels and eye health, says Sepel.

When it comes to collagen, you’ll find that the research points to marine collagen being most effective for skin health and anti-aging benefits, says Sepel. “Marine collagen is the one with the most impressive science behind it due to the type (primarily Type 1) of collagen that is in it. Type 1 has superior solubility and is the form of collagen that helps in the formation of skin, bones and other tissues. Marine collagen peptides have been shown to be around 1.5 times more effective than other collagen sources.”

“The health of our skin relies on a number of factors, including hydration, skin stem cell health and the body’s ability to produce collagen,” says Mirabile. “At appropriate doses, supplements that include ingredients that improve skin stem cell health—like alpha-ketoglutarate, glucosamine, hyaluronic acid and vitamin D—and the production of collagen—like glycine, vitamin C, and vitamin A—can have great effects on the appearance and function of the skin,” he says.

What are the best supplements to clear skin?

Vitamin A (which is what retinol is derived from) can reduce skin oil production and speed up healing from acne lesions, says Mirabile. However, what you put in your body while eating can be just as impactful on skin congestion as supplements.

“When it comes to clear skin, my experience as a clinical nutritionist has shown me that it often starts with gut health,” says Sepel. “So when the gut is off balance, it shows through your skin. This connection is what drove me to create our targeted formula Skin + Digestion ($35)” with vitamin C, zinc, turmeric and burdock. “Diet and gut health are so closely related to skin health as it affects the absorption of nutrients. In order to achieve healthy, glowing skin, it’s important to feed it all the amazing nutrients from the inside.”

Dr. Martin-Biggers always recommends people address any issues with their digestion at the onset of a beauty supplement journey. “Research has shown a connection between our gut health, mood and skin, making it an important part of any beauty regimen,” she explains.

Mirabile notes that acne can often originate from the gut, making maintaining a healthy microbiome a crucial part of skin health. “Consuming foods containing prebiotic fibers in combination with fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, natto and others, can contribute to a healthy microbiome and gut-skin axis,” he says. “Specific probiotic strains, like Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and others, have some research indicating that they may make a noticeable improvement to skin acne and skin inflammation.” He also notes that avoiding dairy, high glycemic foods and processed foods can have a positive effect on clearing skin and avoiding acne.

Skin supplements are having a moment right now—why is that?

There are a lot of factors contributing to the surge in popularity skin supplements is seeing right now. “People are always looking for new ways to enhance their self-care routine, support their skin health and look and feel better,” says Dr. Schlessinger. “A well-formulated, thoroughly researched beauty supplement may be able to do that.” Not to mention how easy it is to add a supplement to your routine.

Dr. Beer echoes this sentiment and notes that he’s seen a rise in people seeking lasers and injectables for the same reason. He feels the industry will only continue to grow. “Ingestible beauty has amazing potential to help the skin, hair and nails,” says Dr. Beer. “There will be a day when you will be able to look at skin and design supplements that address the individuals’ issues,” he predicts.

How are skin supplements different from other vitamins?

“Unlike general vitamins, skin supplements are specifically formulated to have a direct, positive effect on skin, hair or nails,” explains Dr. Schlessinger. This means they need to contain a high enough potency of ingredients to ensure that it’s absorbed and used by the skin, hair or nails. “For example, a general supplement that contains vitamin A may help counteract overall inflammation issues in the body, but may not have a direct, anti-aging effect on the skin.”

Why might a skin supplement be more powerful than topical skin care?

Beauty starts from within, notes VP of scientific affairs & education at HUM Nutrition Jennifer Martin-Biggers PhD, which is why a supplement can provide benefits beyond topical skin care. The experts all advocated for tackling beauty from both sides, supplements and topicals.  

Lahey points out that topical skin care only reaches three percent of your skin, which is primarily dead cells. “Ingestibles operate below the surface, reaching the other 97 percent of skin where real change is created on the deepest, live layers of skin,” she adds.

If you’re looking to reap the wonderful benefits of beauty supplements, we’ve rounded up some expert-approved products to check out. However, Dr. Schlessinger notes that you should consult with your physician before beginning a new supplement to ensure it doesn’t interact with anything you’re already taking. Additionally, he advises never to take more than the recommended dose because more doesn’t always equate to better.

1 / 10

Skinade Better Skin From Within ($180)

Dr. Allenby uses supplements from Skinade personally and in her office to supplement nutrition and possible deficiencies in skin health. “Skinade adds collagen to their daily supplement, which does diminish as we age so it may translate into smoother, healthier skin,” she explains. The brand also has different nutrient formulas based on skin needs, including acne, cellulite and anti-aging, she adds.

BUY NOW – $180

Award Photo: Better Skin From Within
Award Photo: Better Skin From Within
2 / 10

JSHealth Vitality X + Collagen ($40)

Sepel often recommends this formula for those seeking a comprehensive approach to skin health. “It’s our signature age-defying inner beauty powder with premium hydrolyzed marine collagen to support skin hydration, firmness, elasticity and overall vitality.” It also features vitamins C and E “to support skin health, relieve occasional digestive discomfort, maintain liver health, and support energy production and vitality.”



3 / 10

Nutrafol Skin ($88)

Dr. Allenby also recommends Nutrafol in her practice. They offer skin-care supplements as well as hair-loss supplements specifically based on a person’s sex and hormonal status.



4 / 10

Vida Glow Anti-G-Ox ($55)

Lahey recommends Anti-G-Ox for fighting off accelerated aging effects of diet, pollution and oxidative stress. She also suggests Radiance ($46) to tackle uneven lackluster complexions and Natural Marine Collagen ($50) to combat signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles.



5 / 10

Ritual HyaCera ($54)

Supplement giant Ritual has recently entered the skin health game with their latest launch. Created to boost skin hydration from the insane, the vanilla essence–coated tablets are clinically proven to reduce wrinkles and fine lines in 90 days.

6 / 10


Dr. Schlessinger recommends supporting your sun protection with this supplement to help boost antioxidant activity. “Heliocare is one of my favorite products as it not only helps with sun protection but also helps to improve melasma and can be helpful for skin cancer prevention.”

BUY NOW – $31

7 / 10

NOVOS Core ($109)

At NOVOS “we’ve conducted a preliminary study on real customers that demonstrates our product improves facial skin firmness by 22 percent on average” with up to 40 percent improvement after six months of use. “This is in addition to one of our most reported benefits from customers: improved skin complexion,” notes Mirabile.

BUY NOW – $109

8 / 10

HUM Red Carpet ($26)

HUM has a wide variety of skin supplements with something for every skin concern from wrinkle-fighting to glow-boosting. For those with dry skin Dr. Martin-Biggers recommends Red Carpet, which employs omegas to boost skin hydration.

She suggests Collagen Love ($40) to improve skin firmness and elasticity. To reduce the appearance of wrinkles, she recommends Artic Repair ($60), which has lingonberry oil. Mighty Night ($40) promotes overnight cell renewal and includes powerful ceramides and antioxidants to support the skin’s moisture barrier, elasticity and hydration.


BUY ON HUM – $26

9 / 10

Dr. Whitney Bowe Night Mode ($35)

This melatonin-free supplement is the ultimate beauty sleep pill. It supports healthier skin, eases stress, promotes calm and facilitates better sleep.



10 / 10

Jane Iredale Skin Accumax Dietary Supplement ($165)

To support your acne regimen Dr. Schlessinger recommends this jane iredale supplement that features a patented formula of vitamins A, C and E plus diindolylmethane.

BUY NOW – $165


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