Health Crush Contributor
The idea of a beauty supplement holds wide appeal because of its ease and the perceived effectiveness of anything in “pill” form, but do these supplements really work? There’s a dizzying selection of hair, skin and nails vitamins out on the market, claiming stronger, longer, healthier, and more lustrous beauty at all different price points, but consumers should be well aware that most beauty supplements contain ingredients that haven’t been clinically proven to be effective for use as hair, skin, and nails vitamins — and the ones that do work are only going to be effective if you have a deficiency.
Here are Some of the Best Hair, Skin and Nails Vitamins & Supplements Out There
Gamma Linoleic Acids
Also known as GLA, gamma linoleic acids are a key component of hair, skin and nails vitamins. GLA can support skin, hair, and nail health when used over an extended period of time, so you’ll find it in all of the best beauty supplements. Supplements can be used to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, and can prevent hair and nail breakage. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, its anti-inflammatory properties can also be effective in treating symptoms of arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and PMS.
Dr. Weil recommends taking 500 milligrams twice a day for at least six to eight weeks in order to see the benefits of a GLA supplement. You have your choice between getting your GLAs through an evening primrose oil or a black currant oil formulation. If you are on any medications, be aware that GLA can interact with blood thinners and reduce blood pressure, and may also interfere with the effects of antidepressants.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish oil supplements have been touted for their heart healthy properties for some time, but they also can be great supplements to add to your beauty routine. Omega-3 fatty acid have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the severity of acne flare-ups and have hydrating effects that can help keep you skin looking young. Fish oil is not only one of the best supplements for skin; it’s also know to help with shinier hair.
Americans generally don’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids into their diet, so most people will see some benefit from using fish oil as a beauty supplement. If you’re vegetarian or are experiencing unpleasant side effects — excessive fish oil intake can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, easy bruising or bleeding, and fishy aftertaste — you can boost your omega-3 intake through food. Walnuts, freshly ground flaxseed, and chia seed are great ingredients to sprinkle onto smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal if you want to integrate more omega-3s into your diet.
Biotin is available as a standalone supplement or as a component of most hair, skin and nails vitamins. Clinical studies are inconclusive regarding biotin’s ability to improve hair growth, but there is evidence that it can help your nails grow stronger and longer. However, biotin is not going to enhance hair and nail growth in individuals who aren’t deficient in biotin in the first place. If you regularly eat foods rich in biotin — tomatoes, oats, sweet potatoes, eggs, almonds, and peanuts — chances are you have ample biotin in your system already.
Iron is another supplement that will help improve hair and nail growth — but, again, only if you’re currently deficient. Iron can be toxic in high doses. Only your physician can diagnose you with anemia, and you’ll want to schedule regular checkups to see how your iron levels improve after taking supplements. Women with heavy periods, women who are pregnant, individuals who follow a plant-based diet, and frequent blood donors are more likely to be anemic than the rest of the population and should get screened for anemia even in the absence of obvious symptoms.
Precautions with Supplements
While hair, skin, and nails vitamins are available at all different price points, it’s important to put in time reading the labels and doing some background research on the manufacturer. For example, budget-friendly fish oil supplements may contain high levels of heavy metals due to cheaper sources of oil. On the other hand, expensive supplements aren’t necessarily better than more moderately priced hair, skin and nail vitamins. No matter what supplements you’re purchasing, avoid supplements that contain unnecessary additives like artificial dyes, hydrogenated oils, magnesium silicate (talc), and titanium dioxide.
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