It comes as no surprise that people have become health conscious during this pandemic, spurring on a hyper-awareness of healthy living to combat variant-related symptoms. The impact of that on the beauty industry is that health has come into focus, overshadowing the glamourisation and beautification of surface products. Perhaps that could mean a future with fewer skincare steps as we clean up our immune system with the help of supplements. However, there are both benefits and risks attached to the use of these prettily packaged supplements found at beauty retailers.
According to a survey conducted by Euromonitor International in 2020-2021, beauty consumers internationally are starting to move away from make-up to skincare; more than 50% of consumers defined beauty as “looking healthy”. Another study by Goldstein Research forecasts the beauty supplement market to generate $7 billion by 2024 with a growth of 8.6%. The numbers reiterate what we’ve already witnessed through social media – beauty gurus have started including supplements as part of their skincare regimens.
Edible beauty also plays a role in providing gratification to consumers who feel they’re doing a service to their body by focusing on health. This is perhaps more to do with mental stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic than generic health and related beauty concerns. Supplement brands like HUM Nutrition, The Nue Co., and Moon Juice have become popular with beauty consumers globally for their particular benefits. Elements like collagen and hyaluronic acid are combined with properties such as vitamin c to give a well-rounded nutrition supply. The question is, do these supplements that paint a picture of glowing health really impact us as promised, or are they fuelled by pandemic-induced paranoia?
According to Dr Jennifer Martin-Biggers of HUM Nutrition, beauty is closely interconnected with nutrition, with research suggesting that people with acne and other skin conditions often suffer from an imbalance of their gut microbiome. The idea behind starting HUM Nutrition began from addressing acne concerns from the inside out, then progressing towards hair, nails, and the body, according to Dr Martin Biggers. She also notes that factors like mental stress can aggravate skin conditions and harm the gut microbe balance.
An online consultation before starting on beauty supplements is a good way to find a regimen that suits you, but consumers often trust a well-packaged product to provide the mentioned benefits and remain ignorant of its suitability to their body. Many brands are yet to offer a personalised customer experience, highlighting the question of how to discern the need for certain supplements. It’s similar to testing out new beauty products on your skin for negative reactions – while surface products may do less serious damage to the body, it’s a different story when it comes to ingestible items.
London Clinic of Nutrition’s nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner, Nishtha Patel, finds that treating skin issues and enhancing beauty by using supplements needs special attention. According to Patel, giving out supplements without taking a full medical history, having a deep understanding of a nutritional diet, or taking into consideration lifestyle factors, may cause more harm than good. At best it would be a waste of money. “I feel that supplements should be given out by professionals that are trained in nutrition,” she says. However, now that beauty supplements have become more easily accessible, Patel has a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for them.
Patel suggests looking for patented ingredients that are clinically proven to provide better outcomes. She also recommends looking at manufacturing locations – where EU or USA have stricter guidelines, manufacturing units in China and India are often found to have dangerous levels of heavy metals or other contaminants in them.
“Always read the label – look for a ‘non-GMO free from allergens' label and watch out for the ingredients that end with “propyl” or “ethyl”, as these are often artificially made.” Another easy tip Patel gives is to always count the ingredients: the fewer the ingredients the less likely there will be more additives.
Our top picks for safe supplements to get started with:
The Nue Co. – Prebiotic + Probiotic Microbiome Supplement
Moon Juice – SuperYou Daily Stress Management