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I’ll happily admit that when it comes to skincare, I’m the worst type of person. A ten step routine involving daily face masks seems totally manageable to me, but eating right and avoiding booze totally impossible. Nonetheless, I know that good skin starts from within, and you can’t just use products to get a smooth, unblemished baby face. I know this, but sometimes I have a hard time admitting it.

Which is why the idea of taking supplements to make me more pretty is of great appeal to me. What can I say – I love a shortcut. Here are all the best supplements to take for your skin, plus first hand reviews by an expert (me).

Before we begin – when I first started my supplement experiment, my skin and body went a little bit beserk. I think it was going from zero to sixty way too fast. I broke out around the jaw and cheeks, and my stomach was constantly gurgling. Not hot. I stopped everything and restarted, taking each supplement alone for a few weeks, seeing what changes occurred. But if you too want to begin a supplement journey, my advice is start with one and go from there. Ok – on with the show.

Zinc

Zinc is an all-around good supplement for supporting the immune system and regulating insulin. In terms of skin (all I care about – just kidding – but not really) it helps boost collagen product, whilst being an astringent, anti-inflammatory and a healer. Sounds great, right? It’s particularly useful for acne prone skin, which I’ll openly admit is me.

The tablets I took were fairly small and round, and very easy to gulp down. They don’t have a weird aftertaste or any ill effects (more on that later – suspense). And taken alone, I think these do help with redness and healing. As for collagen production, get back to me in twenty years?

Turmeric  

You may already know turmeric as that spice that stains everything bright yellow, but trust me, it is so much more. It’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for ages, to improve stomach ailments, boost blood circulation and heal wounds. All of this sounds ideal for irritated or acneic skin: a troubled stomach often shows on the skin, blood circulation can hasten healing and getting rid of wounds is basically anti-acne 101.

These tablets were quite odd – little plastic capsules filled with actual, real life turmeric. I don’t know what I was expecting, but not this. The bad part? They taste of turmeric too – not necessarily an unpleasant taste, but also not really the one you want first thing in the morning. I do think these helped digestion, but the skin effects went unnoticed by me.

Fish Oil

Fish oil is perhaps the most traditional supplement of all, having been prescribed by doctors for decades to improve heart health, boost memory and even increase sperm count. While that wasn’t of particular interest to me, there are supposed skincare benefits, too. Any oil naturally makes one think of moisturising, but fish oil taken orally also help with inflammation, healing acne and preventing wrinkles. Sign me up!

Except for one thing: taking these tablets was disgusting. Firstly, they are huge and for some reason bright red, and you have to take two or three a day. And, I’m really sorry to tell you this, but they taste like fish, and for the rest of the day you will have what can only be described as “fish burps.” I do think my skin looked nicely glowing and plump after a few weeks of these; however I’m just not sure it’s worth the consequences. Perhaps an option for a braver woman than I.

Calcium

Calcium, as we all know, is a major factor in bone strength. But it’s also important for strong and healthy skin, playing a role in cell renewal, antioxidant protection and lipid barrier function. Skin low in calcium with look dry, puckered and grey – not sexy.

These tablets were again inoffensive – smallish, white and easy to swallow. No taste-related after effects either, which I think we should all appreciate. However, for me, I’m just not sure how much a calcium supplement is necessary. My skin isn’t dry, and as yet not too wrinkly either. In fact, in spite of its many issues, calcium-wise I think my skin is doing ok. However, for a more mature, dry or sensitive skin type, calcium may well be worth looking into.

Magnesium

Magnesium is perhaps the wild card of the bunch – a little known, yet actually quite important little guy. And more than 80% of the population are deficient in it – which makes me confident that I definitely am. Magnesium helps digestion and heart health, while also helping balance hormones for healthier skin.

The downside? The infamous laxative effect. And I think I’ll just leave that there.

Probiotics  

As someone who has suffered on-and-off with what we’ll politely refer to as “stomach issues,” I’d long been curious about introducing probiotics into my arsenal. They essentially help with digestion and gut health, but also have vagina-benefits for those with that issue, and thus positive effects on hormonal and diet related acne.

The tablets are small and unassuming, like the tiny little screws that hold together your most useful piece of furniture. The immediate stomach-helping effect of these was wonderful. To put it simply: nothing was doing anything it shouldn’t. In terms of face benefit, I do think that my pimples were less frequent and less traumatic, but for me, the real benefits were … internal.

So, do you need to run out and buy loads of supplements? No. None of these had as dramatic an effect on my skin as actual targeted facial treatments, sleeping enough, drinking water or exercising. However, I also don’t think you should write supplements off entirely. Some of them did give noticeable results (at least, to me – someone who stares in the mirror for six to eight hours a day). But even if you don’t notice a skincare benefit, they will at least be doing something good for the old bod. And that has to count for something, right?

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Images: Health 24

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