Nutraceuticals: The New Way to Anti-Aging

By Doris Day, MD

If increased stress, a less than optimal diet, and lack of exercise describes you at least some of the time, the result could be an increased toll on your skin and how you age. It’s also true that for most people having the proper skin care routine and diet alone may not be enough to manage all the underlying factors that are aging your skin.

Over the years, the links between diet and overall health have become increasingly evident. It’s now considered an undisputable fact that the right diet can have positive effects on your appearance and enhance the benefits of what you use on your skin. Today, the market for beauty-boosting foods, drinks, and supplements, beyond just healthy foods, has blossomed; and the benefits, which they can deliver has meant that the line between diet and beauty has never been more blurred. It has also led to the advancement of functional foods.

More and more, ingestible products claiming to have a positive effect on appearance have become available. Increasingly, formulations have claimed to address particular problems related to not only the skin, but also hair and nails. These ingestible beauty products (also known as nutricosmetics) are nutraceuticals (or foods offering medicinal benefits) specifically targeted to the skin and your overall appearance and are split into the below three sub-categories:

Oral Beauty Supplements
These are vitamins, minerals, and supplements that claim to improve personal appearance. They are the most “medicinal” part of the market and appeal to those who want to adopt a daily dosing approach to their beauty treatment.

Beauty Foods
Berries and Acai bowls are now readily available at most health food stores and bodegas.

Beauty Drinks
Green drinks and smoothies packed with antioxidant mixtures of every color found in nature.

Thinking you might need a nutraceutical to help turn back the clock? The best way to start is with the basics. We know that eating a healthy balanced diet is great for your skin, with study after study showing that a Mediterranean diet high in olive oil, almonds, walnuts, fish, and vegetables lowers your risk of skin cancer and skin aging from exposure to the sun. We also know that exercise is great for every organ, including your skin; it improves circulation and even helps with mood. Finally, we know that nothing replaces the need for sleep. There’s no pill or food that will make up for the damage done from lack of sleep and the effects on your skin. If you look tired because you are tired, give yourself a sleep makeover and feel the joy of rejuvenation after a solid night’s sleep.

Now you know the basics, plus the reminder to use sunscreen every day all year round. The next step is finding the right nutraceutical to assist your body in the aging process.

It’s important to understand that nutricosmetics are meant to enhance your regular beauty and health routine—not replace it. While I’m always doing research to find the best products, here are my picks on favorites for hair and skin.

Nutrafol contains standardized botanicals that work to rebalance the stress and androgen (male) hormones naturally, neutralize free radicals, and combat inflammatory molecules that are making your hair age and thin out. By targeting stress and other triggers implicated in thinning, it works to return hair growth cycles back to a balanced state.

Most people see a reduction of hair loss within 90 days and signs of improvement in hair quality and new hair growth within 3-to-6 months.

Warning: If you’re taking anticoagulant medications consult your doctor, as several herbs within the formulation naturally thin the blood such as curcumin (turmeric), tocotrienols, and saw palmetto.

There are also other beneficial ingredients including vitamin D and marine extracts known to have beneficial effects on growing hair. There are versions for both men and women with slightly different ingredients targeting the different needs and causes of hair loss for each.

GliSODin is a professional nutricosmetics line developed to deliver targeted skin benefits and also maximize the benefits of cosmetic procedures.

It consists of patented technology that contains a bioactive form of superoxide dismutase (SOD) derived from the French melon cucumis melo.

It works to activate internal antioxidant defenses; each SOD neutralizes one million free radicals, fighting oxidative stress and inflammation. The result is that it promotes the production of the body’s natural antioxidants, supports skin health against UV damage, and helps maintain cellular health and protect against damage caused by oxidative stress.

Each of these product manufacturers have clinical data to back their claims and are continuing to do clinical trials in support of their products. As a scientist and physician, it’s important to me to review evidence-based data in considering any product.

Here’s to beautiful, healthy skin from inside and out!

Dr. Day, a dermatologist, is affiliated with NYU Langone Hospital.