Nutricosmetics: Your Skin Says, "As Within, So Without"
There are a bunch of new kids on the beauty block, and they are starting to generate some buzz amid the growing “beauty from the inside out” trend. They’re called nutricosmetics. Ok cosmetic products we understand – creams, makeup, etc. But where does the word nutricosmetics come from and what does it mean?
Research shows that several factors can impact on the health and appearance of skin, hair, and nails. Stress, nutrition, and the external environment can lead to imbalances in key biological systems, including in the microbiome. Nutricosmetics attempts to re-balance these systems through ingesting natural ingredients and formulation of products that target these key pathways.
The concept of nutricosmetics (basically “nutrition cosmetics”) is absorption orally (instead of topically) of active ingredients – mineral and nutrient supplements aimed at improving skin and hair health. They are concentrated, natural supplements which nourish the body internally to bring out our natural beauty – from within.
The beauty model of previous generations, wittily characterized by Billy Crystal on a Saturday Night Live skit satirizing movie celebrities of the past - “It is better to look good than to feel good,” has been replaced by “Feel well, be well, look beautiful.” That speaks to the heart of the nutricosmetics industry.
Topical treatments like moisturizing creams, gels, and serums for the most part can act only on the outer skin layer. Topical skincare products have little effect beyond the superficial skin layers given that they are not allowed to get through. Enter, the benefit of nutricosmetics.
Nutricosmetics have been sold in Asia and Europe for some time. The concept of a total body approach to beauty is a large part of Ayurveda (The traditional Hindu system of medicine, based on the idea of balance in bodily systems using diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.) Now it appears to be a growing trend in the US, as we gain more knowledge of the effects of what we’re putting into our bodies and how we look like on the outside.
While eating a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, and in general living a healthy lifestyle is the key to inner and outer beauty, nutricosmetics may provide the nutrients required to boost skin cell renewal rates and protect skin from environmental stressors that cause premature aging. As we age, the skin’s natural defense systems slow down as well as the ability to renew healthy skin cells.
Nutricosmetics offers deep, focused action for skin wellness by providing nutrition for cells. For example, stimulating natural collagen production through ingestion of powdered collagen drink beverages or in capsule form is widely recognized these days and collagen supplements are readily available. Unlike a topical cream or treatment, nutricosmetics work from the inside and show up on the outside. That means patience – the results take time. Skin cells renew every three to five weeks (aging slows the renewal process) so typical changes in skin appearance might not be visible until after four to eight weeks of use.
Do your research before you try any supplement. Look for quality ingredients, and ones that have some science behind them, that is, they’ve been extensively researched specifically as approved oral supplements for skin health. Some examples are green tea (EGCG,) resveratrol, grapeseed extract, milk thistle, alpha lipoic acid, probiotics, omega 3 essential fatty acids, lycopene, astaxanthin, vitamins C and E, and marine hydrolyzed collagen.
Nutricosmetics won’t replace your skincare products regimen – you still need quality products specific to your skin condition – but they can complement and boost the results of topical treatment. So, dive in – and drink your way to beautiful skin!