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Beauty from Within

by Liz Robins
Collagen Supplements

There’s more to healthy skin, hair and nails than the products you slather on. What you put in your body also plays a crucial role. 

The best beauty supplements complement a nutritious diet to help you achieve and maintain glowing skin, strong nails and lustrous locks from the inside out. Here are some of our current favorites.

Collagen Supplements

Collagen is a protein essential to the structure of skin, hair, nails, bones, ligaments and more in the body. Levels of collagen decline with age, so our skin starts to lose its plumpness and wrinkles begin to show. Alas, hair and nail health diminishes, too.

Collagen products designed to help improve skin texture and elasticity, among other health benefits, are everywhere these days. If you opt for one, keep in mind that ingested collagen doesn’t directly get incorporated into the body as collagen; it simply provides the building blocks (amino acids) the body needs to make its own. Be sure to choose a product labeled ‘hydrolyzed’ for maximum absorption.

If you’re looking for a bovine collagen product, seek out one derived from grass-fed cows. Marine collagen is a good option for pescetarians–just make sure it comes from sustainably sourced wild fish. One high-quality choice is Nordic Naturals Wild Caught Norwegian Cod Marine Collagen, an easy-to-absorb, strawberry-flavored powder that also contains acerola-fruit-derived vitamin C to boost collagen formation and antioxidant support.


Vegetarian Collagen Promoters

Thanks to the popularity of plant-based diets, vegan and vegetarian supplements abound. Vegan, gluten-free Garden of Life mykind Organic Plant Collagen Builder contains pomegranate to support skin health and protect against UV damage, along with the collagen-building mineral silica, the B vitamin biotin and other whole-food ingredients to support the body’s production of collagen, keratin and elastin. Like collagen, keratin (which strengthens nails and lends hair its strength, body, elasticity and thickness) and elastin (which allows your skin to stretch and bounce back) levels decline with age.

Flora offers three products that work in concert to enhance collagen production and overall skin health. FloraSil contains easily absorbed silica (essential for collagen production) and over 30 trace minerals from the horsetail plant. Vitamin C is also needed for collagen production and maintenance, and the brand’s Acerola Powder provides 14 times more per serving than an orange. Flora Beyond Grape Seed delivers antioxidants to ward off free-radical damage and helps recycle Vitamin C.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EFAs)

We all need essential fatty acids (EFAs) from our diet due to their wide range of important functions in the body – including their role in skin health. EFAs form healthy cell membranes in the skin and help keep skin hydrated by forming a protective barrier. As anti-inflammatories, they may even offer some protection against UV skin damage. (Don’t ditch the sunscreen, though.)

Most Americans take in plenty of omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3s. Some of the best omega-3 sources include fatty, cold-water fish, but if you don’t eat at least two servings a week you might consider a supplement with DHA and EPA, the two most beneficial omega-3s. One to try is Carlson EcoSmart DHA, a skin-health enhancer made from the oil of highly sustainable wild calamari in soft-gel form. 

A vegan option is Barlean’s Seriously Delicious Essential Woman Omega-3s, designed to promote healthy hair, skin and nails as well as hormonal balance. It’s made with flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil and plant phytonutrients and is rich in beneficial omega 3s, 6s and 9s in a highly absorbable form. One of these is gamma-linolenic Acid (GLA), which has been studied for supporting hormone balance and enhanced skin tone, elasticity and moisture. The creamy texture and chocolate-mint flavor make this elixir appealing on its own or in a smoothie – something you can’t say about your daily moisturizer. 

More Beauty Boosters

Swisse Wellness Hair Skin Nails Liquid

Antioxidant-rich Sicilian Blood Orange extract teams up with collagen-building silica and skin-supporting vitamin C in this tasty tonic to promote glossy hair, radiant skin and strong, healthy nails. 

Om Beauty

This monk-fruit-sweetened mushroom powder features varieties renowned for their antioxidant, anti-aging and UV-protective effects. High-quality marine collagen, Vitamin E and biotin lend their own beauty benefits.

Natural Factors BioSil Hair, Skin, Nails

Silicon and choline in this vegetarian formula may help restore more youthful levels of collagen, keratin and elastin. In published clinical trials, BioSil contributed to thicker and stronger hair, improved skin elasticity, reduced wrinkles and stronger nails.

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