Nutricosmetics: Does it really work?
Michela Marra | Friday June 15th 2018
Even the famous philosopher Feuerbach once said: we are what we eat. A rather apodictic affirmation, but the truth is that food has an enormous influence on our health, wellbeing and skin. Tamu and Roki experimented with an alcohol free diet to detox their bodies and even I took out of my diet all things that are absolutely not necessary like hard liquor, sweets and fried food. The result, besides a slight loss of weight, I noticed immediately my skin: less oily, brighter, less tired looking, and softer. Based on my experience, I can say that I am definitely convinced that healthy nutrition and a correct diet, adjusted to my lifestyle and my bodies’ needs, (so not at all improvised) can make a difference on the health of my skin.
In fact this is the basics of nutricosmetics, a new branch of medicine and anti-ageing cosmetology that has been popular in recent years. The basic concept of nutricosmetics is to optimize the assumption of nutritional microelements to satisfy your skin’s needs, improving its condition and delaying ageing.
Ultimately supporters of this trend are convinced that it is not enough using the right creams to improve the quality of your skin but the solution is to take specific food supplements. Whether it is capsules or a drink, one thing is for clear: they are aimed at preserving the integrity of cells from the signs of aging. For this reason, nutricosmetics really should have that extra little something guaranteeing, along with a rigorous skincare, better and longer lasting results for our bodies.
Is this too good to be true? Is it just the next marketing strategy that companies are trying to push on us to sell new products? You are right to have doubts and need more clarification, just like Wired laid out for us. The market of nutricosmetics is increasingly growing, especially in China and Japan, where they are always on it about new beauty trends. It is notably rising in industrialized countries where the average age of the population is increasing and where the holistic approach to skincare is becoming widespread.
We see it in our daily life: we are demanding and paying more attention to the ingredients and formulation of the products we use (as seen in the latest survey of beauty trends in 2018 ran by the research company Mintel) We are also aware that an amazing anti-age treatment is just not enough to have long-lasting and visible results. To be really comfortable with our skin, we need a 360 degrees plan modifying, if necessary, our lifestyle. Basically, we are looking fro concrete and effective solutions.
This new lifestyle approach is gaining followers amongst my inner circle as well as the gurus of the beauty industry – in our recent interview with April Gargiulo, founder of Vintner’s Daughter, she said, “As much as products play an important part in skin, its diet, movement and spiritually that can really move the dial in terms of skin health.”
Other than taking a closer look at our lifestyle, what other solutions can improve the health of our skin, and what should they contain? Ingredients such as collagen, CoQ10, lycopene, lutein, green tea and aloe vera are generally used in products that are in tune with the nutricosmetics philosophy, because they are key elements that guarantee our body valid protection against aging and the damage of solar radiation.
One of the most famous initiatives in this sector is the supplement Innéov Fermeté, a collaboration between the chemistry giants Nestlé and L’Oreal. The selling point of this particular product is that it promises compact skin. It’s main ingredient, lycopene, promoted as the enhancer of beauty and skin health.
The examples are not lacking: in China – showing that this trend is truly global – a well-known brand of drinking yogurt has enriched its product with collagen protein and Vitamin C, which perform as antioxidants on the skin. In addition to skincare – where ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and collagen are well-known and heavily used for some time now – even the world of food is aiming for that extra mix of ingredients characterized by tangible benefits on the skin.
I recently found myself dipping a toe in the Nutricosmetics world for the first time with a new food product. It was a thin and small chocolate bar, with the same calories of a cookie that should be consumed every morning for 30 days. It is meant to give you glowing and compact skin, thanks to the antioxidant booster and anti-free radicals that is found in dark chocolate (which to me is way more delicious than a drinkable yogurt!). It may have been psychosomatic, but I did notice an improvement in my skin (also it was a period when I wasn’t my happiest and the chocolate did not hurt my mood).
If Nutricosmetics is something you might like to try for yourself, here are some products that you could easily add to your daily beauty routine (together with superficial creams and serums for your skin).
Formulated for those who desire healthy hair and nails and want to combat the first signs of ageing, this contains a unique complex of collagen and active proteins that nourish you inside, for a healthier and younger visible exterior.
A probiotic elixir formulated to contribute and increase the production of collagen and improve the quality of skin, this product contains a mix of concentrated organically certified Maqui berries, papaya, blueberries, Goji berries, pomegranate power, grape extract, zinc and Vitamin C. The power of these ingredients has been improved with a flora and culture fermentation process that makes the nutrients more bioavailable and easier to absorb by your body’s cells.
Another collagen supplement to integrate in your beauty diet, this does not contain gluten or preservatives.
Containing hyaluronic acid and plant extracts, this is optimal for both the skin and for the functionality of the connective tissue.
This keratin-based supplement improves the health of your nails and hair. Daily consumption should reduce the presence of wrinkles and fine lines thanks to the complex of zinc and copper, which promotes compactness and elasticity, and reduces redness in sensitive skin.
Vitamin C has a lot of functions, but its principal property is innate in its antioxidant power. This supplement contains bioflavonoids to optimize the action of the Vitamin C.
I am sure at this point you all are wondering if it makes sense to change your diet by taking daily supplements. I wouldn’t call myself a diehard follower of Nutricosmetics, but after hearing all the evidence, I am sold… with a caveat: supplements should be consumed regularly, or else there is no way to really see visible results. In the scientific world, many say that there is no solid basis to demonstrate the effectiveness of these products. Just as Wired reported, the results are based on simple laboratory tests in which control groups with an adequate number of participants are not involved. Some attentive observers noticed a secondary aspect, that most of the supplements are made up of substances that are already present in our skin (for example hyaluronic acid and collagen) and that there is not sufficient studies that demonstrate how much they are able to stimulate the production of the same said substances and a cellular level. The companies, however, see it a bit differently: certain internal research demonstrates that if taken orally, the substances reach the intestines to then be absorbed into your blood in the form of peptides and amino acids, and with your blood circulation, they are delivered all over your body to reach the derma, where they perform their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions.
When still in doubt, the first step is to start with a balanced diet; pay close attention to what you put on our plate. It is always best to choose “beauty food” that help maintain our skin’s youth. This means all foods rich in vitamins, carotenoids and flavonoids should be eaten freely – fresh fruit and vegetables, dark chocolate (in small quantities) and green tea. Green tea and other food rich in selenium, such as cereal, shield the damage caused by excessive sun exposure.
To improve the appearance of the skin, it is also important to protect the digestive system. And how should we do that? With probiotics (natural probiotics are present in whole milk yogurt, ricotta, sauerkraut, and pickles), soluble fibers, (that you would find in cereal, vegetables and legumes) insoluble fibers (dried fruit) and finally with aloe vera. Omega 3 fatty acids are also optimal for your skin (found in fish, but also in walnuts, green leafy vegetables, algae and legumes). You should limit your consumption of sugar, fats and industrial-made food, serious enemies to your skin.
Stress is also an enemy of skin, but seeing as how sometimes it is impossible to avoid it (an intense work week, an upcoming deadline, or even a breakup), the only solution is to follow a balanced diet, and if necessary using the right supplements (maybe suggested by a pharmacist or doctor). I have decided to adopt this strategy. What is your strategy? What do you do to keep your skin healthy?
Credit ph: Instagram @andreagentl, David LaChapelle, Best Health Magazine