The pursuit of youthful and healthy-looking skin has always been a priority for many individuals. While topical skincare products have long been the go-to solution, the role of nutraceuticals in skincare has gained significant attention in recent years. Nutraceuticals, which include bioactive peptides, plant polyphenols, vitamins, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, offer a promising strategy for preventing and minimizing premature skin aging and addressing various skin conditions. In this comprehensive review, we will explore the scientific evidence behind the efficacy of nutraceuticals in promoting skin health, their benefits, and the need for further research.
Understanding Skin Aging
The aging process affects the skin in various ways, leading to issues such as loss of elasticity, wrinkles, fine lines, loss of moisture, and discoloration. As we age, the performance of skin cells called fibroblasts deteriorates, resulting in reduced collagen synthesis and a loss of moisture. However, lifestyle choices and proper skincare can help minimize the signs of aging and maintain a smoother, more youthful appearance.
Collagen, elastin, and proteoglycans are essential molecules for maintaining skin elasticity and resistance. Collagen, in particular, provides the skin with its firm structure. While topical collagen is known for its temporary effects on wrinkle reduction, ingestible collagen offers a way to replenish the natural supply that depletes with age. Ingredients like VERISOL, comprised of natural collagen peptides, have been specifically developed to enhance collagen metabolism and improve skin elasticity from the inside.
Clinical studies have demonstrated the positive effects of VERISOL on skin elasticity and wrinkle reduction. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, women aged 35-55 who received VERISOL collagen peptides showed a statistically significant improvement in skin elasticity compared to the placebo group. The positive impact on skin elasticity was more pronounced in women aged 50 years and older. Another study verified the efficacy of VERISOL in reducing eye wrinkle volume, with significant improvement observed after supplementation.
Protection Against Sun Damage
One of the most significant threats to the skin is ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun. Sun exposure can lead to photoaging, immune dysfunction, inflammation, and even skin cancer. While sunscreen is essential, dietary supplements can offer additional support in protecting the skin from sun damage. Supplementation with ingredients like Lyc-O-Derm, derived from whole fruit tomato extract and carnosic acid, has been shown to enhance skin health, reduce UV-related skin damage, and protect DNA from photo-damage.
Studies have also suggested that topical creams alone may not offer sufficient protection against sun damage. Most people do not apply enough sunscreen, resulting in inadequate protection. By incorporating digestible skin care technology into the daily diet, individuals can reduce molecular markers of photo-aging, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Nutraceuticals like Lyc-O-Derm provide a dietary approach to UV absorption and intracellular control of oxidative stress, promoting whole-body, endogenous photo-protection.
Addressing Skin Conditions
In addition to combating aging and sun damage, nutraceuticals can also be beneficial in addressing various skin conditions. Psoriasis, an autoimmune disease, can significantly affect the quality of life for individuals. Studies have shown that Pycnogenol, a French maritime pine bark extract, can improve symptoms of psoriasis, including redness, skin hardening, and flaking. Supplementation with Pycnogenol has also been found to increase water content in the skin, reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, and decrease oxidative stress associated with inflammation.
Probiotics, known for their beneficial effects on gut health, have also shown promise in supporting skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis or eczema. Clinical trials have demonstrated that probiotic supplementation, such as Lacidofil, can reduce the severity of atopic dermatitis and improve quality of life indices in young patients. Probiotics have been found to decrease reliance on steroid creams and decrease the activation of certain T cells associated with AD.
The Market for Nutraceuticals in Skincare
While the potential of nutraceuticals in skincare is significant, the market for ingestible beauty products is still evolving. The concept of “beauty from within” has had its share of failures, but specific demographics show a strong interest in these products. Women, especially those who choose organic foods and drinks, are more likely to embrace the concept of functional ingredients for improving appearance. Consumers under the age of 45 also show a higher level of interest, indicating a growing market for nutraceuticals in skincare.
Innovative introductions in the market are playing to these consumer trends. Companies are developing products that combine topical and supplement systems to address specific skin concerns. These products often incorporate ingredients like bioactive peptides, probiotics, and plant polyphenols. Additionally, innovative delivery formats, such as confectionery-style supplements or fast-melting tablets, are gaining popularity due to their convenience and appeal to consumers with “pill fatigue.”
The Need for Further Research
While the scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of nutraceuticals in skincare is promising, more research is needed to establish a cause-effect relationship between ingredients and their benefits for the skin. The quality and rigor of clinical trials must be improved to build credible scientific evidence for nutraceuticals and gain widespread acceptance in the skincare industry. By conducting well-designed studies with robust protocols and statistical resolution, researchers can provide the necessary evidence to support the use of nutraceuticals for skin health.
Nutraceuticals offer an exciting and promising approach to skincare, providing a holistic solution to address signs of aging, sun damage, and various skin conditions. Ingredients like collagen peptides, plant polyphenols, and probiotics have shown significant potential in improving skin health and appearance. However, further research is needed to establish a stronger scientific foundation and build credibility within the industry. As consumers increasingly prioritize wellness and seek natural solutions, nutraceuticals are likely to play an increasingly important role in the future of skincare.