Whether you’re looking for skincare supplements for acne or sensitive skin or to reduce wrinkles, these are the best, according to experts
If it feels as though you’re applying endless creams and serums to your face yet still struggling with your skin, it could be time to tackle the issue from the inside with a skincare supplement.
Your skin is a hungry organ, says Lorraine Perretta, head of nutrition for supplement experts Advanced Nutrition Programme. “Unlike topical products, supplements target all layers of the skin. Our body creates 200 million skin cells per hour and it is essential to feed our largest organ with the nutrients it needs to create super healthy skin from the inside out."
Just like your serums and moisturisers, skin supplements target specific complexion needs, whether that's acne, sensitivity, redness or volume loss.
How long do skin supplements take to work?
Lorraine says three months is the time frame in which she'd expect to see results, in line with the average rate of skin turnover - the rate at which dead skin cells shed and are replaced with new cells.
Like any new habit, patience and consistency are key. Adds pharmacist and founder of microbiome skincare brand Gallinée, Dr Marie Drago: "Actives and products created by the supplements need to pass the intestinal barrier in sufficient amounts and find their way to the skin, which can take a while."
Which one is right for you? These are the supplements your skin will thank you for.
Skin supplements for acne-prone skin: fish oils, probiotics and zinc
Omega 3 is a powerful supplement for acne-prone skin because it can calm inflammation, which lies behind common inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema , acne and psoriasis , says pharmacist Shabir Daya of online pharmacy Victoria Health . “Fish oils are also good for protecting the skin from general ageing since inflammation in the body is the most widely accepted theory of ageing of the body, including skin,” he says.
There is no recommended daily amount of omega 3, but the NHS advises one to two portions of oily fish per week, or a 500mg supplement per day.
As well as being a powerful immune support, zinc helps heal wounds and lessen acne scars. Pre- and probiotics, meanwhile, are part of the new science of the gut-skin connection and can help combat sensitivity, strengthen the skin barrier and crowd out acne-causing bad bacteria.
Try: Beauty Pie Biomega 3,members pay £16.36, typical price £40 for 120 soft gels
Good for both your skin and the ocean, this uses fish sourced from Friends of the Sea certified fisheries to support sustainability. The fish oil helps manage inflammation and reduce acne scars, plus omega 3 has a whole host of other bodily benefits including immunity support. "The fats in omega 3 are an important part of our cell membrane, making up the outer layer that surrounds each cell. This influences what comes in and out and acts as an important signaller to immune response," says registered nutritionist Charlotte Faure Green. New to Beauty Pie? Use our code GTGSENTME for £10 off an annual membership.
Try: Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Clear Biome, £19.99 for 40 capsules
These skin-clearing supplements are packed with probiotics that support gut health and in turn, help to maintain skin health. They contain zinc too which helps our skin heal, helping to lessen acne scars as well as regulate oil production.
Try: 111 Skin Clarity Beauty Dose, £97.95 for 90 capsules
We've included two supplements by 111 Skin in our edit, and though they are pricey, we've seen clear results from both. Brand founder, renowned plastic surgeon Yannis Alexandrides put his years of expertise into these supplements, designed to fortify and clarify the skin. They were created to calm and clarify blemish-prone skin, with microflora to support a healthy gut which in turn makes breakouts less likely.
They boost the gut good bacteria to help keep skin clear, plus there's MSM is in the mix too to reduce inflammation, as well as vitamin C to brighten and zinc to regulate oil. My skin was noticeably clearer and when spots did rear their head, especially due to mask-wearing, they went down again quickly.
For volume loss: vitamin C and collagen
We all know that topical vitamin C is the antioxidant your skin can’t do without (it keeps your complexion looking bright and fades dark spots, among other powers) but did you know it’s also a godsend in the supplement world too? “Vitamin C supplements are essential for collagen production, helping to reduce the appearance of visible lines and wrinkles,” says Kay Ali, nutritionist for Beauty Pie.
Kay recommends a minimum dose of 200mg of vitamin C per serving per day.
Collagen supplements are another skin-plumping hero to have in your arsenal. Kay recommends type 1 hydrolysed marine collagen as it’s the most easily absorbed due to its smaller molecular weight. She says 10g a day is the most effective dose to see results.
Try: Altrient Liposomal Vitamin C, £44.50 for 30 sachets
This vitamin C supplement comes in gel form, although, unlike sports gels, it's a little hard to swallow neat. It's advised to add it to a shot of water; while this will help to swill it down, it won't mix because this is a liposomal (made of fats) form of the vitamin. However, liposomal vitamin C is the most bioavailable, meaning that our bodies can use it more easily. Beauty expert Alice Hart Davis, founder of The Tweakments Guide , took these gels for three months and at the end of the period had a 22.8 per cent increase in collagen.
Try: Bare Biology Skinful Pure Marine Collagen Powder, £29.75 for 60 servings
This ultra-fine powder is my preferred way to take collagen. It dissolves easily into your water so you don't even notice you're taking it. It's presenter and ex- Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts' collagen of choice too .
For proven collagen skin repair in pill form, we're getting great results from the new Ingenious Active – see below.
Supplement for skin barrier support: vitamin D3
According to Kay, vitamin D3 is essential for supporting the health of the epidermis, that’s the thin, outer layer that's our first line of defence.
“Supplementing with vitamin D3 can help sensitive skin types with compromised skin barrier function,” she says. It helps to form the skin barrier and protects the skin from infection too, by creating an immune response that kick starts the skin’s defences. The UK government advises 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.
Try: Beauty Pie Like Sun D3 with K2, members pay £12.79, typical price £40 for 90 soft gels
This vegan vitamin D3 supplement is easy to swallow in a squishy soft gel and is combined with vitamin K2 , which helps keep bones strong for an extra bonus benefit. It has the recommended dose of 10 micrograms of vitamin D in per day in too.
Supplements to plump and hydrate skin and reduce wrinkles: hyaluronic acid
Everyone we know uses hyaluronic acid in their skincare routine to hydrate and plump their skin, but taking the ingredient in capsule form could be a far more efficient way to give your complexion the drink it needs, according to supplement brand Wellgard.
They carried out clinical trials comparing supplemented HA compared to topical, which revealed that supplements are more effective than a regular hyaluronic acid serum at boosting hydration, reducing wrinkle depth and increasing the skin's elasticity. "This is due to the high daily dose of 300mg and much small molecular size," Wellgard says. Smaller molecular HA is able to penetrate the skin better and thus is more effective in restoring moisture.
Try: Wellgard Hyalacid Hyaluronic Acid Capsules, £16.99 for 30 capsules
You probably have a hyaluronic acid serum or mosituriser as a staple in your skincare routine for its ability to hold on to water and plump up skin. However, it can be a tricksy topical as its molecular size can be too large to go deep. Taking hyaluronic acid (HA) as a food supplement, on the other hand, can tackle the issue from the inside.
A review published in Nutrition Journal showed that HA was an effective ingestible moisturiser for people with dry skin and could improve their quality of life. What's more, in a 12-week double-blind placebo-controlled trial on the effect of 120mg of daily HA on wrinkles, it improved skin hydration, elasticity roughness by 37, 26 and 30 per cent respectively and reduced wrinkle depth by nearly 40 per cent.
These vegan capsules deliver a higher dose (300mg) dose of hyaluronic acid at a much smaller molecule size than those in the study (50 – 3000 daltons as opposed to 2-300k) for a hydrating boost to the skin that can lubricate joints too.
Try: Ingenious Active, £65 for 100 capsules
Brand new for 2022 comes this supercharged version of Ingenious original Ultimate Collagen+ and really we could have put this in any of the skin concern categories as it's a multi-tasker with added power for post-workout recovery too. On the skin front, as per the original, there is encapsulated hydrolysed low molecular weight marine collagen, hyaluronic acid and astaxanthin , but now with the addition of collagen co-factors zinc and vitamin C, the antioxidant vitamin E and energising ginseng. Take four on an empty stomach first thing.
Supplements for sensitive skin and eczema: probiotics
Probiotics are the main powerhouses to support sensitive skin, explains Marie Drago, who homed in on the exact bacteria needed to feed atopic and eczema-prone skin when formulating her Gallinée Skin and Microbiome supplement, below, alongside prebiotics such as inulin to feed the good bacteria.
“Lactobacillus helveticus is a good one to look out for,” she says. “It’s a friendly bacteria known to help lower the signs of eczema.”
Lactobacillus casei helps regulate inflammation, while lactobacillus rhamnosus is known for the prevention of eczema and atopic skin conditions, while and lactobacillus paracasei, a good bacteria which helps reduce sensitivity, soften the skin and reduce water loss, she says.
Try: Gallinée Skin and Microbiome Supplements, £30 for 30 capsules
These eczema-soothing sachets were a finalist in our Get The Gloss 2021 Beauty and Wellness Awards in the Wellness from Within category, judged by Dr Sophie Shotter. They include vitamins B2, B3, B7, E and zinc, all known to help maintain healthy skin, moisturising it from the inside out when topical creams aren't enough.
Skin supplement to brighten dull skin: Fibre
Fibre is key to glowing skin , stopping your complexion from becoming dull, feeding your gut microbes to ease inflammation and helping your body to absorb skin-loving nutrients. The World Health Organisation and the NHS recommend 30g of fibre per day, but we need 50g to eliminate inflammation, which can cause inflammatory conditions such as acne and rosacea, says Marie Drago.
This apple-flavoured powder by The Beauty Chef supports gut health and in turn, helps maintain healthy skin thanks to inulin, a prebiotic fibre that balances the gut and resistant starch, which feeds and balances gut bugs. We love it because it's one of the few green powders that's tasty and therefore keeps us coming back.
For general skin health: vitamin A and MSM (sulphur)
If you have the topical vitamin A in your skincare routine in the form of retinoids , you’ll be familiar with its ability to improve texture, fine lines and tone. Adding an oral vitamin A to your regime is equally beneficial, with all skin types able to reap the rewards, says Lorraine. Vitamin A occurs naturally in the skin but is broken down quickly by factors including sun exposure, so ensuring a plentiful supply is important, she explains.
“Vitamin A supports the health normal function of skin cells, meaning collagen formation, sebum production, cell turnover and melanin production happen in a healthy way,” she says.
MSM is skincare brand Oskia's hero ingredient, as well as being found in 111Skin's doctor formulations and for good reason. A natural form of sulfur, it helps with skin conditions such s acne, eczema and psoriasis, as well as soothing sensitive and problematic skin. Plus it helps keep skin healthy and strong to tackle premature ageing and skin damage.
Try: Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Kit A+, £23 for 60 capsules
These capsules include both vitamins A and D to help look after your skin and encourage cell renewal for a brighter complexion. If you don't like swallowing pills, these are good as you only need to take one per day.
Try: 111 Skin Reparative Beauty Dose, £95 for 90 capsules
Pricey, yes, but these do have the knowledge of renowned cosmetic surgeon Dr Yannis Alexandrides in every capsule. I took these back in May 2020 (I'm still saving up for another jar!) and my skin was smoother than ever before and blemishes had been repairing faster than I'd ever known. I’m normally plagued by the redness left behind by spots for weeks on end but when I was taking these, marks disappeared within a few days.
They’re brimming with a cell energising combo of vitamin A, C and E to maintain skin’s health and vitality, as well as coenzyme Q10 to support cell function.
Try: Oskia MSM Bio-Plus, £66 for 120 capsules
This MSM supplement works to support collagen, keratin and glutathione (the body's master antioxidant) production to help with your skin health, reducing fine line and pigmentation as well as taking down acne.