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Beauty supplements are the worst type of scam because they prey on your inability to read and research on your own while simultaneously using a lot of false science. Supplement providers make the biggest claims about how their pills/shakes/powders/etc. will vastly improve your skin—usually in about 30-60 days—with little to no evidence to back these claims. Unfortunately, the supplement industry is the result of vague regulations and really great marketing. What this means is that beauty supplement companies use a lot of rhetoric to avoid actual results (or repercussions for the lack thereof). The small studies that do exist around collagen and skin improvement have only been lab-tested on animals (most notably, pigs). I’ve noticed a few beauty supplement companies popping up lately offering a miracle answer to everyone’s skin care concerns and I’m debunking them below.

Drinking Collagen Does Not Boost Collagen

This was probably one of the most-hyped nutricosmetics trends in 2017. While collagen as a daily supplement has been shown to help with muscle and connective tissue development in the elderly, there are very little studies that show taking a collagen beauty supplement can help with your skin. Why is this? When you ingest collagen, it is broken down into amino acids in the GI tract. Amino acids fortify the building blocks to great skin BUT that’s not all they’re good for. Our body uses amino acids for a variety of different things and our skin happens to be a low priority to our internal system. Basically, when amino acids are derived into the body—and if they are in a form that can be broken down by your bloodstream—they get distributed throughout the body based on which area needs them the most. Your brain, heart, and other major muscles are more likely to get the benefits of ingesting collagen before your skin does.

So how can you boost collagen? Retinoids are the only proven way to kick your collagen production up a notch. Outside of Vitamin A use, many skin care treatments are about protecting collagen in the skin. This means being vigilant about sunscreen and keeping the skin moisturized.

Beauty Supplements Can’t Fight Acne

If you’re looking to fight acne “naturally”, beauty supplements aren’t going to help. I see many Fairy Glow Children get their hopes and dreams caught up in taking B3, Zinc, and Vitamin A orally since so many of the acne-preventing products include these in their formulations. There are tons of clinical studies showing the benefits of these vitamins when applied topically. But the jury is still out on the effectiveness of these vitamins in fighting acne when taken orally. The top cosmetics cop, Paula Begoun of Paula’s Choice cosmetics, states that because these vitamins are “water-soluble, any that your body doesn’t use right away is quickly excreted. So taking extra amounts – that is, more than provided by a healthy, balanced diet – via supplements doesn’t make much sense”. Taking Zinc and Vitamin A as an oral beauty supplement also poses a potential health risk. In order to see a minimal effect from these beauty supplements, you would have to take them in high doses which aren’t recommended because they can be harmful to your health.

The best way to get your acne to act right would be to use appropriate cleansers and serums to help fight and control breakouts.

So should I buy beauty supplements?

The answer is: only if you’re deficient in the main vitamin they provide. The only way to know that would be by visiting your doctor. Do not journey into the shady world of beauty supplements on your own without your doctor’s consent. Remember: supplements are not regulated by the FDA and they don’t guarantee you much of anything.

Have you been scammed? Know of a burgeoning skin care scam you want to make the public aware of? Let me know in the comments below!