Can Supplements Really Improve Skin And Hair Health

Why Do You Need Hair And Skin Supplements?

Who says appearance is not so important? It is very important. After all, first impressions have already told the world some of your story when you walk into a meeting, or a social gathering. The confidence you exude comes from being well in mind and body. Feeling and looking good is a choice, a choice you do make, with your lifestyle.

We, as humans naturally choose to be healthy, but is it that simple ? Pressures of today’s times make it hard. Our basic needs of nutrition, a fair amount of exercise and adequate sleep are not easily available to us any more. I turned to Dr Rashmi Shetty to give us more insight into the topic.

Dr Rashmi Shetty is a celebrity dermatologist and an aesthetic medicine expert at RA Academy in Bombay, India. She is also the author of AGE ERASE, a very informative skin care book. You could check out her line of supplements for wellness and beauty here. 

How Do Lifestyle Choices Affect Skin And Hair?

Firstly, oxidation (and the resultant oxidative stress) is a necessary and an unavoidable process that goes on in our bodies every single minute. It causes free radicals, which are nothing but oxygen containing molecules, with an uneven number of electrons. This uneven number of electrons allows them to react with other molecules and cause chemical chain reactions, leading to inflammation.

Wrong lifestyle choices in food and drink, smoking, alcohol, excessive stress and unregulated exercise, inadequate sleep, environmental toxins and cosmetics only add to the increase of free radicals…sometimes exponentially. This is where disease and aging set in; loss of hair and damaged skin are then a natural fallout. Several other skin issues like acne, pigmentation, rosacea, dermatitis, wrinkles and fine lines can crop up.

What Is Oxidative Stress ?

Nature has endowed our bodies with a natural defense mechanism in the form of antioxidants. They are molecules that can donate an electron to a free radical without making themselves unstable. This in turn stabilizes the free radical, making it less reactive and thereby inflammation is thereby controlled.

Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. When there are more free radicals than there are antioxidants to keep them in check, they can damage fatty tissue, DNA and the proteins in our body. Cellular functions can get disrupted, leading to aging and cell death. When cells are on the decline, overall health, skin and hair go for a toss. This is where antioxidant supplementation becomes relevant.

Which Are The Most Important Antioxidants ?

Vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A and beta-carotene. Other antioxidants include coenzyme Q10, alpha-lipoic acid and other colorful bioflavonoids. All these work in synergy with one another to disarm free radicals in different areas of the body. They have specific roles and some of them even help regenerate other antioxidants like glutathione, which is extremely important for protecting cells, tissues and organs of the body.

Where To Obtain Antioxidants From ?

It is impossible to completely eradicate free radicals, as it is a perennial process in our bodies. But what we can do,  is keep them under check with wise lifestyle choices. Increase our levels of antioxidants by including them in our daily diet and through supplements.

‘Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day’. You have been told this often, right ? Yes, most antioxidants can be naturally availed from fruits, vegetables and some seafood but, here is the catch. Agricultural and technological advancements have given us an abundance of food, but at the cost of nutrition. Processed and genetically modified foods have given rise to obesity. Use of pesticides and chemicals add toxins to our bodies. Result – a spurt in free radicals and the resulting inflammation.

But, there is a way out. Thankfully, years of scientific research has yielded us nutritional supplements, which are abundant in antioxidants.

How Do Supplements Help ?

In a big way ! As mentioned in the earlier paragraphs, wrong lifestyle choices trigger inflammation. You could be eating all the good foods, yet may not get the required levels of nutrition due to depleted nutrients.

In a world where flat abs and sinewy shoulders are an obsession, most people over-exercise, thereby sparking an increase in free radicals. Athletes, marathoners and extremely fit celebrities have succumbed to chronic degenerative diseases, all because over-produced free radicals are silent killers.

Sun exposure and other environmental toxins add to the damage.

Genes also play an important role in declining skin and hair health.

Enter supplements! They provide nutrients like vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids or other nutritional substances that may be lacking in the foods we eat. For cells to function optimally, targeted cellular health nutrients are essential, but the layman may not be aware of how much. That leads to deficiencies, which in turn affects the trillions of cells in our bodies.

Supplements are formulated scientifically to overcome such deficiencies and keep one in the pink of health. Ideally, good hair and skin are expressions of a ‘healthy you’ inside. But that generalisation does not hold good always.

Skin and hair are constantly exposed to environmental pollution today. Plus, they are directly affected when there are nutritional deficiencies. Supplements can set the balance right by providing the requisite antioxidants and other nutrients in appropriate dosages.

They help optimise our own natural defense system. In medical parlance, they are called preventive medicine. Taking nutritional supplements is not about eradicating disease ; it is about promoting vibrant health, hair and skin.

Among many other health benefits, enhanced immune system and an antioxidant defence system are two of the most important. They are the two pillars of support for a healthy body. It is also the best way to regain lost health. But of course, you must couple it with a healthy lifestyle – no two ways about it.

Supplements are usually ingested in capsule, tablet or liquid form.

At What Age Can Supplements Be Taken?

  • No hard and fast rule.
  • The moment you start feeling sluggish, fatigued or sick for prolonged periods.
  • The moment your skin and hair issues manifest.
  • See your family physician to begin with.
  • Consult a dermatologist if you have hair and skin issues in any part of your body.

Coupled with supplements, a good skincare and haircare would do wonders to enhance beauty. I personally take a few supplements, of which White Pine Pycnogenol is one of them. It has a whole lot of benefits, from boosting collagen and elasticity to increasing Hyaluronic Acid levels. Also included are photo damage remedies and is even known to reduce pigmentation. This supplement has been prescribed by my dermatologist and that is pretty reassuring.

Another one is Tor Bright, an anti-aging and powder supplement that also keeps hair shiny and nails strong.

I also keep an AM and a PM skincare regime which consists of deep cleansing, face mist, serums, moisturizers and sunscreen. I would love to discuss skincare and if anyone is keen on doing so, we could start a chat or discussion.

Just a word before I sign off and that is : do choose your supplements in consultation with your dermatologist and family physician, especially if you have any health concerns.

Ciao !