"Topical application of skincare provides a localised effect, while a [supplement] absorbs systemically in the body, so you see overall benefits," says Priceline pharmacist Jeyda Shiaxiates. Think your multi-vitamin is doing a similar job? Think again. This new breed of supplement is formulation with often higher levels of skin-boosting vitamins and minerals and often boasts superfoods and gut-supporting probiotics, making them specifically geared towards achieving outer glow.
Where once our reliance was solely on our creams and serums, today we're thinking more holistically. Thanks to a preoccupation with our social feeds and an ever-present mobile phone camera we now want our skin to look crystal clear at all times, even sans makeup on the beach. But the odds are stacked against us. Living in an urban environment steeped in stress, pollution, sugar-laden food and chemicals, many of us are left with skin that feels inflamed, sensitised, sluggish and lethargic.
"If you eat processed food, drink alcohol, are stressed, or live in a polluted city environment, it would be wise to boost your diet with nutrient-dense supplements to help support the stress on the body," says Carla Oates, founder of The Beauty Chef.
"We used to believe the old adage, 'you are what you eat'; now we take it one step further by stating 'you are what you absorb'," says WelleCo nutritionist, Dr Simone Laubscher. "Applying topical [skincare] only treats the superficial layer of the skin. The skin is the largest organ of the body... it needs to be nurtured from the inside."
Considering that may beauty supplement brands are founded by clear-skinned women we admire - Elle Macpherson, who founded alkalising supplement range WelleCo; Miranda Kerr with her Kora Noni Glow powder (based on a superfood the model has taken since she was 13 years old); and A-lister nutritionist Carla Oates, who practically kicked off the internal beauty trends with her probiotic rich range The Beauty Chef - it's no wonder a 360 degree way of caring for skin is catching on.
Get Your Vitamins
"No nutrient is an island, which is why it's important to...get the whole spectrum [in your diet]," says Oates. "A deficiency in B vitamins or essential fatty acids, for example, can cause dry, flaky skin. Vitamin A is very important to promote skin renewal and vitamin C boosts collagen synthesis."
So are we missing a trick if we're not swigging down a supplement? "It's not just the food we eat but the quality of [nutrient] absorption," says Dr Laubscher. "Taking high-quality plant-based supplement daily means regardless of what is happening in your daily life, you're absorbing the essential nutrients needed for long-term health."
The fact is, it's not easy to eat like a saint 24/7, dodge every chemical or avoid breathing polluted city air, so if you want to cover all your complexion bases, a skin supplement may just help boost your skin's defences against an often-toxic urban environment. "I love that before many women have even thought about putting on their moisturiser in the morning, they have already whipped up a kale, coconut and Beauty Chef Glow smoothie," says Oates of her original glow booster. Bottoms up.
An extended version of this article originally appeared in the July 2018 issue of marie claire.