Ingestible Beauty: Hip or Hype?

Ingestible beauty is one of the biggest beauty trends of 2021 but what is it all about and is it something you need in your life?

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"Supporting skin health from the inside has long-term benefits."

Ingestible beauty or edible beauty has been talked about a lot in 2021 but is this beauty trend just another fad or is it worth taking note of?

There are many types of ingestible beauty items but at the core, it is simply products that we consume in order to make our skin look better.

These can range from oral moisturisers to powders and supplements.

You may have heard of ingestible collagen as one of the most popular forms of edible beauty. With skincare routines being time-consuming, is this the answer?

Who wouldn’t drink an elixir that promised to give us glowing skin and maybe even smooth out some wrinkles? It’s certainly easier than slathering ourselves in different lotions.

With any beauty trend, it’s important to know the ins and outs of it.

Here we understand the concept of ingestible beauty and the types you can try to decide for yourself.

What is Ingestible Beauty?

Ingestible Beauty: Hip or Hype?

Interestingly, a thing to note about ingestible beauty is that it has been around for a lot longer than you may think.

The practice of ingesting vitamins and supplements that target beauty and wellness dates back 3000 years to India’s traditional ayurvedic practices.

The meaning was that whatever we put into our bodies would have a direct impact on not only our health but our skin. Certain ingredients could lead you to glowing, radiant skin.

Essentially it is the ‘you are what you eat’ motto and the concept has continued over the years.

Ingestible beauty products make you look good externally and make you feel good internally.

We have always heard that our diet has a huge impact on the way our skin looks. Too much salty and fatty food will cause you more breakouts. Fruit and vegetables will prevent spots and blemishes.

Now the beauty industry has gone a step forward with the consumption of powders, dusts and supplements that ‘target’ specific problem areas.

We can ingest something to fight wrinkles, diminish blemishes or give us that smooth skin we only see in Snapchat filters.

There are so many products on the market to choose from so let’s have a look at some ingredients and the specific benefits they can have.

Benefits of Ingestible Beauty

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In addition, ingestible beauty can come in many forms and with many different ingredients.

The effects range from building your immunity and making your skin glow to anti-ageing.

One of the most famous types is collagen powder which can be drunk by mixing into smoothies or juice. Dr Kiran Sethi who is the owner and founder of Isya Aesthetics in Delhi said about the effects:

“Ingredients such as n-acetyl cysteine, polypodium leucotomos and, of course, collagen, help do this.

“There are also oral moisturisers known as ceramosides.

“Derived from wheat protein, although many are gluten-free, ceramosides has been shown to help replenish ceramides in the skin, which help strengthen the skin barrier.

“Basically forming the mortar in the brick wall of skin cells.

“When you are ceramide rich, your skin will be more supple, healthier and more moisturised because your skin can keep moisture in better, leading to healthier and younger skin.”

Furthermore, Dr DM Mahajan is a senior consultant of dermatology in Delhi and he is an advocate for ingestible beauty.

He recommends a variety of vitamins and ingredients that all have specific benefits.

Omega 3 is essential for skin cell health and is most commonly found in fish. Not only can it help give you clear, hydrated skin but it can also promote hair growth.

Also, Vitamin E is great for keeping your hair healthy as it creates antioxidants.

Glisodin with lycopene has anti-ageing effects and Vitamin K2 can help fight wrinkles. Dr Mahajan said:

“Skin is the largest and most exposed part of the body. Anything that happens to it directly impacts the immune system.

“Because its main function is protection from microorganisms, ultraviolet rays and other such antibodies, it becomes imperative that we understand the skin’s needs.

“Taking these pills is time-saving and hassle-free. Results are seen in just a few weeks.”

He also recommends Vitamin C and resveratrol for fighting skin infections. Other ingredients that improve collagen are Vitamin E, sea buckthorn and hydraulic acid.

Akshay Pai is the founder and CEO of the health supplements company Nutrova and believes that the nutrients we ingest are essential to our skin and hair cells.

To ensure these cells grow and are healthy we must consume the right ones. He stated:

“We carried out a first-of-its-kind clinical study on the effect of a drink containing collagen peptides on the skin health of Indian women.

“The study showed dramatic improvements to skin health.

“The body of data supporting the effects of nutrition on skin and hair health continues to grow, setting a strong foundation for ingestible beauty.”

Other types of ingredients include nettle leaf. Found in skin purifying teas, it can provide relief to inflamed skin and also helps maintain a healthy digestive system.

In addition, red algae are often touted as being beneficial for promoting elasticity, moisture and smoothness in the skin. It also helps to naturally produce collagen.

Should you Try it?

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Ingestible beauty certainly seems like it has many benefits and is easy to find in products and vitamins that are readily available.

However, like with any other trend, it may not be all that it is hyped up to be.

Dr Adarsh Vijay Mudgil is the medical director of Mudgil Dermatology and he is not a believer:

“I don’t really think there’s a certain supplement that’s really going to do anything for the skin.

“There’s really no special pill that’s going to make your skin be radiant.”

He isn’t the only one as nutritionist Maya Feller said the inside-out glow starts with you being aware of what is going on inside your gut. She reported:

“I don’t actually recommend supplements to my patients unless there’s something specific that we’re working on.

“If you’re drinking water and you’re eating well, your body’s working properly, right? You’re not creating inflammation.”

The ingestible beauty market is worth over $100 million just in the USA and it’s apparent the lure of beautiful skin in the form of a pill is not going anywhere.

Most skincare experts suggest using ingestible beauty products alongside your normal routine. You should still moisturise and stay out of the sun if you want your skin to look good, for example.

Dermatologist Dr Phil Tong is wary of some of the false promises made by products:

“There’s not enough science and not enough evidence and literature attached to this industry.

“So, as a consumer, it’s very easy to be misled or swayed by glitzy marketing and hype.”

“There is early evidence of potential benefits of ingestible collagen products on the skin but the jury is out and more work and more research need to be done.”

It is clear that dermatologists and skincare experts can see certain benefits but are wary of suggesting that ingestible beauty is the way forward.

If you have a healthy diet it is likely you are already getting all the necessary vitamins you need.

Moreover, many believe that beauty supplements are actually just rebranded multivitamins.

Couple these with celebrity endorsements and it’s easy to see why this new trend has taken off the way it has.

Dr Anjali Mahto is a dermatologist who sums it up by saying:

“I think you can get those nutrients from a balanced diet and that there are better things to spend your money on from a beauty standpoint.

“Such as a retinol, sunscreen and alpha-hydroxy acids.”

Whether you are for or against ingestible beauty it’s clear it’s not going anywhere soon.

The variety of gummies, pills, powders and vitamins available will dominate the beauty world for years to come.

For some, these are magical potions and for others, they are additions to a healthy diet and thorough skincare routine. You may look at the science or rely on the results, you see for yourself.

Either way, ingestible beauty gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘beauty comes from within.’

Dal is a Journalism graduate who loves sports, travelling, Bollywood and fitness. Her favourite quote is, “I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying,” by Michael Jordan.

Images courtesy of Allure & Facebook.