If you haven’t purchased a beauty supplement yet, there’s a good chance you’ve seen an advertisement for one. Thanks to the support of celebrities, influencers and social media marketing, the demand for vitamins for hair, skin and nails has exploded. In 2016, the industry was worth $ 3.5 billion, according to a report by Goldstein Research; by the end of 2024, it is expected to be valued at $ 6.8 billion.
But will a pill bottle filled with fruit powder or gummy candy, over time, provide a radiant complexion, shiny strands, and invincible nails? It sounds too good to be true, and some experts say it could be.
There is a lack of standardized dosage and regulation in beauty supplements, and these products are not tracked by a centralized database or repository. In reality, a 2020 study examined this lack of regulation by investigating seven stores within a three-mile radius, finding 176 separate supplements containing 225 distinct ingredients, including “vitamins, minerals, food extracts, herbal medicines, animal products ( collagen, fish oils), amino acids, hormone, and distinct microbial strains. “These findings raised concerns about the lack of knowledge about the long-term effectiveness of beauty supplements as well as the ‘overdose’ of nutrients, because if you’re not lacking in a vitamin or mineral, taking more could cause more harm than good.
“The doses in many supplements are many multiples beyond the recommended daily amount,” explains Ranella Hirsch, MD, certified dermatologist and co-founder of Atolla Skin Laboratory. If you are missing a particular vitamin, which a doctor should confirm with blood tests, Dr. Hirsch says, supplementing it may be beneficial for you. But the reality is that the need is rare, and “most dermatology supplements are loaded with ingredients for which there is no evidence to prove their effectiveness,” says Dr. Hirsch.
Alicia Zalka, MD, certified dermatologist and founder of Deep Surface, uses supplements in her practice because she has seen improvement in patients with special needs. “But if the skin, hair and nails are improving, is it because of the supplements or some other positive change? Hard to say, ”she said. In addition, she still has under promises in terms of results.
While some vitamins (such as biotin) may helps hair growth and others (like zinc) may improving skin, loading these claims into a single bottle can be confusing, which is why it’s important to understand which vitamins, if any, are linked to specific benefits for hair, skin, and nails. Here is a breakdown of the most popular beauty supplements and their claims.