3 Supplements For Hair, Skin And Nails That Dermatologists Swear By

May 23, 2017 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | beauty

Supplements For Hair, Skin, And Nails That Dermatologists Swear By

The latest and great skincare products everyone wants to try aren't actually applies to your skin — they're supplements designed to nourish your skin, hair, and nails from the inside out. 


Supplements are rich in vitamins, nutrients, and fatty acids and some contain goodies like green tea and hyaluronic acid. But, with so many supplements on the market these days, how can you tell those that are effective from those that are merely fancy and exciting? You ask a dermatologist. These supplements for skin, hair, and nails have receive a dermatologist's stamp of approval. 

Polypodium Leucotomos

This oral supplement is a strong anti-oxidant derived from the fern plant, says Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills and clinical instructor at the University of Southern California. And, believe it or not, it can act as an "oral sunscreen" that can suppress sunburn and make it take longer to tan, letting you safely stay out in the sun for longer, Shainhouse says.


"It helps prevent both UVA and UVB-induced skin cell toxicity and direct DNA damage, and helps prevent the UV-induced free radical formation and subsequent DNA damage and collagen destruction," Shainhouse says. "It is anti-inflammatory and may help suppress skin cancer formation. It should be part of your daily sun safety routine, which includes sun-protective clothing and a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+."

Omega-3 And Flax Oil

Got brittle nails? Before you turn to creams, oils, and strengthening polishes. try two supplements that Dr. Robin Evans at Southern CT Dermatology says have anti-inflammatory properties and will ensure your flaky cuticles stay hydrated. 


“I have two favorites: a supplement rich in Omega 3 EFA's - either a great quality fish oil (a purified one clean of toxins like heavy metals, PCB's, mercury, etc.) due to its anti-inflammatory properties is great for overall skin function and appearance,” Evans says. “Also flax oil - taken as the oil or as a tablet because it is great for dry skin.”

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is great for skin, nails, and hair — one study suggests vitamin D can even create new hair follicles and help with hair loss. It's one of few supplements that Shainhouse says she recommends for aesthetic purposes and overall health and well being.


“Vitamin D is proven to help with bone-building and immune-boosting,” Shainhouse says. “However, it has also been demonstrated that women who have had non-melanoma skin cancer, and who consumed a vitamin D(400IU) plus calcium supplement daily, reduced their risk of developing melanoma. Other studies have shown that low dose vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risk of developing breast and colorectal cancers. True, the skin does make its own vitamin D in response to UV exposure. However, because UV causes skin damage and can cause skin cancer, it is safer to obtain the recommended daily dose of vitamin D through diet (fatty fish, dairy, egg yolks, beef liver) or supplementation.”

Diet Should Be The Priority

Some supplements are fantastic — as just that — supplements to an already healthy diet. Dr. Fayne Frey, a dermatologist and founder of says it's important to remember that there is very little science to actually back up the effectiveness of many supplements as skin, nails, and hair aids. 


“There are very few, if any, double blinded control studies that prove systemic supplementation of anything (including biotin) benefits skin, nails or hair,” Frey says. “Unless an individual is diagnosed with a particular deficiency, i.e. Vitamin D, or iron, there is little science that shows any supplementation has a direct benefit on health, including health of the skin.” 


Frey says the best recommendation for healthy skin still remains: a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep.


“What is good for one's health is good for the skin,” Frey says. “In addition, moisturizing twice a day with a quality moisturizer to increase hydration of the stratum corneum has been shown in numerous studies to mitigate against certain skin disorders like rosacea, atopic dermatitis, and possibly psoriasis. Also, the application of sunscreen has been shown to decrease the incidence of certain skin cancers.” 


Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.

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