Do skincare supplements work? How often should you consume them? Dr Siew Tuck Wah, medical director at Radium Medical Aesthetics, sheds some light on these oft-misunderstood products.
Are skincare supplements safe to consume?
How do I tell? “It is, unfortunately, almost impossible to ensure the safety of skincare supplements. The Health Sciences Authority does not require suppliers to seek approval before selling a particular product, so it’s best to stick to a brand with a proven safety track record, backed by scientific studies.”
Do they really work?
“Increasingly, research is showing that supplements provide multiple benefits to the skin by delivering therapeutic levels of active ingredients to all parts of the body. This is much more efficient than, say, a face cream, which only protects the area you apply it on and may not penetrate the deep dermis. On the other hand, skincare supplements are extremely effective for [countering signs of skin ageing] and protection against environmental damage from the inside out.”
Which ones are right for me?
“If you’re in your early 30s, pick [an anti-ageing one formulated to stimulate collagen production]. If you’re younger, pick supplements with antioxidant properties – these help protect against external stressors.”
I’m only in my late 20s – should I take skincare supplements?
“It’s never too early to start, because we start ageing from the moment we’re born. Our modern, hyperconnected world means we face more stress than ever – with increased inflammation in the body and accelerated ageing. I recommend [that you start taking] supplements in your late twenties – [which is typically when the first signs of ageing start to show, and] when our bodies are often overstressed from work and neglect.”
I have a pretty comprehensive skincare regime and I use sunscreen – do I still need skincare supplements?
“Topical skincare can penetrate the skin only to a limited extent. Skincare supplements, on the other hand, work from the inside out, targeting the deep dermis to regenerate collagen. Supplements also ensure that anti-ageing [benefits] are delivered to every inch of the body. These supplements work in synergy with topical skincare.”
How much should I take, and how often?
“Most supplements require you to consume them once or twice daily for at least three months to see good results. The exact dosage depends on the brand. Personally, I don’t like eating too many supplements as they’re expensive and can lead to confusion. It’s best to pick one with multiple effective active ingredients.”
Can I mix these skincare supplements with my regular vitamins?
“Yes, you can. However, if you’re on long-term medication, it’s important to check with your doctor on potential side effects before starting on the supplements. For example, evening primrose oil can make anti-epileptic drugs less effective.”