• What are the key ingredients being used?

Oral collagen, probiotics, biotin and the B vitamins as well as vitamins C,D, E, K and the minerals selenium, zinc, and copper have all been actively promoted by skin care lines as oral supplements which help the skin to appear healthier and more youthful. In addition coenzyme Q10, DMAE, alpha-lipoic acid, and ……have also been promoted over the years as helpful nutricosmetics.

Carotenoids such as lycopene and lutein have been promoted in the past and now Zeaxanthin has become popular and has some double blind science behind it’s use as a preventative and maintenance aide for healthy, beautiful skin.

  • Are there relevant supporting studies?

There are relevant supporting studies for probiotics, as well as most of the individual supplements listed above. There are also supporting studies of combinations of supplements which aide in the development of younger-looking skin.

  • What can patients realistically expect to see for results and when? How do docs best manage expectations?

Doctors need to emphasize that nutricosmetics work together with a healthy diet, sun protection and avoidance of environmental pollutants, stress reduction, topical antioxidants, and other topicals to affect a more youthful, healthy appearance. One cannot expect to see results from nutricosmetics alone without approaching the problem from a holistic viewpoint.

  • What do doc need to know about this category of product that patients will come to ask them about?

Doctors need to know that the FDA or other licensing agencies do not monitor or regulate nutricosmetics. Un-substantiated claims abound and millions of dollars are being spent promoting the sale of these nutricosmetics . Also, the quality of the products varies tremendously by brand and often the list and dosing of ingredients on the outside of the bottle do not correlate with what is inside the bottle.

  • Should docs carry supplements in their office? Which ones and where to send patients to buy?

Of course whether doctors should carry supplements in their office is up to them…however, if doctors do already carry topical lines and sunscreens, nutricosmetics are a natural extension of these lines. It has been shown that topical together with oral supplements work synergistically, so lines that embrace the same ingredients in both types of formulations will be most helpful. I particularly like ZSS Skincare’s Radiant Skin line which does this and can be bought online.

  • Who are these right for?

Nutricosmetics are right for people who are otherwise generally healthy, and don’t have GI, liver or kidney problem They are also right for the type of patient who doesn’t overdo….too many supplements will either be eliminated from the body or toxic. Also, if a patient has developed melanoma or any type of internal cancer, additional supplements would not be recommended. Of course, a healthy balanced diet, and plenty of water are the starting points before nutricosmetics are added in.

  • What are the challenges that patients have with taking supplements (consistency, cost, visible results, etc)?

Challenges that pateints have with taking supplements include consistency, cost, visible results, and anticipated time frame for any results to actually take effect.

  • If you could only recommend 1, what would it be? ZSS Skincare’s Radiant Skin line.

Any thoughts you’d like to add? The AAD is slated to have a link on their website to nutricosmetics and other integrative approaches to dermatology problems, so look for this coming up in the near future.