A healthy diet and good skincare regimen can take you pretty far when it comes to keeping your skin beautiful. But we could all use a little help here and there, and supplements are an easy way to support your already (mostly) healthy habits. Because no one can live on green juice and do an at-home facial every day, here are 11 supplements that can help your skin stay glowing and healthy. Make sure to check with a health practitioner before you start taking any new supplements—especially if you already take prescriptions, OTC drugs or vitamins (or if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant)—to make sure it’s OK to add into your daily routine.
1. Evening Primrose Oil or Black Currant Seed Oil
Both contain the essential fatty acid Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), which is anti-inflammatory and promotes healthy skin cell growth. As Dr. Weil cautions, these can take 6 to 8 weeks to start seeing results—so stick with it!
2. Fern Extract
Polypodium Leucotomos Extract (PLE) is derived from a tropical fern grown in Central and South America. It has antioxidant and photo protective properties that protect skin from UV rays, sun damage and discoloration.
Buy it: LifeExtension Enhanced FernBlock
3. Fish Oil
The idea of downing fish oil every day might seem weird (and what’s with those gigantic gel caps?), but it’s worth it: omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA—either of which (or sometimes both) are found in fish oil—support collagen production, which helps fill in any lines on your face. They also help reduce symptoms of rosacea and eczema, regulate your skin’s moisture balance and improve the overall appearance of your skin.
Buy it: OmegaBoost Fish Oil
The root of this shrub, native to Southeastern Asia, has started to get attention recently for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which are proving particularly effective against acne (even severe cases). It’s been used in Ayurveda for ages to relieve stress and support all skin types—not just acne-prone. In addition to skin benefits, ashwagandha reduces anxiety and normalizes blood sugar, and it’s being studied for possible cancer-fighting benefits.
Buy it: Organic India Ashwagandha
5. Vitamin A
Have you ever noticed that your skin looks so much better after you drink a carrot juice or do a pumpkin face mask, especially if you have oily skin? That’s because, similar to retinoids, which are derived from vitamin A (and are applied topically—and can cause skin irritation or increased sensitivity to sun), when taken internally vitamin A reduces sebum production and maintains protective tissue. It’s often used by people with acne, psoriasis or eczema. Definitely don’t take a vitamin A supplement if you’re pregnant though, as it’s been linked to birth defects—and make sure to check in with a practitioner about your dosage because overdoing it can be dangerous.
6. Vitamin D
Between the ages of 20 and 70, your body loses 75% of its ability to create vitamin D. And this vitamin is crucial to epidermis cell replenishment, repair and metabolism (which keeps your skin’s moisture locked in and supports its immunity), and can minimize acne and dark spots. We depend on sunlight for much of our vitamin D intake, so if you live in a climate where sunlight is inconsistent or minimal, it’s probably worth looking in to a vitamin D supplement.
Buy it: NatureWise Vitamin D 5,000 IU
In 2013, Turkish researchers found that people with acne tend to have lower zinc levels than those without, and studies have shown that the mineral is almost as effective as antibiotics in killing acne bacteria. It reduces the inflammatory response in acne-prone skin, and it’s a powerful antioxidant. Look for zinc picolinate and zinc methionine, which are more easily absorbed by the body. High doses of zinc can cause stomach cramping and digestive upset, so check in with a practitioner about your dosage if you want to start taking zinc.
Buy it: Source Naturals OptiZinc
8. Vitamin C
We all know that vitamin C can help protect us from colds, but its antioxidant properties are great for skin, too. It offers protection from free radicals and creates collagen, supports cell strength, and combats wrinkles, spots and dullness.
9. Vitamin E
Another antioxidant, vitamin E is anti-inflammatory, and important to healthy cell turnover and UV protection. Studies have shown that vitamin E protects better when it’s combined with vitamin C, and subjects who took both had lower amounts of DNA damage after UV exposure.
Buy it: Twinlab Super-E Complex
This amino acid (which is a natural component of cartilage) can help minimize fine lines, accelerate wound healing, improve skin hydration and decrease wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. You might even find your need for a moisturizer decreases as you take it!
Also known as coenzyme Q, CoQ10 is produced naturally in the body; it helps neutralize free radicals and keep cells in tip-top shape, while supporting collagen and elastin production. We produce less of it as we age or experience stress, so our cells are less able to withstand free radicals and we start to look older. If you have crow’s feet around your eyes, a CoQ10 supplement can help minimize those lines.
Buy it: NOW Foods CoQ10
What beauty supplements do you swear by?