It might have taken several years for nutritional supplements to penetrate the beauty industry, but the skincare game has radically changed, and trying out new topical products is not the priority anymore. But, what exactly are nutricosmetics? As explained by experts, the term is derived from “nutrition” and “cosmetic”, and is based on the concept of absorbing active ingredients, minerals, and nutrients orally, rather than topically, in order to enhance the skin’s nutrition in detail. 

As ingesting nutrients or active ingredients is a new addition to the beauty routine, the global nutricosmetics market has experienced massive growth in the past few years. “Nutricosmetics enhance the external appearance of the skin by working from the inside out. They also boost immunity, slow down ageing among a host of other benefits, thereby enabling one to have a healthy and active lifestyle,” explains Mansi Vyas, founder of Azafran Organics, a new organic beauty, health, wellness, and lifestyle brand.

Dr. Harshna Bijlani, medical head of The AgeLess Clinic and celebrity skin expert, explains, “Nutricosmetics are the supplements that we take to help our skin from within. It is essential to provide your body with the necessary vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, collagen, proteins and so on to have healthy, good-looking skin on the outside.” 

 “Now more than ever, there is a focus on acquiring healthy skin. The world is completely shifting. Therefore, nutricosmetics right now are very important,” adds Dr Rashmi Shetty, celebrity dermatologist and founder of Ra Skin and Aesthetics in Mumbai and Reva Health & Skin Hyderabad.

So do these tablets actually work? Bijlani explains that taking these supplements isn’t just about skin, but they’re also good for the body. “Having said that, I do not recommend self-diagnosing. Check with your doctor, do your blood tests, and then take the supplements that your body actually needs. Certain vitamins are water soluble so those aren’t an issue but if you’re taking supplements that are not water soluble, you could be causing a build-up within your system, and excess of anything is not good,” she says.

Doctors explain that everything in your body reflects on your skin. Most consumers say that they intake great amounts of nutrients in their food, but there are certain gaps that cannot be filled with just the food that is consumed. “Even if you put it in a perfect plate, you might not absorb it correctly,” Dr. Shetty says.

There are various studies that back the consumption of nutricosmetics like vitamin C, A, E, B3 (niacinamide), H (biotin), zinc, and so on. Now, there are studies to prove the efficacy of oral collagen when it comes to anti-ageing properties. As a result, there has been more widespread awareness, as well as demand for these nutricosmetics has increased. “Supplements like hyaluronic acid, marine collagen, vitamin C, etc., are safe to use for most people, so if you want to start using these, you could talk to your doctor, or start slowly incorporating them into your daily routine,” opines Dr Bijlani

The future of nutricosmetics is bright, thanks to the promotion and awareness created by brands across the world. Dr. Shetty explains, “Some supplements like collagen and hyaluronic acid tablets bring back the hydration to the skin. When skin is dehydrated, essential fatty acids and amino acids are essential to hold the water back into the skin. Nutricosmetics is science based, and it is here to stay.”

Men and women have different needs, the Recommended Dietary Allowance, or RDA for men and women tend to be different as per gender, age, and lifestyle, among other things. So, it’s advisable to understand what your needs are, and then create a routine of nutricosmetics around it. Men generally need a higher amount of dosage as compared to women, and need to consume higher quantities of minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and protein, whereas women need higher quantities of iron due to their menstrual cycles, and during times like pregnancy and nursing, their needs would vary further. Supplements and nutricosmetics for men and women are formulated differently, keeping these needs in mind. “Summing up, while certain antioxidants can be common for men and women, certain other ingredients are often different. Hence, I would recommend doing your homework before starting any new supplements,” says Dr. Bijlani, when asked about men’s approach towards these supplements. 

AyurVridhi’s founder & CEO, Jaivardhan Agarwal, says that men are actually a ripe target for the nutricosmetic industry since they’re more inclined towards taking supplements for skin, hair, and nail care instead of applying products for the same. “Since the pandemic started, people have realised the need of supplements in everyday diet as well. The future of supplements is Ayurveda, with a blend of modern technology infused with vitamins,” he adds.

Vishal Shethi from Mumbai explains that he has been taking beauty supplements such as Biotin Cherry and Salmon Omega-3. He says, “I researched ways to improve my overall health. That’s where I got to know about these nutritional supplements, and I have been using them for the past three years. I had a lot of hairfall, which has reduced a lot thanks to these supplements.”

The nutricosmetic routine can be easily inculcated in everyday life with little effort, and it’s worth the effort too. This is now the reality — cosmetics are not applied on the skin anymore, they can be eaten too