My relationship with skin supplements has not been straightforward. I’ve gone from not even knowing my gut wasn’t working properly, to popping more capsules than my 87-year-old Gran. It’s been a journey.
Whilst I was unaware my gut health could have used some help, for say, a decade, I did notice immediately when it started affecting my skin. When my skin isn’t happy, it tells me, and usually quite aggressively in the form of breakouts.
The connection between the two is something we’re all educated on now, but when I was experiencing my first bout of acne in my late teens, it wasn’t my first thought when I saw a spot appear.
When I made my first trip to a dermatologist to tackle the problem, taking a probiotic of some kind was mentioned in passing, but it never went any deeper than this. I didn’t know what exactly I should be looking for or how much of it to take.
Back then, someone mentioned a supplement and you went straight to Holland & Barrett to grab the first bottle you could find. Now, we have so many more options, almost too many.
This was another mistake I made, going on a purge, and taking every supplement in sight. So much so, my pill box had to be upgraded to a larger size and packing to go on holiday became a marathon, rather than a sprint.
Both extremes aren’t ideal, especially when you consider the fact that both our skin and body’s health rely on consistency. Not to mention wasting your hard-earned cash.
So, in the last year or so, I gave myself the task of a skincare supplement audit (yes, I have too much free time on my hands). Like an elimination diet, I cut down on the number of capsules I was taking and introduced them to my diet one at a time for at least six weeks. Many supplements may show effects sooner, but I wanted to give everyone a fair trial.
My experiment found that I only needed two for my capsule supplement wardrobe that I legit couldn’t live without. By that I mean, as soon as my six-week trial ran out, I saw more monthly spots appearing and less of a radiant glow.
I’m sad to report that neither are featured in a Boots 3-for-2 supplements deal (sods law), but if it keeps my skin happy, who am I to argue with it? Let’s face it, I’d never win that argument anyway.
If, like me, your top priority is keeping breakouts at bay and regulating your gut, I cannot rave about HUM Nutritions Skin Squad, £44, enough. I’ve been through twelve bottles of this stuff and if I have so much as a two week break from a tub, my breakouts double as a result. Suffice to say, these supplements are clearly non-negotiable for my skin.
They’re not only vegan – which is quite a rarity in the supplements department – but they also contain both probiotics and prebiotics. You might recognise both and know they are good for your gut, but they play slightly different roles.
While probiotics are live bacteria that can often be found in gut-friendly foods and vitamins, prebiotics come from carbs. We actually can’t digest prebiotics, which basically means the bacteria in our gut has to eat it, which in turn, keeps our digestive system ticking. Science lesson, over.
It’s worth noting that while I don’t have active acne anymore, I do still experience recurring monthly spots, which were few and far between and more manageable, thanks to these. Originally, the fact that they helped my gut, too, was just a welcomed bonus, but I haven’t found a supplement since that has it working quite as well as these. Coincidence? I think not.
I then got around to trying Revive Collagen’s Enhanced Plus Supplement Sachets, £39.99 for 22 sachets, and have been hooked ever since. I’d always thought collagen supplements were gimmicky, until my most recent birthday, where I was irrationally panicking about my natural stock of the stuff. It was very much a re-enactment of that Friends episode with Joey screaming, “why, God, why? We had a deal. Let the others grow old, not me”, and similar theatrics.
Although my discovery of these came from an overly dramatic moment, I’m glad it happened. I've been using these sachets for about six months now and they've given my skin more of a glow than I had ever seen, plus my hair was looking healthier than ever before.
They’re not the cheapest collagen supplements out there, but they do contain more of the holy grail ingredient than most other versions on the market – 10,000mg of collagen gold to be precise. Without naming names, I did find that’s double the amount that many of the bestsellers on Boots have (you didn’t hear it from me). They also feature vitamins C, D, B6 and B12 – crossing a lot of vital vitamins off of your checklist.
Possibly even more importantly, they don’t taste repulsive. I’ve either wanted to gag whilst taking collagen in liquid form or tried to mix a powder format in with my water and found it gritty to drink. Kind of like when you don’t have a spoon handy to mix your sugar into your tea. Not ideal.
These do taste artificially fruity, but it’s not too much. Plus, the liquid dissolves into water seamlessly, so you don’t have to shot a lump of the stuff at the bottom. So, you can reserve your questionable shotting skills for tequila.
My one and only gripe is the sachet format seems a bit wasteful, but I honestly can't think of a solution for this either. Maybe a bottle format? Who knows.
I know, neither of these two are cheap. But in cutting down on all the excess supplements I was taking to find what worked for me, I was making some considerable savings – quality over quantity etc. Especially if it means you don’t have to spend so much on an array of skincare products or treatments to treat breakouts. Well, that’s how I justify it anyway.
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