Inner Beauty: 8 Supplements for Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails

image: Getty

image: Getty

SupplementsPortraitKaty Perry recently shared a picture of herself holding up an apothecary’s worth of pills separated into bags labeled “Upon Rising”, “Breakfast” and “Dinner”. The pop star—who tweeted, “I’m all about that supplement & vitamin LYFE!”—may be going a little overboard, but she’s not alone in the search for a miracle pill, that bottled fountain of youth that’s guaranteed to make your skin glow, your hair shine and leave you untouched by the hands of time. While that certainly doesn’t exist, we’ve snooped around and uncovered eight supplements that promise to boost your natural beauty from within by promoting healthy growth of hair, skin and nails. Of course, the best way to get your vitamins is through a varied diet rich in nutrients, but if your doc OKs it and you’re ready to try beauty in pill form, check out these super beauty supplements.


What it is: Vitamin H (one of the B complex vitamins)

What it does: Biotin is the all-around favorite supplement for healthy nails. If you’ve finally kicked a biting habit but still can’t grow out your daggers to manicure-worthy length, consider taking biotin, which is necessary for cell growth and the production of fatty acids. Studies have shown that it improves brittle, flaking or prone-to-breaking nails, and might even help with thinning hair.

Fern Extract

What it is: An extract derived from the Polypodium aureum plant.

What it does: You might look at your mom’s potted fern differently when you hear that scientists are working on fern extract as an aid to sunscreen to protect your skin against UV damage. We all know that the sun is Public Enemy #1 when it comes to skin aging, and studies are showing that fern extract has anti-aging benefits because it can help the skin protect itself from the damaging effects of UV exposure. Besides that, it’s anti-inflammatory and can stimulate the production of collagen, which we all want more of. What’s more, you know it’s probably good when native populations have been using it as herbal medicine for centuries.


What it is: Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidus, the live bacteria that naturally populate the gut.

What it does: You’ve probably heard of the benefits of taking probiotics for digestive health, but evidence is emerging to suggest that the microbes in your belly are linked to the development of acne, and that building up your internal flora with healthy probiotics can help fight blemishes and save you money on concealer. Plus, probiotics can help alleviate bloating and get you bikini-ready.


What it is: A synthetic version of coQ10, a well-known antioxidant

What it does: This powerful antioxidant has been shown to rejuvenate skin, decreasing roughness and reduce wrinkles and fine lines in studies. It’s been called the “ultimate anti-aging pill” because of its power to fight free radicals which age the cells. This potent punch is also available in cream form.


What it is: Gamma Linolenic Acid.

What it does: You’re probably sick of hearing about how you should be getting enough Omega 3’s in your diet… well GLA is yet another fatty acid that we’re told is essential to health and beauty, but the difference is that it can be hard to obtain through diet alone. Since not getting enough fatty acids is one of the causes of skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and rosacea, taking GLA can help clear your skin of rashes and irritation. When you get enough GLA, it’s shown that skin does not lose as much moisture and wrinkles are prevented. Try black currant oil, evening primrose oil and borage oil as supplementary sources of GLA.


What it is: Silicon dioxide—no, not that kind of silicon.

What it does: Collagen is made up of silica, and our bodies’ natural decline in silicon production as we get older is one of the most noticeable side effects of aging. Silica is helpful because it stimulates our cells to make more collagen and can aid in repairing connective tissue (hello, yoga class).


What it is: An elemental metal essential for health.

What it does: Men aren’t the only ones who worry about hair loss. If you’re seeing more hair going down the shower drain than usual, you may have iron deficiency. You don’t have to be anemic to have low iron levels, but luckily boosting the iron in your diet is easy—try eating more red meat, legumes and leafy vegetables (or taking iron supplements) and you may be doing some shampoo commercial-worthy hair shaking in no time.

Vitamin E

What it is: A fat-soluble antioxidant found in many plant oils.

What it does: So you picked at a zit and it scarred—Vitamin E is shown to help repair scar tissue and get you back to smooth skin faster. The vitamin also internally protects skin and hair from environmental damage (you know who you are, flat-ironers) and can even alleviate signs of tiredness. Now that’s beautiful.