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Why you could be ingesting—not slathering on—your best beauty product


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If you could slurp down a magic potion that’s said to give you a glowing complexion, chances are you would in a heartbeat (I know I would). While that may have sounded like pure fantasy or Harry Potter sorcery a few years ago, as of late, it’s actually a reality.

In addition to shifting towards a skin-friendly diet mindset (in a nutshell: Sugar and dairy are bad, fruits and vegetables are good), the last couple of years have seen a massive rise in ingestible products hitting the beauty shelves to provide an added dose of inside-out glow. I’m talking about, essentially, beauty potions in the form of powders, dusts, and supplements that you actually drink for better skin.

“There is a whole realm of dermatology we take care of with just ingestibles,” says herbalist Mona Dan of Vie Healing. “These treat deep-rooted issues from persistent acne to eczema to chronic autoimmune flare-ups—the list goes on. The basis behind it is using herbs or adaptogens—what they do is they penetrate at the blood level, and when your blood’s nourished and taken care of, it then generates the proper cells that recreate your skin level.”

“There is a whole realm of dermatology we take care of with just ingestibles.” —Mona Dan, Vie Healing

If you’re familiar with the ingestible world, you’ve probably seen the ingredient umbrella term adaptogen time and time again pasted on the front of some of the prettiest bottles. “Adaptogens help your body and your nervous system adapt to the environment around you better,” explains Dan. She notes that the best herbal formulations are the ones that offer a balance of warming (like ginger) and cooling (like peony or peppermint) elements to help balance things out internally, which will in turn show itself on your skin.

To be clear, not everyone is totally on board with the idea that ingestibles hold the magical answer to glowing skin. “I don’t really think there’s a certain supplement that’s really going to do anything for the skin,” says Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, medical director of Mudgil Dermatology, PC. “There’s really no special pill that’s going to make your skin be radiant.”

Nutritionist Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN of Maya Feller Nutrition echoes these sentiments, noting that an inside-out glow starts with a healthy diet and awareness about what’s going on within your gut. “I don’t actually recommend supplements to my patients unless there’s something specific that we’re working on,” she says. “If you’re drinking water and you’re eating well, your body’s working properly, right? You’re not creating inflammation.”

Still, though, there’s a reason why so many members of the wellness set—including many of our Well+Good editors—swear by the drinkable beauty treats that have made their way into their routines: For a lot of us, they really do work (I, personally, am partial to Moon Juice‘s offerings). “Two and a half weeks after I began my skin-care supplement regimen, I started noticing fewer new blemishes popping up, and that even during my periods, my skin was less and less affected,” writes W+G staffer Erin Flynn. “By the time I reached the 10-week mark, my roommate was marveling at my next-level glow (“You have doll skin,” were her exact words), and I found myself believing for the first time that maybe having face-wash-commercial dewey skin might actually be a possibility for me after all.”

So the jury’s out on whether beauty potions are a fast-track to a glowy complexion—but, after some sipping, you may just notice that your skin’s looking extra radiant.

Thinking about dipping your toes into the world of inside-out beauty? Here are some glow-boosting potions to help get you started.

Can’t figure out which one’s for you? Take this quiz to figure out the best supplement for your particular skin concerns. And while you’re at it, check out these healthy skincare swaps to help take your entire routine au natural. 

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