Inner Glow

Support your best skin, hair, and nail health with these supplements

We all want natural glowing skin, strong nails, and shiny, full-bodied hair—and if you enjoy a healthy lifestyle you may already notice that you look (and feel) your best when you eat a rainbow of colors, stay hydrated, and sleep well. Supplements can help you glow too. Supplements nourish your body at the cellular level to promote skin, hair, and nail health from the inside out.

The skin is the body’s largest organ, whose primary function is to act as a barrier, protecting us from environmental assaults such as pollution, UV radiation, pathogens, etc., and to help with detoxification. Like all parts of the body, the skin (as well as the hair and nails) is dependent on nutrients for optimal function.

Whether you have specific skin, hair, or nail issues, or just want an extra boost, here are some of the top supplements that can help.

Top Supplements for Healthier Skin, Hair, & Nails


Collagen is the primary protein in skin that provides strength and structure, keeping it smooth, firm, and helps it retain moisture. Our bodies naturally produce collagen (when given the proper nutrients to do so), but production slows as we age. Additionally, our diets contain much less of this vital building block compared to our ancestors’ diets, so supplementation becomes necessary for healthy skin, hair, nails, joints, and even bones, which also contain collagen.

One placebo-controlled study found that women who regularly took collagen peptides—a form that is easy for the body to digest and may be a good choice for those with digestive issues—could see a visible reduction in wrinkles. One hundred and fourteen women were randomized to either receive 2.5 g of bioactive collagen or placebo daily for eight weeks. After four and eight weeks of follow up, the women taking collagen saw a significant decrease in eye wrinkles, as well as a significant increase in both procollagen (the precursor to collagen) and elastin in their skin. A positive long-lasting effect was seen four weeks after the treatment was stopped.1

Another study of 69 women aged 35 to 55 found that taking a collagen supplement (2.5g-5g daily) improved skin elasticity in just four weeks. Some of the women also experienced a positive effect on skin moisture.2

Collagen comes in many forms, including pills, powders, and chews. (Note: Collagen is not a complete protein and therefore will not count towards the Daily Value on a label. It should not be used as the sole source of protein in the diet.) Vegetarians and vegans can look for collagen precursor blends that typically contain a combination of vitamins, herbs, and amino acids to support collagen production.

Vitamin C

Healthy skin requires large amounts of vitamin C, which is essential for making collagen, maintaining healthy cell growth, and for providing oxidative protection to skin cells. This antioxidant vitamin concentrates in the skin and research has found that those with aged and sun-damaged skin have diminished vitamin C levels in the epidermis. A number of studies have shown that supplementation with vitamin C improves resistance to UV damage (especially when combined with vitamin E); reduces wrinkle depth; increases collagen production; and improves roughness and dryness. A vitamin-C rich diet has also been found to decrease oxidative damage caused by things like UV exposure and smoking, including decreasing wrinkles, sagginess, and hyperpigmentation.3 4 5 Studies have used between 500 mg to 2,000 mg daily of vitamin C.6 Topical solutions of vitamin C at concentrations of at least 10 percent have also proven effective.


An outright deficiency of biotin is rare, but the first signs that you may not be getting enough of this B vitamin include thinning hair, skin rashes, and/or brittle nails. Biotin supports the production of keratin, a protein required to maintain healthy hair and nails,7 and it may be particularly helpful for dry, brittle nails. Two small studies found that people with brittle nails who took a biotin supplement daily for several months saw an increase in the thickness of their nails by 25 percent. Splitting of the nails was also reduced.8 9 The daily recommended intake for biotin in adults is 30 mcg.10

Astaxanthin and Lutein

Astaxanthin and lutein are carotenoid antioxidants that seem to be particularly effective at protecting human skin against photodamage. One study found that astaxanthin “exhibited a pronounced photoprotective effect” on human skin cells exposed to moderate UVA radiation, preventing cell death, reducing levels of damaging free radicals, and increasing antioxidant activity. The researchers also observed that there was a preferential uptake of astaxanthin by fibroblasts, cells that make collagen.11 Human studies have shown that 6 mg of astaxanthin daily for eight weeks improved “crow’s feet” (wrinkles around the eyes), hyperpigmentation (i.e., age spots), elasticity, moisture content, and skin texture in both men and women.12

Lutein may be best known for its role in eye health, specifically in the macula, but this blue-light filtering carotenoid is also proving to be valuable in skin health as well. Lutein, and its partner zeaxanthin, are present in the skin, where they filter damaging blue light and protect skin from environmental stressors. A placebo-controlled trial including 50 men and women with mild-to-moderate dry skin took a supplement containing 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin for 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, overall skin tone and “luminance” were significantly increased in the group taking the lutein, which researchers attributed to lutein’s photoprotective (sun protective) and antioxidant properties.13

Hyaluronic Acid, MSM, and Silica

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a humectant—a substance that draws in and retains moisture—and is capable of binding over 1,000 times its weight in water. It’s present in every tissue of the body, with the highest concentrations in connective tissue and the skin.14 A 2021 study found that 120 mg of HA a day for eight to 12 weeks led to significant improvements in wrinkles, water content and water loss, and skin elasticity compared to placebo.15

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organosulfur compound found in every living organism and is the purest, most bioavailable form of sulfur used to support joint, skin, hair, and nail health. In one study, doses of 1 or 3 grams of MSM daily for 16 weeks reduced visual signs of skin aging like facial wrinkles and skin roughness, and improved skin firmness, elasticity, and hydration, even at the lower dose of 1 gram per day.16

Silica is the third most abundant element in the human body after iron and zinc, and it is important for collagen synthesis and improves skin strength and elasticity. Most silica supplements on the market are derived from horsetail or bamboo, and the orthosilicic acid (OSA) and choline-stabilized orthosilicic (ch-OSA) forms are the most bioavailable. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 50 participants 40–65 years old with clear signs of facial photoaging were either given two capsules containing 10 mg of ch-OSA daily for 20 weeks or a placebo. At the end of the trial period, there was a significant improvement in skin surface characteristics in those taking the supplement.17 Silica is also a natural anti-inflammatory that may help relieve skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.18


Also known as pine bark extract, Pycnogenol has a well-established reputation for its role in skin health and appearance. A study published in Skin Pharmacology Physiology found that in participants working outdoors in harsh environmental conditions (i.e., air pollution and temperature and humidity changes) daily supplementation with 100 mg of Pycnogenol for 12 weeks improved the look and function of the skin compared to those taking a placebo. Specifically, participants receiving Pycnogenol had better skin hydration and lower transepidermal water loss, and improvements in skin elasticity.19

Healthy Gut = Healthy Skin

The outward appearance of the skin can be a glimpse into our internal health, specifically, gut health. Imbalances in the gut can manifest as a number of health issues, including skin disorders, and researchers are exploring how optimizing your gut microbiome can offer your skin a healthier glow.

Research investigating the gut-skin connection has found a strong association between imbalances in the gut microbiota and skin allergies, rosacea, and acne,20 21 22 while probiotics have been shown to improve these conditions. A recent placebo-controlled trial in Japan found that women who consumed a strain of Lactobacillus casei for eight weeks saw an improvement in their skin, including reduced flakiness and a decrease in water loss from the skin, “suggesting an improvement of skin barrier function.”23 Another study showed that people who supplemented with a strain of Lactobacillus rhamnosus for 12 weeks saw an improvement in adult acne.24 Other research investigating the role of probiotics in skin health has found that probiotics can help improve acne, psoriasis, wrinkles, and dry skin. Strains used have included Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. brevis, L. plantarum, Bifidobacterium infantis, and B. bifidum.25

Our skin, hair, and nails act as our armor, protecting us from outside assaults like UV radiation and pollution every day. And just like every other body system, it needs good nutrition. A healthy, well-balanced diet as well as supplementation with key nutrients will keep your skin glowing, your hair shiny, and your nails strong and healthy.

Foods for Healthy Hair, Skin & Nails

It’s no surprise that a variety of foods can help nourish you from the inside out and help strengthen your hair, skin, and nails. Since these parts of the body are part of the same organ system, the nutrients to help them stay healthy are similar.

  • Avocados - Technically a fruit (thanks to the pit), avocado is an excellent source of pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, and a good source of vitamins C and E, as well as a healthy source of fat, all of which support healthy skin and hair.
  • Pastured eggs - The egg yolks from hens that have been allowed to forage on pasture are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidant carotenoids known to protect skin from photodamage caused by the sun.
  • Berries - It’s no accident that berries are freshest during the summer season, as they are nature’s way of helping fight free radicals thanks to their high antioxidant content. Eat more berries to help protect your skin and hair from damage that can happen from too much time in the sun or pool.
  • Salmon and walnuts - These foods are heavy hitters when it comes to omega-3s which are essential fatty acids that help promote healthy skin and hair.
  • A rainbow of vegetables - Vegetables are full of so many beneficial vitamins and antioxidants, which go a long way in keeping skin healthy. Red and yellow bell peppers, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and broccoli are all great choices to keep in regular rotation.
  • Turmeric - In India, the spice turmeric is sometimes called “the golden goddess” thanks to its beautifying properties. Turmeric helps support healthy liver function to help rid the body of toxins and is full of antioxidants that can support skin cell health.


  6. Kirk J.E. Vitamins and Hormones. Academic Press; New York, NY, USA: 1962. pp. 83–92
  14. Kristina Liu, MD, and MD Janelle Nassim. “The Hype on Hyaluronic Acid.” Harvard Health, 23 Jan. 2020,….
  15. Hsu TF;Su ZR;Hsieh YH;Wang MF;Oe M;Matsuoka R;Masuda Y; “Oral Hyaluronan Relieves Wrinkles and Improves Dry Skin: A 12-Week Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Study.” Nutrients, U.S. National Library of Medicine,
  16. R;, Muizzuddin N;Benjamin. “Beauty from within: Oral Administration of a Sulfur-Containing Supplement Methylsulfonylmethane Improves Signs of Skin Ageing.” International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. Internationale Zeitschrift Fur Vitamin- Und Ernahrungsforschung. Journal International De Vitaminologie Et De Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine,
  17. Araújo, Lidiane Advincula de, et al. “Use of Silicon for Skin and Hair Care: An Approach of Chemical Forms Available and Efficacy.” Anais Brasileiros De Dermatologia, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2016,
  18. Lee GH, Lee SJ, Jeong SW, et al. Antioxidative and antiinflammatory activities of quercetin-loaded silica nanoparticles. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2016;143:511-517. doi:10.1016/j.colsurfb.2016.03.060
  19. Zhao H, Wu J, Wang N, Grether-Beck S, Krutmann J, Wei L. Oral Pycnogenol® Intake Benefits the Skin in Urban Chinese Outdoor Workers: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind, and Crossover Intervention Study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2021;34(3):135-145. doi: 10.1159/000514323. Epub 2021 Mar 31. PMID: 33789311.