Anyone who’s dabbled in the art of dietary supplements knows an unfortunate truth: not all vitamins are created equal. There’s a lot of prettily packaged snake oil out there, which can drown out even the best hair skin and nails vitamins.
Fortunately, there are also thoughtful nutritionists in the world who can help us cut through the noise to find out what we really need. And though almost everyone could benefit from a daily multivitamin and probiotic, an extra boost of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D could be the thing that elevates your hair, skin, and nails to their glowiest, glossiest state.
Featured image by Belathée Photography.
Ahead, nutritionist Georgia Thompson and naturopathic physician Dr. Trevor Cates, founder of The Spa Dr and author of Natural Beauty Reset, discuss the best way to find out exactly what vitamins your body really needs, how to tell if a supplement is truly effective, and their most recommended products for hair, skin, and nails.
Before we dig in though, it’s important to note that the key to healthy hair, skin, and nails should really begin with your diet.
“I find so many people look to supplements as quick fixes for all of their problems while they’re neglecting the basic tenets of health, including a diet of nutrient-dense, whole foods,” shares Thompson. “I’d encourage you to begin with these foundational building blocks first, and you’ll likely see an incredible improvement not just in the quality and strength of your hair, skin, and nails, but also in your health and overall well-being.”
What makes a vitamin effective?
First and foremost, Thompson recommends working with a doctor to run tests and find out exactly what your body needs (i.e., what it’s deficient in).
But when it comes to buying vitamins, both Cates and Thompson agree: all supplements are not created equal. “There is little regulation on supplements, so it’s up to the consumer to do a bit of homework to find the best ones,” Dr. Cates adds.
tips for hunting down the best hair skin and nails vitamins
Reputation. Look for brands that have undergone extensive third-party testing. (Reputable brands will often include clinical trials on their site.)
Efficacy. Choose brands that are rich in high-quality ingredients (like omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamins A, B, C, and E). This helps ensure your supplement is more bioavailable—able to be actually absorbed and used by the body.
Prepare to invest. “Unfortunately, many of the supplement brands you find on drug store shelves simply don’t contain the proper amount of active ingredient or ingredients listed, and often the quality of the ingredients is poor,” Thompson shares. “It’s worth investing more for a higher quality vitamin that actually works.”
One more thing to note: patience. “I find many people become discouraged when they don’t see immediate results, but it can often take months to experience a real difference, so be consistent,” Thompson adds.
What ingredients support healthier hair, stronger nails, and clearer skin?
In addition to hair, skin, and nail heroes like zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, collagen peptides, vitamin D3, probiotics, curcumin, omega 3s, and B vitamins (including B12, B6, folate, and thiamine), Dr. Cates shares two natural ingredients she loves for both internal and topical use: acerola cherry fruit extract and chlorella.
“Acerola cherry fruit extract is a rich source of vitamin C, putting foods commonly known to be high in vitamin C, like oranges and strawberries, to shame,” Dr. Cates shares.
“Meanwhile, chlorella extract is a freshwater algae that is known for its potential to purify and energize the skin. Chlorella plays a role in inhibiting the enzymes that break down collagen and elastin.”