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Secret of glowing skin could start from within

From collagen-boosting pills to radiance teas, the smartest people know that true beauty begins inside, says Kelly Gilbert.

Have we really been doing it wrong all these years? We're talking skincare, that is. All the serums, the exfoliants, the creams ... well, quite possibly.

There's a growing movement in the beauty industry that thinks of skincare as an oral supplement to be ingested as much as a lotion to be applied.

Some go further - to say that unless we're treating the skin from within, we're not really effecting any serious structural change at all.

"Topical skincare is very useful in treating skin texture but the optimal way to get beautiful skin is to adopt an inside-out approach," says dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting.

Ironically, now that topical skincare has become so effective at smoothing, brightening and moisturising, it is all the more apparent what it cannot do, which is treat the slow, persistent sag that befalls us all.

After the age of 20, we lose 1.5% of our skin's collagen every single year.

"Collagen is the substance that gives our skin structure and spring so its production must be supported if ageing slowly is the aim - and skincare isn't always enough," declares aesthetic doctor Daniel Sister.

"Products penetrate only to a certain depth (which isn't that deep), therefore it is vital to supplement from the inside."

A scan of the beauty aisles now certainly reflects this shift in approach. While Space NK intersperses various radiance teas, omega oils and collagen-building pills with its more traditional skincare fare, Boots, too, has championed the benefits of a skin supplement by positioning its own Beauty Beneath capsules, which launched last year, alongside the anti-ageing creams rather than in the general supplements section.

But is a pill really able to make a tangible difference to our faces? "Diet has a huge impact on skin health. This is because topical skincare products address only 20% of our skin on the surface. The other 80% is affected by what we eat and drink, including dietary supplements.

"Supplements ensure optimal nutrition and, by topping up on what the body needs, it can build great skin," says Dr Howard Murad, dermatologist and founder of Murad Skincare, who is currently developing a new range of supplements to sit alongside his treatment skincare brand.

"I offer all my patients advice on supplements to support their skincare regimes," agrees Dr Bunting. "Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and a diverse array of antioxidants are key to achieving a great complexion."

Skin boosters

The best all-rounder:

Pure Skin Elixir Smart Age Supplement, £45 for one month's supply. Antioxidants prevent damage and marine collagen builds strong skin. pureskinelixir.com

To fight the sag:

Oskia Pure MSM The Beauty Mineral, £29.50 for six weeks. Contains high dose of MSM, the body's building block for collagen production. cultbeauty.co.uk

To hydrate and plump:

Sarah Chapman Skinesis Omega Booster Supplement, £28. Essential fatty acids are proven to plump and improve skin health. victoriahealth.com

If in hormonal decline:

Nurture Replenish Day-Night Skin Supplement, £13.95 for one month's supply. Rich in natural plant oestrogens to support dwindling collagen production. healthspan.co.uk

The complexion pep-up:

I Am Beautiful Powder, £17. Contains a hefty dose of collagen-loving vitamin C.

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