The Truth Behind Hair, Skin, and Nail Supplements

Do you really need a specific supplement for hair, skin, and nail health? Learn about the ingredients in these specialty supplements—and whether you should take one.

Jake Wolford
December 4, 2019
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It’s 2019, and there are more specialized nutritionals available today than we could possibly count. One of the most popular categories is all-in-one hair, skin, and nail supplements, which claim to strengthen, firm, and beautify these targeted areas. It can be difficult to know which are worth your money—and if they’re better than other supplements.

Whether you’re looking to fill a nutritional deficiency, achieve glowing skin and hair, or simply enhance your overall health, are these specialty supplements really worth using? Read on to learn more about skin, hair, and nail supplements. As with any health advice, consult your physician before making any major lifestyle changes—especially when it comes to supplementing your diet.

Too Much of a Good Thing

When comparing different types of skin, hair, and nail supplements, most contain some combination of biotin, folic acid, collagen, and vitamin D as the primary ingredients, with other additions like alpha lipoic acid for absorption. Studies point to the health benefits found in each of these nutrients, including the targeted areas of health many of these supplements claim to aid.1 OK, so good news, they work.

On the surface, it sounds like a no-brainer to add a skin, hair, and nail supplement. But one hesitation which might be overlooked is overloading on a particular nutrient. For example, many multivitamins contain vitamin D, and whole milk is often fortified with vitamin D. If you take a daily multivitamin, drink whole milk, and add a hair/skin/nail supplement, you could be overdoing it. At best, this is a waste of money and nutritional value. At worst, you could experience symptoms of vitamin D toxicity, which includes nausea, loss of appetite, muscle and joint pain, and more.2

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It makes sense to supplement a nutrient deficiency—just make sure you add up all your sources first. Regardless of the type of supplement you want to add to your diet, assess your current nutritional intake with your physician and decide, together, if you’re low on any nutrient. To avoid the risk of overdoing it and to maintain general health, you’re likely better off taking a high-quality multivitamin or core supplement with a measured, safe, balanced blend of nutrients.

In All Things, Balance

Since there’s definitely such a thing as too much of a good thing, it’s probably not the best idea to simply add a skin/hair/nail supplement to your current diet without considering all the variables. So, what’s a person to do if they want healthier looking hair? The first, and best, way to maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails—as well as every other element of good health—is to focus on your overall well-being.

Eating a balanced diet with of a variety of whole, unprocessed foods, getting enough quality sleep, and performing strength and aerobic exercise all work wonders for your health, affecting most factors in your quality of life.3 According to a study at UBC Hospital in Vancouver, simply getting enough sleep is crucial to psychological, cardiovascular, and overall well-being.4

It’s best to start at the cornerstone of living a healthy lifestyle—and supplement from there with your physician’s advice.

Nourish from the Inside Out—And the Outside In

There’s one giant step you can take today for a healthier tomorrow. According to the CDC—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—only 12.2 percent of U.S. adults meet the daily fruit intake recommendation. It’s even worse with vegetables, sitting at 9.3 percent.5 Head to your local grocery store or farmers market and pick up your favorite, in-season fruits and vegetables to snack on and incorporate into meals this week. Do this, and you’ll be better off nutritionally than nearly 90 percent of Americans. That was easy.

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Another step you can take right now for glowing skin and overall health is to establish a mindful bedtime routine. Sleep is restorative for so many aspects of good health, and healthy-looking skin is absolutely one of them.6 I’ve found three fool-proof ways to establish good sleep hygiene:

  1. Get your phone off the nightstand. An hour before bedtime, set your phone to “do not disturb” mode and place it on the opposite side of the room from your bed.
  2. Set your alarm for the same time, seven days a week. It really works. Even if you have the occasional late night, your body will make up for it by being more tired the following evening. After a few weeks, you’ll be waking up before your alarm, rested and ready. Bliss.
  3. Cut the caffeine well before noon. Caffeine is my favorite way to start any day, but it could be doing more harm than good to your sleep schedule. Studies show caffeine significantly disturbs sleep even six hours after ingestion.7

So, Do You Really Need a Hair, Skin, and Nail Supplement?

Hair, skin, and nail supplements often contain ingredients with proven health benefits, but many of the nutrients in these supplements are already found in whole foods and other, more balanced nutritionals with additional nutrients and benefits. It’s typically better to take care of your general well-being through a healthy lifestyle, thoughtful nutrition, and smart supplementation.