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Do Hair, Skin and Nail Supplements Work?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

do hair skin and nail supplements work

Story at-a-glance -

  • Healthy hair, skin and nails depend on three main structural proteins: solubilized keratin, collagen peptides and elastin, but there are other plant-based supplements that benefit these areas for more vibrant health
  • Other integrative interventions include extracts from the herb Polypodium leucotomos, a plant-based supplement for sensitive skin, nicotinamide (aka niacinamide) for skin cancer protection and phytoceramides (plant-derived lipids)
  • Factors that cause problems for your hair, skin and nails fall into two categories: intrinsic factors, such as the aging process, and fluctuating hormone levels
  • Extrinsic factors include ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sun exposure, free radical damage and increased enzyme activity that breaks down collagen and elastin; air pollution and smoking are also “outside” forces that cause skin damage
  • A combination of specific supplements, such as collagen, biotin, vitamin D and iron, can help strengthen your hair, skin and nails from the inside out

Strong, shiny hair and fingernails (and toenails) that are smooth and uniform in color, and soft, glowing skin are typically viewed as some of the more visible signs of health. Most children have all of the above, but often with factors like stress hormones, oxidative stress and a less-than-healthy diet, your hair and nails can become dry and brittle, and your skin rough and blemished.

If you've ever roamed the aisles where supplements are stocked, no doubt you've noticed — and possibly even tried — vitamins or minerals advertising help for your hair, skin and nails. You also may have noticed that there are dozens of products to wade through. It's hard to know what will work and which will be a waste of money.

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