Looking Good -- From the Inside Out

The newest beauty buzz is vitamins for the skin, but do you really need them?

By Colette Bouchez
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

Once upon a time there was your skin and cold cream. And that was pretty much it. Today, options are overwhelming -- with the number of available lotions, potions, and serums seeming to multiply almost daily.

But if, like many folks, you've still not found a dream cream to smooth that wrinkled brow or firm those jiggly jowls then you might be ready for the latest boom in beauty care -- treating your skin from the inside out. Experts call them "nutraceuticals," a rapidly expanding group of vitamins, minerals, and other natural ingredients that you take internally to change the way you look on the outside.

"In many ways, you can accomplish a lot more with supplements than you can with creams," says Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, an associate professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and a member of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Indeed, while topical products can help says Draelos, what you put on your face could never fully replace what is needed internally by your body to keep your skin healthy and looking great. And that's where supplements can play an important role.

"Creams cannot replace a faulty diet -- so if you are not consuming enough vitamin C, for example, there is no way you can achieve vitamin C levels systemically by putting creams on your skin," says Draelos.