A growing trend over the last few seasons, the concept of edible beauty – or nutri-cosmetics – refers to the process of improving outward appearance by using supplements to provide the body with the right balance of vitamins, minerals and adaptogens to fight antioxidants, reduce inflammatory skin conditions like acne and psoriasis and replenish the microbiome. Every bodily system has a unique microbiome — the term refers to the microscopic organisms that share body space with human beings. When the skin’s microbiome falls out of balance, pimples, premature wrinkles and ashy flakes make skin look unhealthy and dull.
Does it work?
Supplements have been part of the wellness and health conversation for years, but as the edible beauty trend grows, they are now beginning to be considered as a step in boosting physical beauty as well as inner well-being. However, experts disagree on the efficacy of such beauty regimens. Certain vitamins, such as vitamin C, have proven their anti-inflammatory power, as has turmeric, a spice used traditionally in Indian cuisine. However, it remains to be seen whether the nourishing ingredients in these products make it to the skin, hair and nails in a form that produces noticeable beauty benefits after digestion.
Many of the ingredients in edible beauty products mirror those found in skincare serums traditionally applied topically. Collagen, for example, features prominently in many preparations. Collagen makes up the connective tissue that gives skin its elasticity. While many experts believe consuming supplemental collagen poses few health risks, they assert more research is necessary before determining whether or not ingesting such a supplement will lead to improved appearance.
Other common ingredients in edible beauty products include adaptogens such as ashwagandha, an Asian herb long used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat several health woes. Omega-3 fatty acids such as those in walnuts and avocados likewise make the list. Research suggests Omega-3 fatty acids improve the appearance of the skin and nourish the hair, all while playing important regulatory roles in our reproductive, cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems.
Any diet that bumps up overall nutrition can result in looking and feeling better. Many of the ingredients in such products pose few risks, although women do well to consult with their doctor before taking any supplement, as some herbs may make medicines like birth control and antibiotics less effective.
Is edible beauty suitable for vegans?
Vegans who want to improve their appearance, not just maintain their sense of conscience, can do so by using a combination of eating the right foods and trying certified organic supplements. Diets high in omega-3s benefit skin, hair and nails. Foods such as seaweed, chia seeds, edamame and flax seeds contain high amounts of omega-3s. Green, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach contain high amounts of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.
Dr Sara Diaz, R&D consultant at vegan edible beauty brand, says: “Her1 superfood nutritional range is currently made up of three potent formulas for a daily dose hit of female health and self-care; Skin Glow, Natural Youth and Inner Beauty, which allow women to tailor their supplementation to specific health issues, be it gut health, skin ageing and damage or inflammation and dehydration. Vegans can particularly benefit from these entirely natural, chemical-free and vegan blends because often supplements can be full of hidden synthetics and chemicals which can be damaging to optimal health. Most crucially, when following a vegan lifestyle some nutrients required for complete health can be tricky to take in only from plant-based sources. For instance, most sources of collagen (essential for glowing skin) are animal-based, which is why Her1 Skin Glow includes kelp (a precursor of collagen) as a vegan-friendly ingredient. Likewise, amino acids are also typically found in meat and probiotics in dairy products, which are needed for good gut health. However, Her1 Inner Beauty uses vegan friendly probiotics and pea protein to provide excellent plant-based alternatives to nourish colon cells. reduce inflammation and bloating. Antioxidants foods like broccoli, moringa and strawberry (protect cells from free radicals) which feature in Her1 products have all been carefully included to ensure that nutritional deficiencies in key vitamins like A and D (common for those following a vegan diet) are avoided. Lastly, strategic adaptogens like ashwagandha (increases stress resilience), reishi (heightens immunity) and rhodiola (fights fatigue) to boost the body and the skin’s ability to withstand damage from everyday life (like stress and pollution). “
Those preferring to use a combination of diet and supplementation can give any products on the list below a try. All are vegan-friendly.
Her1 Inner Beauty contains a vegan version of lactic acid- these probiotics help balance intestinal flora as well as improve skin’s condition. This dietary booster boasts only seven natural ingredients.
ZoJo Elixirs revolves around adaptogenic herbs, including ashwagandha and barley grass. Barley grass contains more calcium than dairy milk and helps keep teeth and bones strong.
Edible Beauty is an Australian brand that stands as a forerunner in the edible beauty world. They carry a native, plant-based collagen powder to help grow longer, thicker hair and restore skin’s natural elasticity.
What we consume in our diets affects every cell in the body, including those making up our largest organ, our skin. Edible beauty may or may not transform an ugly duckling into a swan overnight, but eating well and nourishing the body will result in better health and increased energy.
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Photos by Gabrielle Henderson and Sharon McCutcheon via Unsplash