Products That Treat from the Inside Out

SKIN WORRIES USUALLY BEGIN with the first appearance of fine lines and dark spots. Then comes the frenzied search for products to erase the signs of age. But topical products don’t always deliver miracles, and beyond staying out of the sun, one of the best ways to stave off time is to start from the inside out with a healthful diet.

Just as proper nutrition allows the body to function optimally, certain vitamins and minerals are crucial to healthy skin. These include vitamins A, E and vitamin B complex, the latter including biotin that forms the basis of skin, nail and hair cells. Even a mild deficiency causes symptoms such as itchy, scaly skin or hair loss.

The diet connection to good skin is so important that plastic surgeon Dr. Nicolas Perricone, in writing his ground-breaking The Wrinkle Cure in 2000, included instructions to reduce alcohol and coffee consumption, eliminate sugar and start eating foods rich in the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 found in cooking oils, poultry, grains, flaxseed and such cold-water fish as salmon, sardines and mackerel.

Perricone’s inflammation theory of aging posits that consuming simple sugars starts a chain reaction that causes inflammation and the breakdown of collagen, the skin’s support structure.

For those who don’t always eat right, he launched a series of dietary supplements for skin and body, including Perricone MD Skin Clear Dietary Supplements. These offer antioxidant protection and support clear skin with a blend of B Complex, C and D vitamins, o-3, zinc, calcium and more minerals. Each box contains 30 packets of once-daily supplements; $85 at Sephora.

Other companies that recognize the beauty-diet connection include:

Kate Somerville offers a Total Vitamin Clear Skin Supplement, a boxed set of 30 dual day-and-night formulations that includes 52 detoxifying, cleansing, anti-inflammatory, and fortifying herbs, botanicals and minerals to keep skin lubricated and protected from damaging free radicals throughout the day, while supporting repair at night. It’s $135 at Sephora and Neiman Marcus.

Dr. Brandt Skincare: Add one dropper of its Detoxifying Anti-oxidant Water Booster to a glass of water or cup of tea to reap the benefits of antioxidant superfoods, rich in vitamin C and minerals. There’s a goji-maqui berry blend and a pomegranate version. Both are caffeine-, sugar- and calorie-free, and one dropper full is equal to 15 cups of green tea; $39 each at Sephora and select Macy’s stores.

Murad: The Pure Skin Clarifying Dietary Supplement contains yellow dock and burdock root to help remove internal toxins that produce blemishes, plus zinc to reduce skin redness. At Sephora, $43 for a month’s supply.