In the past, I have received several e-mails asking if it was better to ingest or topically apply beneficial ingredients to the skin. While I never knew the answer, I am proud to now report that this new study in The Journal of Skin Pharmacology and Physiology suggests that eating an ingredient is more beneficial than topically applying it. However, the study further suggests that a combination of eating and topically applying ingredients to the skin may be most beneficial.
The Actual Study
In the study, conducted by Mavi Cosmetics in Italy, 40 women were split into four groups. The first group was given a supplement called FloraGlo Lutein with antioxidants (10 mg lutein and 0.6 zeaxanthin). The second group was given a topical cream with lutein and zeaxanthin. The third group was given both the supplement and the topical cream. The fourth and final group was given placebo.
After 12 weeks, it was found that either the oral supplement or the cream improved skin elasticity, hydration, and protection against sun damage. However, the combination of oral and topical formulations boosted numbers the most — skin hydration by 60 percent and protection against sunburn by 20 percent.
Some Combinations of Beneficial Ingredients in Supplements and Topical Creams
Green tea has been demonstrated to have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and photoprotective properties. (For more on green tea, please read my blog post on green tea, or this comprehensive summary of research conducted on green tea here.) Green tea is available as a beverage or a supplement by numerous brands; however, one concern in the past has always been the amount of caffeine necessary to ingest enough beneficial EGCG. Luckily, there is Dr. Brandt Skincare Anti-Oxidant Water Booster ($35, Sephora.com), in which one dropper full claims to deliver the benefits of 15 cups of green tea without the caffeine. A very concentrated source of green tea extract in a topical treatment is TOPIX Replenix Serum ($46.25, 4Derm.com) which contains 90% beneficial green tea polyphenols as the second ingredient (behind water).
Pomegranate is an excellent ingredient, which does everything from inhibiting UVA-and UVB-damage to inhibiting collagen degradation to activating procollagen synthesis. (For more, read yesterday’s blog post on pomegranate.) Pomegranate is available as an ingredient in the oral supplement Murad PomphenolR Sunguard Dietary Supplement ($35.00, Murad.com) and may be enhanced with topical application in Murad Energizing Pomegranate Moisturizer SPF 15 ($32.00, Murad.com).
What are some foods that are rich in antioxidant content?
In a recent study, the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) score of 27 vegetables were compared, and artichokes, beetroot, cabbage, broccoli, red chicory, red chili, and yellow pepper had the highest ORAC score. For more on foods and food preparation that are beneficial for your skin, please read this blog post.
How can I get FloraGlo Lutein?
As Pierfrancesco Morganti, professor of applied cosmetic dermatology at the University of Naples and a researcher at Mavi Cosmetics tells Allure in November 2007, “Though FloraGlo Lutein is not yet available, some other skin creams contain one or both ingredients and may be similarly effective.” He further recommends eating “leafy green vegetables and yellow and orange fruits,” which are sources of lutein and zeazanthin.
As A Result…
To get the most out of your skincare regime, it seems that a combination of oral supplements and topical formulations is best. Always remember: the skin is a sign of wellness, so what’s good for your health is ultimately good for your skin. If you have concerns, be sure you consult a physician! 🙂