Supplements Vs Topical Beauty Products: What’s More Effective?

The beauty market is cluttered with numerous products that cater to almost every issue when it comes to your hair, skin, and nails. While some of these products can be applied topically, others have to be ingested. Since both markets are growing rapidly, it has now given rise to a new debate: are supplements better than topicals? Or should you replace topicals with supplements completely? If you are struggling with similar questions and looking for ways to improve your skin and hair health, you’ve come to the right place.

In this blog, we'll talk about the difference between supplements and topical beauty products and what you need in order to achieve the hair and skin of your dreams. Scroll down to get all the information.

What are beauty supplements?

Beauty supplements, as the name suggests, supplement a diet with all the essential nutrients to bridge the nutritional gaps and provide long-term results. These supplements nourish, support, and enhance the quality of your skin, hair, and nails from within. There are many supplement options to choose from with benefits that target overall health or a specific problem. Some work towards increasing skin elasticity, boosting hydration, reducing wrinkles, improving hair growth, reducing hailfall, and so on. Supplements come in the following forms:

  • Oral Strips – Oral strips consist of a thin film delivery system that dissolves immediately when placed on the tongue or cheek, allowing the nutrients to enter your bloodstream through absorption.
  • EffervescentEffervescent supplements rapidly dissolve in water. These tablets release carbon dioxide when submerged in water, promoting disintegration. The supplement dissolves in the water within a few minutes, forming a homogeneous solution. Effervescent tablets offer 100% bioavailability.
  • Capsules/Tablets – Capsule supplements consist of a hard or soft outer covering consisting of powder or oil. These capsules are easy to swallow, and some don’t even have a bad aftertaste.
  • Time-release Capsules – The slow time-release capsules are designed to release the nutrients in the body over an extended period. These capsules deliver a low and steady dosage of the ingredients over a span of a couple of hours to ensure maximum bioavailability.
  • Powders – Beauty supplements in the form of powders are a great alternative to capsules and are suitable for people who have difficulty swallowing capsules or pills. The powder supplements are designed to be mixed with water and consumed as a drink. In this form of supplement, the nutrients are rapidly released for absorption.

Supplements consist of several vitamins and minerals that help target the root cause of various issues. Here are a few nutrients you may find in beauty supplements: -

  • Vitamin A – It is great for cell growth and is also called retinol. Vitamin A is a superb anti-aging ingredient. 
  • Selenium Selenium is a great mineral that provides protection against the sun and prevents wrinkles.
  • Vitamin C – Vitamin C is an antioxidant responsible for tissue growth and repair. 
  • Collagen - The essential protein, plays a major role in reducing the signs of aging, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. Collagen supplements also increase the hair’s body-building protein resulting in healthy and long hair.
  • Biotin - Biotin improves skin hydration and appearance and increases the shine, volume, and overall health of your hair.
  • Zinc - Zinc has anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. It helps in treating eczema. It also reduces hair fall and regulates hair growth.
  • Iron - Iron reduces dull spots and scars on the skin by supporting hemoglobin production. It also ensures that enough oxygen reaches the cells and hair roots so that they can grow faster.
  • Hyaluronic Acid - It helps your hair lock in moisture and banishes frizz. Hyaluronic acid also helps treat dermatitis, plumps the skin, and improves the overall health of the skin.  
  • Folic Acid – Folic acid promotes healthy cell growth. These cells are also found in skin and hair tissues.
  • Omega-3 - It helps improve the appearance of your skin and can benefit those with skin conditions like skin ulcers, acne, and atopic dermatitis. 

    What are topical beauty products?

    Your skin is made up of three layers: the epidermis (the outer layer), the dermis (the middle layer), and the hypodermis (the bottom layer). Since topical skincare products are not meant to be ingested, they only work on the first layer of the skin, a.k.a. the epidermis. Even though they do not enter the bloodstream, it doesn’t mean that they are not helpful. Topical products can strengthen the skin barrier and improve hydration while also providing anti-inflammatory effects, depending on the ingredients.  

    Some common topical skincare products are: -

    Cleansers - Facial and hair cleansers help remove excess oil, dirt, sweat, product buildup, and dead skin cells from your face and hair, respectively.

    Serums - Serums usually come with antioxidants that help fight oxidative damage. Serums can consist of anti-aging ingredients like retinoids and peptides or other ingredients according to your skin's concerns. Hair serums, on the other hand, reduce frizz and add shine to your hair.

    Moisturizers - Moisturizers help lock in moisture and keep the skin barrier hydrated. These beauty products make your skin look supple with regular use.

    Face Oils - Face oils are ultra-hydrating and especially useful for people with dry skin. 

    Hair Oils - Hair oils are food for your scalp. These are nutrient-packed products for your hair that help treat various hair concerns.

    Hair Conditioner - Hair conditioners are like moisturizers for your hair. It reduces friction and prevents breakage. 

    Sunscreens - Sunscreens are one of the most vital topical beauty products. No matter the season, sunscreens protect your skin from UV damage. 


    Why are topical beauty products not enough? 

    As stated above, topical beauty products can improve the outer appearance of your hair and skin, but your diet and lifestyle also matter. Therefore, for maximum results, it’s best to consume beauty supplements. 

    Simply put, your skin, hair, and appearance are directly affected by what happens in your digestive system (mainly the gut) and within the entire body. If your digestive system isn't working efficiently or you have hormonal imbalances, its effect might show on your skin. That is why you must ensure that you feed yourself the right nutrients so that the gut stays healthy and takes care of your hair and skin too. 

    Supplements also help improve your skin's ability to protect your body against environmental stressors by supplying the necessary nutrients and minerals.

    Apart from this, beauty supplements are also: -

    • Travel-friendly - All you need to carry is a supplement, not a whole box of skincare.
    • Time-saving - You don't need to apply multiple products, thus saving time.
    • Cost-effective - You get all the nutrients in one tablet. 
    • Long-term results - It works its magic from within and doesn’t wash away like other products.

    Can you use beauty supplements and topical beauty products together?

    Yes, you can use beauty supplements and topical beauty products together. Using them together can potentially increase the overall effectiveness of your daily beauty routine. Beauty supplements will provide you with the nutrients beneficial for your skin and hair and improve your health from within. Topical products will show more immediate results by addressing specific concerns on the epidermis. Combining them both, you will enjoy both long-term and short-term benefits.

    Wrapping Up

    To conclude, while supplements have a greater advantage as compared to topicals, both are vital to ensure healthy skin and hair from the inside out. Beauty supplements provide you with antioxidants and the essential nutrients that work their magic from the inside to improve the health of your hair and skin, leading to a more youthful and radiant appearance, while topicals protect the outer layer. However, whatever the case, never rely completely on supplements or topical products. Always include a balanced diet in your daily routine for best results.



    • Yousef H, Alhajj M, Sharma S. Anatomy, Skin (Integument), Epidermis. [Updated 2021 Nov 19]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470464/ 


    • National Research Council (US) Committee on Diet and Health. Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1989. 18, Dietary Supplements. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK218768/ 


    • Leccia MT, Richard MJ, Beani JC, Faure H, Monjo AM, Cadet J, Amblard P, Favier A. Protective effect of selenium and zinc on UV-A damage in human skin fibroblasts. Photochem Photobiol. 1993 Oct;58(4):548-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-1097.1993.tb04930.x. PMID: 8248330. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8248330/ 


    • Heidari Beigvand H, Razzaghi M, Rostami-Nejad M, Rezaei-Tavirani M, Safari S, Rezaei-Tavirani M, Mansouri V, Heidari MH. Assessment of Laser Effects on Skin Rejuvenation. J Lasers Med Sci. 2020 Spring;11(2):212-219. doi: 10.34172/jlms.2020.35. Epub 2020 Mar 15. PMID: 32273965; PMCID: PMC7118506. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7118506/


    • Salem I, Ramser A, Isham N, Ghannoum MA. The Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis. Front Microbiol. 2018 Jul 10;9:1459. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.01459. PMID: 30042740; PMCID: PMC6048199. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6048199/  


    • Satriyasa BK. Botulinum toxin (Botox) A for reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles: a literature review of clinical use and pharmacological aspect. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2019 Apr 10;12:223-228. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S202919. PMID: 31114283; PMCID: PMC6489637. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6489637/

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published