While most spa-goers have traditionally relied on topical treatments to nourish their skin, hair, and nails, many are now turning to ingestible skincare supplements as the connection between what we put inside our bodies and its impact on our external appearance grows stronger. According to Eve Persak, resident dietitian for Como Shambhala, it’s important to remember that putting something, such as a topical cream, on the body is not the same as ingesting a pill, powder, or chew in the body. “When we apply oils, creams, or serums on the surface of the skin, hair, and nails, interaction between the product and our body is largely superficial,” she says. “The underlying cells absorb only a percentage of the active ingredients—and the blood supply, lesser still. Conversely, ingested foods and supplements have a core impact, as our GI tract digests them, our blood stream circulates them, then our organ systems metabolize, clear, redirect, and assimilate them, as needed.” As a result, you’ll want to choose wisely when it comes to recommending and retailing supplements in your spa.
Going beyond the impact supplements can have on your clients’ appearance, today’s ingestibles also claim to help protect against chronic stress. “Adaptogenic supplements actually help lower stress hormones,” says Amanda Chantal Bacon, founder and CEO of Moon Juice. “Chronic stress can have damaging effects to gut health, skin health, mental health, and more.” Ashwagandha, cordyceps, maca, reishi, rhodiola, and tulsi are just some of the adaptogens making headlines these days. These herbs can commonly be found in capsules, teas, powders, and other supplemental forms. “There are also other ingredients, like vitamin E, that help reduce oxidative stress, which can have really damaging effects on our collagen and skin health,” says Bacon.
With so many nutritional supplements on the market today, it can be difficult to choose the best delivery vehicle. For some, a pill or capsule can provide a quick and easy way to get results while others prefer adding a scoop of powder to their morning smoothies. Wallace Nelson, CEO of M’lis, recommends choosing products that focus on digestibility. “Many nutritionals are packaged in tough to digest forms like tablets, which oftentimes don’t break down in the body. Seeking out products made with high-quality ingredients that are delivered as powders, non-gelatin V Caps, or soft gels produce the best results”
Now that ingestibles are developing a reputation in the wellness industry, most spa professionals are predicting good things for the trend. “I really think the sky is the limit now that the consumer understands the power of ingestibles,” says Jane Iredale, founder and president, Jane Iredale. “The challenge will be how to communicate the results without getting into drug territory. This is the biggest issue as far as I’m concerned. We can produce something that really has an effect, for example, on psoriasis and eczema, but we aren’t allowed to say so.” According to Osmosis Pür Medical Skincare’s Ben Johnson, M.D., the next big thing will be innovations in prebiotics, which can increase the helpful bacteria in the gut. “I think the big change in ingestible skincare won’t necessarily be the discovery of some unknown nutrient, it will be the realization that everyone should be incorporating specific skin-based nutrition into their treatment protocols,” says Nelson. “It’s been said for as long as anyone can remember that beauty is more than skin deep, and we need to be providing beauty treatments that are more than skin deep, as well."