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Skin Care Supplement Power Couples: Here Are 5 Stellar Pairs To Look For

Jamie Schneider
June 6, 2020
Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor
By Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Skin Care Supplement Power Couples: Here's What You Should Have In Your Arsenal
Image by Emotion Matters / Stocksy
June 6, 2020

When it comes to stellar food pairings, there are some couplings that just make sense. Think about it: nut butter and chocolate, avocado and toast, hot sauce and, well, everything. The list goes on. 

And on the supplement front, there are more than a few pairs that work together quite seamlessly to help you achieve a glowy complexion. Here, we've named five skin care superstars to keep your eye on:


Ceramides and fatty acids 

Ceramides (whether animal- or plant-derived) are super beneficial for promoting skin hydration, elasticity, and smoothness.* In terms of animal sources, those fat molecules are typically seen in fish. ("Fish oil has a very high ceramide content," notes board-certified dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., FAAD.) As you may know, fish is also chock-full of fatty acids, like those beloved omega-3s. And according to registered dietitian Lauren Koffler, M.S., R.D., CDN, having ceramides alongside those fatty acids can enhance their benefits. "It's helpful to pair them with other fats," she says.*

You can even go the plant-based route, pairing phytoceramides (like those in mbg's nr+ supplement) with plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids (flaxseed oil, for one).* Either way, this coupling can help optimize your skin barrier function—paving the way for soft, touchable skin.*


Collagen and vitamin C 

These separate ingredients are valuable skin care players in their own right, but here's the thing: Your body cannot effectively produce collagen without vitamin C1.* Vitamin C is actually able to promote fibroblast production2, tend to damaged collagen DNA, and regulate collagen synthesis3 (the pathway in which collagen is made).* 

"Vitamin C is a key cofactor in the synthesis of collagen and elastin, [which helps] give your skin that plump and youthful appearance," says Keira Barr, M.D., dual board-certified dermatologist.* In other words, vitamin C is a vital part of the collagen production process. That's why a well-constructed collagen supplement will always include vitamin C on the ingredient list (like mbg's grass-fed collagen+, for instance). It's not just an ingredient to add for some fun, extra-effectiveness; it's an essential nutrient your body needs to make collagen.* 


Vitamin B3 and hyaluronic acid 

In this star pairing, hydration is key: Oral forms of HA have been shown to support skin hydration4 and appearance, while vitamin B3 (aka, niacinamide) promotes water retention.* "The water retention keeps the skin moisturized, which in turn keeps the skin barrier healthy and uncompromised," board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D., tells us about vitamin B3 in skin care. When combined, these ingredients become quite the hydrating duo, according to board-certified dermatologist Nava Greenfield, M.D., of Schweiger Dermatology Group in Brooklyn.*


Vitamin C and ferulic acid 

"Many gentle acids and antioxidants work well together," adds Greenfield. In terms of this acid-antioxidant pair, vitamin C is once again the superstar, due to its ability to neutralize free radicals. Ferulic acid also has those antioxidant properties and can help enhance vitamin C's potency. Why? Because "certain antioxidants are synergistic," Julia T. Hunter, M.D., founder of Wholistic Dermatology in Beverly Hills says regarding vitamin C pairings. "They strengthen one another, regenerate one another, and last longer in the body, so they're more available in the skin." The science backs it up, too: One study even found that ferulic acid (as well as vitamin E) can increase vitamin C's effectiveness eightfold5.*


Sulforaphane and selenium

The beauty sphere is just getting to know sulforaphanes (learn why it's bound to become your new favorite ingredient here), but here's the short-and-sweet summary: This sulfur-containing compound has incredible antioxidant properties. And when paired with the trace mineral selenium, those properties work twofold: "When these nutrients are combined, their total antioxidant power increases exponentially6," registered dietitian Kayleen St. John, M.S., R.D., informs us about enhancing nutrient absorption.* That's because selenium helps your body produce more glutathione, another protective molecule known for neutralizing free radicals and managing oxidative stress.*

And while you could up your intake of cruciferous veggies and selenium-rich Brazil nuts to do the job, there are easier ways to consume a targeted dose of these antioxidants. For sulforaphane, in particular, it "can be found in supplement form, which tends to be more concentrated than what you'd receive from cruciferous veggies alone," Koffler explains.* (Good news: Our collagen+ supplement also contains sulforaphane, for all your glowy skin needs.)*

The takeaway. 

The list is by no means exhaustive (there's certainly no shortage of good-for-skin ingredients), but consider this the start to our favorite superstars. Become well versed in skin-care-focused supplements, and you just might see some overlap.*

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.
Jamie Schneider author page.
Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.