As someone who is always on the hunt for new ways to add more moisture to my skin, when I came across glow by Nature Made Skin Moisture Supplements ($15.99 for 60 softgels; one month supply) I was all about it. I was really interested in the potential benefits of adding a supplement to my skin care routine, but I did remain a bit skeptical.
What Are They?
Glow by Nature Made are softgel supplements that are taken daily (2 softgels once daily with water) for the intention of increasing the skin's moisture from the inside out.
Glow by Nature Made claims that they:
- Helps support skin hydration in as little as 15 days
- Helps with skin smoothness, softness, and suppleness
- Provides 70mg of Ceramosides® (apparently a propriety blend) per serving that replenishes the natural ceramides in your skin.
Ingredients (per serving):
- Vitamin A (as Beta Carotene) 300 mcg (33% Daily Value)
- Vitamin E (as d-alpha-Tocopherol) 15 mg (100% Daily Value)
- Copper (as Copper Gluconate) 0.9 mg (100% Daily Value)
- Ceramosides® Wheat Seed Extract 70 mg
- Medium Chain Triglycerides
- Soy Lecithin
- Yellow Beeswax
- Colors Added (including Carmine)
There is a special note reiterating that these supplements do contain soy and wheat. Also noted, that their Ceramosides® is tested for gluten and “The limits are no greater that 20 ppm (parts per million)”.
Vitamin A (as Beta Carotene):
Beta Carotene is a carotanoid that our body converts into Vitamin A, or retinol. For every 2 mcg of Beta Carotene our body converts it to 1 mcg of retinol. Beta Carotene is a great antioxidant and promotes healthy skin, eyes and immune system function. When your parents told you to eat your carrots for healthy vision, they weren't lying. However, Beta Carotene from food sources is not easily absorbed by our bodies, especially without fats.
Vitamin A is used quite a bit in skin care. In fact Accutane, a popular prescription medication for the treatment of acne, is derived from Vitamin A.
Though Vitamin A can be beneficial for the skin, consuming high amounts (especially from supplements) can lead to hypervitaminosis A, a toxic level of Vitamin A in our bodies. Our liver stores excess amounts of Vitamin A that can build up over time, leading to hypervitaminosis A.
Therefore if you are consuming other supplements containing Vitamin A, you'll want to be careful not to exceed the recommended daily value (2,800 mcg for ages 14-18 and 3,000 mcg for ages 19+; courtesy of NIH National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements).
If you are on Accutane, it's best to avoid other Vitamin A supplements altogether, including glow by Nature Made.
Vitamin E (as d-alpha-Tocopherol):
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient that has antioxidant properties to fight free radicals, and has been said to aid in the treatment of wrinkles and aging skin. The d-alpha-Tocopherol aspect just means that it is the naturally occurring form of Vitamin E and not synthetic.
The inclusion of Vitamin E in glow by Nature Made is not just because Vitamin E is good for the skin. It is added to aid the absorption of the Vitamin A, or Beta Carotene.
In a recent study, those with acne were shown to be deficient in Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Zinc, so the 100% Daily value of Vitamin E contained in glow by Nature Made might be a good thing for acne sufferers. However, you still want to be careful that you do not exceed the daily value of Vitamin E. Remember, taking more supplements than needed does not make them work or absorb better and can be dangerous to your health.
Copper (as Copper Gluconate):
Copper Gluconate is a combo of Copper and gluconic acid. The addition of gluconic acid aids in the absorption of the copper.
It may sound a little disturbing to be ingesting copper, but copper is one of the trace minerals that help your body absorb iron and is said to be essential for strong nails and lustrous hair. Small amounts go a long way which is why glow by Nature Made contains only 0.9 mg and meets 100% of the daily value.
Copper is also considered a powerful antioxidant, but too much copper can build up in your system and cause adverse effects. Again, be cautious when taking glow by Nature Made should you be taking other multi-vitamins or supplements that contain copper.
Ceramosides® Wheat Seed Extract:
Out of all the ingredients found in glow by Nature Made, the inclusion of Wheat Seed Extract is the only true moisturizer. Wheat Seed Extract is a ceramide that mimics our own natural ceramides, which are lipids (fats), found in the skin. In fact ceramides are the building blocks that hold the cells of your skin together.
Like bone density and collagen, ceramide production decreases with age. Wheat Seed Extract purportedly boosts moisture retention in the skin when taken as a supplement and allegedly re-ups the skin's ceramides. When taken orally, it enters into the bloodstream where it is then carried to the skin. So, technically it is meant to function as a moisturizer from the inside out.
Medium Chain Triglycerides:
MCTs are partially man made fats typically processed from coconut and palm kernel oil. The addition of MCTs in glow by Nature Made are intended to aid absorption of the fat-soluble ingredients. The total fat contained in glow by Nature Made is 1 g (Calories are 10).
Gelatin is derived from collagen, typically from animal sources, yet it can be synthetic. Glow by Nature Made does not distinguish which is included in their product. It is commonly used as a gelling agent by pharmaceutical companies.
Glycerin is a naturally occurring compound and component of many lipids. It can be derived from animal or vegetable sources. Glow by Nature Made does not discern which is included.
Soy Lecithin is a common food additive. It has quite a bit of controversy surrounding it as it is generally derived from genetically modified soy and the solvent used to extract the lecithin is concerning for a lot of people.
Nothing has been proven in regards to it's health risks, but many choose products without it. Those with allergies to soy of any kind should avoid.
We all know what beeswax is but there are differences in the type. Yellow beeswax is the crude beeswax taken directly from the hive without processing. I'm not really sure why it has been included in glow by Nature Made, but it's generally seen as beneficial additive.
Colors added (including Carmine):
This is where I have an issue. “Colors added” is incredibly vague and I typically do not ingest anything where Carmine is used.
If you don't know what Carmine is, you're in for a shock.
Carmine (also called Crimson Lake, Natural Red 4, among others) is a red pigment extracted from parasitic scale insects such as the cochineal beetle native to South America, Mexico and Arizona.
I know...you'll never look at anything red the same way again. I'm sorry. It's everywhere and has been used in foods and cosmetics forever.
My Experience Taking Glow by Nature Made
Initially, I had bought two bottles (which admittedly are adorable) which is a two month supply. I really wanted to give these supplements a chance since I know that it can take awhile for supplements to work.
However, I only ended up taking glow by Nature Made for 34 days before discontinuing use.
Unfortunately, I did not notice any dramatic difference in the moisture of my skin in that span of time. During the first week I thought that my skin looked a little more luminous than normal, but I honestly think that the idea of taking the supplements acted as a placebo, especially that early on.
The reason I discontinued use at only 34 days was due to the unfortunate fact that the longer I took these supplements the more my skin broke out. I had breakouts in areas I don't normally break out and the breakouts were not minuscule either. In fact, the breakouts I experienced were a lot larger, a lot more red, and they took quite awhile to heal and clear.
It did take awhile for me to discontinue use because I initially attributed the sudden breakouts to a new foundation I had been using, but after discontinuing use of that foundation and waiting over a week, the breakouts still persisted. Finally, I stopped the supplements and almost immediately my skin began to clear up.
Now, I'm not saying that these supplements cause acne...what I am saying is that there is an ingredient contained in the glow by Nature Made supplements that I seem to have some sort of reaction to that causes my skin to break out. I don't eat wheat or soy, so it very well could have been that. Do I know for certain? Absolutely not. It honestly could have been any one or any combination of the included ingredients.
Moreover, since I was unable to take these supplements long enough to see a benefit, I can't say for certain whether they work or whether they're a marketing ploy. What I can say is that within the period of 34 days I did not see any significant difference in the moisture of my skin, and I did not experience a marked improvement is the smoothness, softness, or suppleness of my skin.
I think the idea of taking supplements to support skin health is a fantastic idea in theory, however over-supplementation is becoming a rampant issue and more and more medical professionals are warning against turning to supplements as a cure-all, especially in lieu of a healthy diet (and yes, this includes meat).
I used to be the type of person with shelves full of different supplements for all sorts of things until I did some research and realized that a lot of the supplements I was taking negatively interacted with each other. I was needlessly spending money and putting things in my body that had the potential to be hazardous to my health. Now, I keep it simple and I try to get most of my nutrients from my diet.
The protocol for supplements are very different than over the counter medications or prescription medications. They do not need FDA approval or extensive research or studies to be put on the shelves which is why there are so many companies producing supplements to make a buck. As of 2015 the dietary supplement industry had a GDP (the gross domestic product value) of $18.2 trillion dollars. That's a lot of vitamin sales, and a lot of stuff in our bodies that may be causing more harm than good.
That's not to say that all supplements are bad, and I'm not saying that glow by Nature Made is dangerous, but before you decide whether a supplement is right for you discuss it with your doctor beforehand and be conscientious about who manufactures the supplements you're taking.
Read labels diligently and do research on ingredients, possible side effects or interactions. If I hadn't done my research on glow by Nature Made I would have never known that there was a potential Vitamin A risk involved for Accutane users.
It just goes to show that although supplements may seem healthy, they may not be healthy for you personally.