For many women, doing right by their skin can be a challenge—from adolescence all the way through menopause. Just when those breakouts start to soften in frequency, fine lines begin to set in! It seems like every decade of life presents a new skin-care struggle.
When women hit their 50s, caring for their complexion takes a slightly different strategy. Luckily, a few smart supplements can go a long way in supporting a healthy glow.
Common Mid-Life Skin Changes
Most women hit menopause (the point at which hormonal changes cause the menstrual cycle to come to an end) around age 50. For many women, this period of life brings increasing skin dryness and wrinkles, as the skin loses collagen (the protein that gives it structure) and its ability to hold water, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
One hormone that plays a particularly important role in these changes: estrogen.
“It affects skin thickness and hydration by increasing levels of hyaluronic acid and collagen,” explains Jerrica Sweetnich, N.D., CNS. “Because of this, postmenopausal women who don’t have a lot of estrogen in their system may experience fine lines and skin sagging.”
Must-Have Skin Supplements For Women Over 50
Fortunately, middle-aged women can still do plenty to bolster their skin—especially from the inside out. “Beautiful, glowing skin has everything to do with our internal health,” says Erin Stokes, N.D., medical director at MegaFood.
The following five skin supplements for women can help support more glowing, radiant, and youthful skin for years to come.
Common lifestyle factors, especially diet high in foods like refined carbohydrates and trans fats, cause of a bevy of health concerns—including skin issues—in people of all ages, says Sweetnich.
In addition to eating a nutrient-rich diet, Sweetnich recommends middle-aged women try supplementing with turmeric, which can promote healthy skin by supporting the immune system.
Look for a supplement that specifically calls out curcumin, the active antioxidant in turmeric, as well as black pepper, which is often included in turmeric supplements to support our absorption of curcumin, adds Stokes. (Curcumin is difficult to absorb on its own.)
One supplement in particular Stokes recommends: MegaFood Turmeric Strength for Whole Body, which delivers 481 milligrams of curcumin, as well as tart cherry, raspberry, cranberry, and blueberry for additional skin health-bolstering phytonutrients.
In case you need a quick refresher, the protein collagen helps build connective tissues like tendons, ligaments, skin and muscles. Though we can produce collagen on our own, that production declines as we age.
Given that, taking a collagen supplement can support skin hydration, elasticity, and overall appearance, say Sweetnich, who recommends the supplement to virtually all of her menopausal and postmenopausal patients.
Research supports this move: A study published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, for example, noticed improvements in skin elasticity after just four weeks of collagen supplementation. Another study published in Nutrients, meanwhile, linked 12 weeks of collagen supplementation with improved skin hydration and youthfulness. No wonder it’s one of the most popular skin supplements for women in the game.
3. Vitamin C
Though vitamin C gets most of its props for its immune benefits, it has also (deservingly!) earned praise for its skin-boosting benefits. In fact, high levels of vitamin C are found in different layers of the skin, Sweetnich says.
“Vitamin C is essential for collagen formation,” she explains. “It actually holds the collagen matrix—or the form or collagen—together. As we age, and these vitamin C levels decline, collagen production can be affected.”
Throughout the years, women should emphasize a diet high in vitamin C, eating plenty of C-rich foods, like strawberries, kale, oranges, broccoli, and tomatoes.
Women can also incorporate a vitamin C supplement. (Between 75 and 2,000 milligrams per day is considered safe for women who aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding.) Stokes like MegaFood’s C Defense Gummies, which provide 180 milligrams.
4. Vitamin A
Even if you’ve been a diligent sunscreen-user, years and years of sun exposure takes a toll on your skin, Sweetnich says. That’s why Stokes recommends consuming vitamin A, which works as an antioxidant against UV damage and supports collagen production.
Start by incorporating vitamin A-rich foods—like carrots, peppers, squash, and sweet potatoes—into your diet. (Red, orange, and yellow foods tend to be good sources.) Beyond that, work with your practitioner to find out whether additional vitamin A supplementation can benefit you.
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy type of fat the body needs for everything from muscle activity to cell growth, can help increase moisture on the skin’s surface, says Sweetnich.
In particular, “omega-3s contribute to healthy sebum production, which helps our skin lock in moisture and stay less dry,” adds naturopathic doctor Emaline Brown, N.D., of Healthtopia Clinics in California.
“Ideally, you want to get two grams of EPA and four grams of total omega-3s daily,” Brown says. You can find two types of omega-3s—DHA and EPA—in fatty fish (such as salmon) and shellfish (like mussels and oysters). Some nuts and seeds contain another type of omega-3, called ALA.
You can also get your omega-3 fix from a quality supplement. “Look for one that contains twice the amount of EPA to DHA per serving,” says Brown. Sweetnich likes Nordic Naturals brand.