Here on Esty Talk, we’ve endlessly discussed healthy skin and wellness starting with eating whole foods, practicing mindfulness, and having a good gut microbiome. But one topic not discussed is ingestible skin care. That is, supplementation formulated to increase the health and well-being of the skin. On this episode of ASCP Esty Talk, we discuss what constitutes ingestible skin care and whether it provides more benefit than topical products.
ASCP Esty Talk with hosts Ella Cressman and Maggie Staszcuk
Produced by Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) for licensed estheticians, ASCP Esty Talk is a weekly podcast, hosted by licensed estheticians, Ella Cressman, ASCP Skin Deep Magazine contributor, and Maggie Staszcuk, ASCP Education Specialist. We see your passion, innovation, and hard work, and are here to support you by providing a platform for networking, advocacy, camaraderie, and education. We aim to inspire you to ask the right questions, find your motivation, and give you the courage to have the professional skin care career you desire.
About Ella Cressman:
Ella Cressman is a licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, business owner, ingredient junkie and esthetic cheerleader! As an educator, she enjoys empowering other estheticians and industry professionals to understand skin care from an ingredient standpoint rather than a product-specific view.
In addition to running a skin care practice, Cressman founded a comprehensive consulting group, the HHP Collective, and has consulted for several successful skin care brands.
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About Maggie Staszcuk:
Maggie has been a licensed esthetician since 2006 and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Stephens College. She has worked in the spa and med-spa industry, and served as an esthetics instructor and a director of education for one of the largest schools in Colorado before coming to ASCP as the Cosmetology Education Manager.
Connect with Maggie Staszcuk:
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0:00:00.5 Speaker 1: DMK is the world leader in paramedical skin revision education with certification programs designed to give licensed professionals a thorough understanding of the skin and an in-depth study of the DMK concept of remove, rebuild, protect, maintain. Created by the botanical visionary Danné Montague-King, DMK offers skin revision training and education for all ages, skin conditions, and ethnicities in more than 35 countries, harnessing the body's innate healing mechanisms to change the health of the skin. Learn more at dannemking.com. That's D-A-N-N-E-M-K-I-N-G.com.
0:00:48.7 Speaker 2: You are listening to ASCP Esty Talk, where we share insider tips, industry resources, and education for estheticians at every stage of the journey. Let's talk 'cause ASCP knows, it's all about you.
0:01:04.5 Maggie Staszcuk: Hello and welcome to ASCP's Etsy Talk. I'm your co-host, Maggie Staszcuk, and ASCP's cosmetology education manager.
0:01:11.3 Ella Cressman: And I'm Ella Cressman, licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, ingredient junkie, and content contributor for Associated Skin Care Professionals. Hey, Maggie.
0:01:20.0 MS: What's up, Ella?
0:01:22.2 EC: We've got another shout out. So we want to shout out the Healthy Esty and that is Ally, and we wanna say thank you for listening and we are glad that this is your go-to podcast while on the treadmill. Keep on walking.
0:01:34.1 MS: Keep on keeping on.
0:01:37.2 EC: Yes.
0:01:38.9 MS: So, here on Esty Talk, we have discussed endlessly about healthy skin and wellness, starting with eating whole foods, practicing mindfulness, having good health microbiome, but one topic not discussed is ingestible skin care. That is supplementation formulated to increase the health and well-being of the skin. And I have to say I'm a huge fan of supplements, I take them all the time, two or three at any given time, but I will admit I've never subscribed to supplementation for better skin health. How about you?
0:02:14.5 EC: Never.
0:02:15.6 MS: Never.
0:02:16.4 EC: For the intention... So you're taking supplements for overall health?
0:02:21.1 MS: Yes.
0:02:22.4 EC: Not specifically for skin health.
0:02:23.0 MS: Yes. Or gut health, I'd say. Yeah.
0:02:24.0 EC: Yeah. I would say that. I did. [chuckle]
0:02:29.0 MS: You bought into it.
0:02:30.6 EC: I sucker. Yes I did. From a couple of different brands because I was... It was like, maybe a couple of years ago and I was like, "I'm getting... " Just like the normal 35-year-old drama. "I'm getting wrinkles. I haven't had kids yet. Am I successful enough? I need these vitamins from this company."
0:02:46.0 MS: You need some supplements.
0:02:49.3 EC: Yeah. [chuckle] Also I use... I do use collagen in my coffee every day because I'm like, whatever, it's right there, why not? So I have been suckered or participated in this but absolutely for the sole purpose of skin, not for overall health.
0:03:08.3 MS: Well, you're not suckered if it's working, Ella.
0:03:10.6 EC: I don't know that it is.
0:03:11.3 MS: Okay. Well, we're gonna discuss.
0:03:13.3 EC: Yeah.
0:03:14.5 MS: So a quick Google search will prove that beauty supplements, and they go by a lot of other names like Nature Cosmetics are one, they're having a moment right now and they are promising to make you glow from the inside out. Ella's gonna tell us if that's true.
0:03:28.8 EC: Well, I think if it's Radeon ____ or something like that, you'll definitely glow. But I think there is a little difference. I think any time you're healthy internally, you're healthy externally. And so, I think it does work. And also the ritual of it, there's something to be said for that metaphysical part, that spiritual, like, "I'm taking care of myself," even if it's water pills or something like that.
0:03:49.6 MS: Yeah. For me, there's no ritual with taking supplements.
0:03:53.2 EC: What is your...
0:03:54.3 MS: You're like, "Oh shoot. [laughter] It's 10:00 AM and I didn't take my calcium." Yeah that's true. I do forget sometimes.
0:04:03.2 EC: Yeah. I think, speaking of calcium, we also need to understand that as we age, our skin depletes natural nutrients, glutathione, calcium, hyaluronic acid. So supplementing with that is the same support we're providing our bodies with glucosamine or brain stimulating adaptogens. Same thing. So I think, won't hurt doing it inside and outside. But first of all, what exactly constitutes ingestible skin care? So, ingestible skin care, let's define it. It's formulated as a powder, a capsule, or a pill. So this is not... We're not talking about... Well, I guess it's ingestible sorta. [chuckle] And it also has to contain beneficial ingredients and you'll see them for the hair, skin, and nails. I've taken biotin before. Right now it's not working because my nails are so brittle, I have no idea what's going on, but it's interesting. But I've talked before about my hair and how... Thinning and things. So I've tried a lot of different things. And other common ingredients that you take for ingestible skin care are vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin A, niacinamide or vitamin B, biotin, and any kind of other anti-oxidants.
0:05:18.1 MS: So a lot of the common things that you just find in just standard vitamins.
0:05:21.3 EC: Broccoli?
0:05:21.7 MS: Yeah, in our healthy foods, right?
0:05:23.8 EC: Yeah. And I think that's the thing. So the difference between skin-intended supplements and overall wellness supplements is the marketing.
0:05:32.8 MS: Okay. Marketing. I don't know, it's interesting, because we talk about these supplements being specifically formulated for hair, skin, and nails, and maybe that is just marketing, or is it that you do find some of these ingredients also just in a general vitamin. You know what I mean?
0:05:52.4 EC: Yeah. Yeah. So are they in both? I think it's marketing to be honest. Working on the back end with some companies, I think that it's marketing, clever marketing.
0:06:00.5 MS: Yeah. Yeah, it's true. Because it doesn't mean they have a direct effect on the skin, maybe they do.
0:06:05.3 EC: I would say a secondary effect, probably.
0:06:08.1 MS: Secondary effect. Yeah. Totally true. So to directly benefit the skin, you need a product that will be used by the skin and directly absorbed by the skin, which is what we do as estheticians. We apply all these great products topically, we use devices to drive them down into the skin and get benefit. So then here we come out with all of these ingestible "skin care products", which are supplements in whatever form, and hoping that it's then being absorbed and utilized by the skin, but we don't have a device that's gonna drive it deeper or make sure that this giant organ covering our entire body is really utilizing it, right?
0:06:45.5 EC: Right.
0:06:47.8 MS: So how do we know it's working? We don't.
0:06:49.5 EC: We have faith. [chuckle]
0:06:51.0 MS: Yeah.
0:06:51.6 EC: We know it's working by visual changes, I would say. So mostly where I work, we don't know if it's preventative. We can assume that that's the contributing factor. In corrective work, we can see. We can see it's changing, we can see that dark spot's getting lighter, we can see there's less inflammation in the skin, and we can see that the sebum has been regulated, we can see that it appears that the microbiome is balanced now, and so that can all be attributed to topical nutrients, which is what, vitamin C, one of the most popular skincare ingredients, or hyaluronic acid, we're supplementing that way. The other part I think is interesting, when we look at, do ingestible skin care products provide more benefits than topical skin care products, I think we have to understand that to your point, Maggie, you're working from the top to the bottom, right? We're working externally to internally. And so we're shimmying our little way past all these dead skin cells to try to get to stratum basale, where there's the base basal layer where they're starting.
0:08:01.0 EC: However, if you we were starting from the inside out, we would have... The DNA code would be written in a way that we would have the strongest ones starting, like the best odds, the strongest little cells starting from the basic layer. So they'll be full of things like calcium or other nutrients that are inside the cell from the get, and then as they're digesting their way or sloughing their way to the top, we would be supplementing from that way. So I think there is somehow a correlation. So how does supplementations work from within?
0:08:33.9 EC: So sometimes they can be delivering active agents straight into the bloodstream, which is feeding the brain, and the heart and so on. And so that's sending those messages to the cells that says, "Hey, there's actually a... " It's transcription factor, it's what it's called. So there is the message, this is how I imagine it happening. "Hey, I need you to start now and I need you to get it together, it's time to wake up and go," like maybe a military or something like that. So where healthy cells are very militant, they're on a schedule, a routine, kind of like how you take supplements, and they're producing on a regular cadence. And then later in life, they slow down and they're more like sluggish, hanging out on the couch, waking up after 9:00 AM and doing whatever, sometimes cleaning, sometimes not. That's what I imagine the active cells would look like if they are were people.
0:09:27.9 EC: So how does that work? I think there is a lot of information that talks about... Of course, FDA doesn't regulate internals or topicals, but there's a lot of information and studies on some of these components. And many dermatologists argue that scientifically researched ingredients applied topically will give you more bang for the buck, right?
0:09:50.1 MS: Yeah.
0:09:50.5 EC: I wonder why that is. It might be because those are easier to capture in some of these advanced equipments. When they're doing these studies, they're using chromatography or heat sensors, and so they can visually see, "I did this, and therefore this happened."
0:10:06.4 MS: I think that's it. I think you nailed it. You can visually see and measure the change as opposed to just taking something internally and it's not just being delivered to one thing. It's absorbed into the bloodstream and being shared across all your organs or all of your cells, if you will. Disperse, so it's not dispersed.
0:10:28.3 EC: Yeah, or like as...
0:10:29.5 MS: Thank you.
0:10:30.1 EC: As intentional. It's not as directed, or as pointed as these other ones. So the name says it all, this is supplemental to your daily topical regimen. It's not in place of. So it's not to say, "You know what, I've got this kick-butt multivitamin so I don't need my moisturizer tonight." This is supplementation, it's working as a team, and I think that's how you gotta think of it.
0:10:52.9 MS: Yeah, I came across a survey that I wanna share with you, it was performed by Lycored, and it suggests that ingestible skincare is a growing consumer demand. So first, who is Lycored? Lycored actually produces supplements. So it's possible that the survey is a little bit biased. I'm sure you can agree.
0:11:15.9 EC: I think it was funny the way that article was written too, it says, "A study performed by... " [chuckle]
0:11:21.8 MS: Yeah.
0:11:22.1 EC: And I was like, "Oh, is this is a study or is this a survey?"
0:11:27.0 MS: Right, exactly. Yeah, so knowing who's putting out the survey, whenever you're doing any kind of research is important. Also, I thought it was interesting too, they only surveyed 480 people. So this is a really, really small sampling to then come out and state that the demand for ingestible skincare is growing. 480 people is nothing. Interestingly enough, they performed the survey first in 2017 and then repeated it in 2022 with the same sample size to measure if there's any changes in consumer demand. And basically what they determined is that ingestible skincare is now part of the mainstream as far as consumers and treating their skin, and also that men were a prime market, I think that's interesting also. I don't know if that means that men are just more interested in trying new things, or if men are gullible or if this seems like an easy fix in terms of taking care of their skin.
0:12:23.0 EC: Or if this was skewed, because I think men are able to adhere to routine better. So they wake up, 'cause they don't... This is very generalizing, but they don't have as much thing... They don't have as much going on as we do. I think they wake up and they... They're single tracked, I think that's been proven. They have an ability to focus, where we have to think about all the things we have to do. We cast a net, they shoot a bullet. We cast a net and they just grab with their hand. So I think that, they... "Okay, I'm gonna wake up, I'm gonna get up, I'm gonna take a glass of water and I'm gonna take my supplements. And these supplements are going to lend to my vitality," which is another thing that that might be, why men like this because they're very concerned about vitality.
0:13:07.2 MS: Yeah, I can accept the concept that it is part of their regimen, so it's easy for them to adopt, but washing your face every day is a regimen also. So I don't know that I can accept the fact that men are prime market for supplements because it's gonna care for their skin.
0:13:25.1 EC: Ah, yeah, I guess...
0:13:25.9 MS: You know what I mean?
0:13:26.3 EC: Yeah, 100%. Let's write them a letter. "Hey, Lycored... "
0:13:31.6 MS: Yeah.
0:13:31.7 EC: Or how do you pronounce it?
0:13:32.8 MS: They're wrong, we're right.
0:13:33.1 EC: I'm curious. I'm curious.
0:13:35.6 MS: Show's over.
0:13:38.4 EC: Yeah. I think it's interesting the way the article even starts out, it says, "Ingestible skin care is becoming increasingly popular among a new generation of consumers." And the first sentence says, "A study by Lycored has... " And I might be pronouncing... Fully botching it. "Has found demand for these products is rising as people take a more holistic approach to skin." To me, those two things feel very intentionally targeted. We're saying, "Hey, guess what, all the young people like this and it's a thing."
0:14:07.9 MS: Yeah.
0:14:08.0 EC: And so people are picking up and interested. So I would be curious, I would wanna ask more question of this because they say it's a study, and then it's not, it's actually a survey. So I wanna know more, who are these people? Are these their customers? Because there might be an influence there, so...
0:14:27.1 MS: Yeah, it's biased for sure. I mean, they say that consumers... The outcome of this survey or study, whatever it is, says that consumers are far more interested in feeling healthy than in looking younger, which also is kind of a contradiction. So if we're talking about taking care of the health of our skin and using a supplement means younger and/or healthy looking skin, it's almost one and the same, being healthy and caring for our skin means that you would have young healthy looking skin. I don't know.
0:15:00.9 EC: Right. Either way, I think there's a shift in the market to moving away from pharmaceuticals towards holistic, so there might be an opportunity to, I don't wanna say take advantage, but to hop on this and look at, "You said you wanted natural, you said you wanted holistic, and here you can be natural and holistic if you take these supplements, and you're gonna look good doing so, specifically for skin." The other thing, if we look at 10 years ago, 15 years ago, I've been around long enough to see... Remember the skincare lines that had supplements back then?
0:15:31.0 MS: I do, yeah.
0:15:32.2 EC: And what do you see now? There's a crazy increase in liquid collagen that you can drink that's part of a skincare line or supplements that are part of a professional skincare line, because there is that pointed correlation that that's inside out too, but we see it more and more. And I guess that would beg the question of, is that within our scope of practice?
0:15:56.5 MS: Yeah, I think you're so right, and I think you nailed it too with this shift towards a more holistic or whole body approach to having good skin, whether that's younger or feeling healthy or whatever it is.
0:16:13.3 EC: I think that we have to be careful too, because I've seen other estheticians online that will say, "Here's this picture, can you guys help me with this?" And they'll be like, "He needs zinc," or "She needs probiotics." And those are good things, but do we say that? Or are we saying, "I'm sure you gotta come in... " Unless we're naturopaths or certified nutritionists, can we say, "I'm gonna give you this topical product and I'm gonna give you this multi-vitamin because you need this for a holistic approach to your skin."
0:16:46.2 MS: Right. Yeah, I think it's a very fine line because as you said earlier, supplementation is not regulated. So I think it's one thing to say, you know, "I suggest X, Y, Z supplement." It's another thing to say, "You should take this supplement because it's going to cure your acne."
0:17:05.8 EC: Mm-hmm. Because you also don't know, as an esthetician. You can suggest that they talk to... Well, we talked about this before, suggest that they talk to their doctor about it because you don't know what else they've got going on, what pharmaceuticals they might be on, what their family history is, what allergies they have. So that's another thing. That makes me nervous. I do have those conversations with my clients, "Hey, have you thought about this? Another client of mine has had great results with that." And I used to sell a lot of CBD, ingestible CBD, because it makes sense for me based on who I am, what I do.
0:17:38.5 EC: And I would sell a lot of it, but I was very careful for a lot of reasons, and I think that might be why I'm a little cautious now, because it was such a... You were magnified, people were really looking at you, so you had to be very careful what you said. You couldn't say heal, you couldn't say cure, you couldn't say these things. You said... You had to explain why this might help you calm down, because this and this and that... "Because you're anxious, you might be getting... Experiencing breakouts because of adrenal, maybe, it's just a hypothesis. So here's some, you might want." That's where I come from.
0:18:15.5 MS: Yeah, I agree with you. And I think it also never hurts too. And we're talking about supplementation, if that's something that you want to offer or carry in your practice and you're able to, depending on your state's rules and regulations, that you always follow up that conversation with something along the lines of, "Check in with your doctor."
0:18:34.3 EC: Yes.
0:18:36.3 MS: Now listeners, we wanna hear from you. Are you selling or recommending ingestible skincare to your clients and have seen an improvement in their skin? Share your thoughts with us on social media by commenting on our Instagram or Facebook posts or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for listening to ASCP Esty Talk, and for more information on this episode, or ways to connect with Ella and myself, or to learn more about ASCP, check out the show notes.
0:19:01.1 S2: Thanks for joining us today. If you like what you hear and you want more, subscribe. If you wanna belong to the only all-inclusive association for estheticians that includes professional liability insurance, education, industry insights and an opportunity to spotlight your sick skills, join at ascpskincare.com. Only 259 per year for all this goodness. ASCP knows, it's all about you.Page Break