Dr. Amiya Prasad on the "Pretty Pill"

CBS 2 Has What You Need To Know About Nutri-Cosmetics

by Chris Wragge

April 21, 2010, New York (CBS)- It seems like there’s a pill for every problem. Ache, pain or ailment, just head to the drug store. But would you buy a pill to make you pretty?

Now, it’s an option available right in the vitamin aisle.

CBS 2 HD recently was shown two photos – of women who were said to be identical twins. But for one of the sisters doctors said years of bad habits made her look considerably older.

“The skin in many ways reflects our health,” Dr. Amiya Prasad said.

Smoking and sun exposure are the biggest culprits in making you look older, but there is another contributing factor you may not realize — a poor diet lacking in certain vitamins and minerals.

“Because what you do on the inside does affect your skin,” Dr. Prasad said.

With many people saying they’re too busy to cook and get the proper nutrition, a new product has been developed spawning an industry called nutri-cosmetics. They’re vitamins and other supplements designed specifically to help the skin, hair and nails. They promise to not only keep you looking young, but help reverse some of the damage you may have already done.

“It’s something that we have always known in the spa industry to be beneficial — that nutrition really affects the skin. It is definitely a growing category,” esthetician Caitlin Conn said.

Nutri-cosmetics can contain a whole variety of ingredients that have been proven to help the skin — like lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes than can protect against sun damage. Green tea complex is used for treating acne. Vitamins A and C are essential for the health of collagen, and Omega 3 fatty acids are proven to improve skin texture and softness.

“You can tell people to eat healthy and do the right things, but now you put a product together that bridges that connection. It will probably be easier for people to understand and certainly very convenient,” Dr. Prasad said.

However, Dr. Prasad pointed out multi-vitamins can be equally as beneficial.

“It’s been a way of life, you are what you eat,” Barbara Smith-Hawkins said.

“I’m not going to say how old I am but no one believes how old I am,” added Gail Douglas of Valley Stream, N.Y.

Smith-Hawkins and Douglas are both in their 50s. They said supplements have been a big part of their daily beauty routines for years.

“Vitamin C, green tea, fish oil, vitamin E,” Smith-Hawkins said.

But both women also said they exercise and eat healthy diets, which doctors said are the key to looking your best.

“The pills can’t make you prettier in isolation. Your diet has to be right. You have to exercise. You have to maintain. It’s all about habits,” Dr. Prasad said.

Other good skin habits include managing your stress levels and handling your skin gently when washing or removing makeup.