Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a naturally occurring substance in some foods, but it’s also produced in the human body. It contains vitamin-like chemicals popular as the primary antioxidant that protect the skin from inflammation and the damaging effects of free radicals. It is known for its unique ability to exfoliate the skin and to get rid of dead cells, exposing the tighter, brighter and fairer skin underneath (1). It’s these properties that have made ALA popular in the production of skin whitening and lightening products.

Some of the main foods that contain alpha-lipoic acid include liver, yeast, spinach, potatoes, yeast, and broccoli (2).


Astaxanthin is the reddish pigment that is found in some seafood, and feathers of quails and flamingos. It belongs to a group of chemicals known as carotenoids and it causes the pink-red color in lobster, salmon, shrimp, trout, and other seafood (3). Good sources of Astaxanthin include crustaceans and marine algae.

In clinical trials, Astaxanthin has been shown to boost skin moisture levels, skin moisture retention, and elasticity. It promotes skin smoothness, reducing wrinkles and fine lines. Carotenoids are known for their strong photo-protective properties and strong antioxidants activity that increase the skins’ UV blocking properties, and ability to combat effects of free radicals (4).


Beta-carotene is the yellow/orange pigment that is known as carotenoids (5). It gives fruits and vegetables their rich colors. Our bodies convert beta-carotene into Vitamin A which is needed for a healthy skin. Vitamin A protects the skin from the damaging effects of free radicals, and it’s effective in lowering the risk of developing skin cancer (6).

Good sources of beta-carotene include carrots, beef liver, turkey liver, mustard greens, squash, dried basil, peas, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, kales, mangoes, papaya, and more (7). Vitamin A is sometimes used to treat skin disorders such as vitiligo and psoriasis. Some people who are prone to sunburns or those suffering from erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP), can benefit from consumption of beta-carotene supplements (8,9,10).


Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples especially the pineapple stem. It can be used, in combination with other drugs, to treat several skin conditions including acne and psoriasis, but it is very effective in reducing skin inflammation (4). In the body, bromelain is required to facilitate removal of the dead, dry skin cells to reward one with a soft and smooth skin. Bromelain supplementation is particularly useful in people with blemished or dry skin (13).

Bromelain is extracted from the fruit or stem of the pineapple. You can get it in form of a cream, capsule, powder, or tablet. Today, it is used as a diet supplement for inflammation, cancer, muscle soreness, nasal swelling, poor digestion, and osteoarthritis. Topical bromelain which is applied to the skin is used on burns and wounds to facilitate removal of the dead skin (13).

Burdock Root (Arctium Lappa)

Burdock root is an underground tuber of the burdock plant that is used as a vegetable and medicinal herb. Burdock is scientifically known as Arctium lappa. Burdock contains some antioxidants that prevent skin eruptions, acne, and that help to fight scaly skin disorders such as dry scalp and psoriasis. Burdock is also popular for its ability to relieve skin inflammation and bruises (14).

Burdock is a good source of inulin which reduces blood sugar level, and cholesterol levels.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is an endogenous (produced in the body), fat-soluble, vitamin-like compound that is primarily stored in fat tissues in the human body. Coenzyme Q10 is also a powerful antioxidant. It is found in the skin epidermis where it acts, together with other enzymes and non-enzyme compounds, as the first-line barrier to oxidation assault (14).

In essence, coenzyme Q10 protects your skin from photo-aging, boost collagen production, and it energizes your skin (19).

Alternative sources of Coenzyme Q10 include peanuts, whole grains, soy oil, mackerel, sardines, and other oily fish. In animals, it is highly concentrated in the heart, kidney, and liver (14).


Turmeric, scientifically called Curcuma longa, is used worldwide to spice up foods. Curcumin has been proven to exhibit antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-neoplastic, and antioxidant properties (14). Curcumin is also found in small amounts in Ginger (8).

Curcumin is popularly used to treat a vast range of dermatologic disorders. In scientific studies, it has been shown to statistically trigger a significant improvement in patients with psoriasis, skin cancer, and scleroderma (20).

Turmeric protects one’s skin by reducing inflammation and quenching the effects of free radicals through nuclear factor-KB inhibition. It has also been shown to trigger improved collagen deposition, wound healing time, and increased vascular and fibroblast in wounds, thereby enhancing wound healing (14).


d-biotin, also called vitamin H, B7, B8, D-biotin, W Factor or Coenzyme R, is one of the B complex vitamins that can benefit you inside out. It is abundant in the kidney, pancreas, liver, milk, and yeast (9). Like all other B complex vitamins, d-biotin is water soluble (21).

Biotin exceeds its name by enhancing the conversion of foods while making sure that the nervous system, eyes, skin, and the hair remain healthy. It’s particularly effective in fighting skin dryness and irritation (22). Although most people do obtain sufficient amount of d-biotin from dietary sources, there is clinical evidence that supplementation can be extra advantageous to your overall health (23).

Echinacea Purpurea

Echinacea Purpurea (purple coneflower), is a medicinal herb with anti-inflammatory and immunostimulatory properties. It has been scientifically shown to contain constituents that help protect the skin from oxidative stress while improving the skin moisture levels (14).

Echinacea Purpurea boosts the immune system including the anti-tumor cells and stimulates the growth of new tissues for healing wounds. Also, it helps to reduce inflammation in arthritis patients and other skin conditions.

Grape Seed Extract

Grapes are people’s favorite and their leaves and sap have been used for health purposes for centuries. Grape Seed Extract is a mixture of procyanidins and tannins that have anti-estrogenic effects (28).

Evidence shows that grape seed extract help reduces all forms of swelling that is caused by injury (29). Grapefruit extract is best known for its high level of antioxidants, which means it’s very effective in destroying free radicals, helping one to avoid certain chronic illnesses and premature aging.

Green Tea Extract (EGCG)

Green tea extract contains catechins divided into four molecules with EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) being the most potent one (30). This molecule acts as an anti-oxidant, helping to protect the skin from Ultra Violet damage. With EGCG, you get increased collagen content, reduced wrinkles, smoother skin, and a thicker and more elastic epidermis (31).

This supplement can be obtained through drinking green tea or as an alternative supplement that specifies the amount of EGCG per capsule.


Lutein is known as the eye vitamin. It is a carotenoid vitamin that is known to cure vision problems including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (32). It is a potent anti-oxidant that is found in vegetables and in the eyes, especially the retina, lens, and macula. This is the reason most doctors believe that Lutein plays a key role in maintaining a healthy vision.

Lutein, together with zeaxanthin, offer the needed support for the aging macula. Similarly, it’s one of the phytonutrients that protect the skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. (33).


Lycopene is a carotenoid found in fruits, green plants, and vegetables (32). Lycopene has anti-inflammatory properties and it’s a strong antioxidant. Some of the best sources of lycopene include tomatoes, papaya, and watermelons.

Research from various epidemiologic studies shows that taking food rich in lycopene benefits your skin. Lycopene acts as an antioxidant and it’s a powerful free radical quencher, meaning it helps to reduce skin damage (31).


Milk Thistle (Silymarin)

Milk thistle is a unique flowering herb that contains several structural components among them silydianin, silybin, and silicristin. A lot of research has been conducted on these unique phytochemicals to identify their health properties, and Silymarin has been shown to be the most potent.

Silymarin contains three flavonoids, fatty acids, and Vitamin E. These elements offers additional antioxidant benefits that help protect the skin from damage. The fatty acids in Silymarin maintain the skin’s natural moisture while Vitamin E protects the skin from UV radiation (36).


Quercetin is a flavonoid found in many fruits, flowers, grains, and vegetables (34). Buckwheat tea is known to contain large amounts of quercetin, which explains why it is used for medical purposes.

Quercetin exhibits both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It neutralizes free radicals preventing premature aging and it’s also effective against the damaging UV rays. This means that it can keep your skin looking younger and smoother for longer.

Selenium (Sodium Selenate)

Sodium Selenate, a common form of selenium is found in trace quantities in plants, meat, seafood, and in supplements (35). It activates antioxidant enzymes, and it’s linked to an array of health benefits in the body. Researchers have shown that topical application of sodium selenate is 100% effective in lowering incidences of cellulitis in cancer patients (36).

Selenium helps fight cancer, diabetes, skin diseases, thyroid disease and it has been shown to lower the risk of HIV.


Milk thistle (Silymarin) is a unique flowering herb that contains several structural components among them silydianin, silybin, and silicristin. A lot of research has been conducted on these unique phytochemicals to identify their health properties, and Silymarin has been shown to be the most potent.

Silymarin contains three flavonoids, fatty acids, and Vitamin E. These elements offers additional antioxidant benefits that help protect the skin from damage. The fatty acids in Silymarin maintain the skin’s natural moisture while Vitamin E protects the skin from UV radiation (36).


Soy Isoflavones

Soy Isoflavones made up of two compounds called Daidzein and Genistein, fall under a group of chemicals called Bioflavonoids. Soy Isoflavones is derived from soy, and relative to its action in the body, it seems to imitate the hormone estrogen.

Soy Isoflavones have been linked with skin benefits and they improve the skin elasticity, collagen synthesis, increase tissue hydration, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. with a reduction of breast cancer (37). Similarly, isoflavones act as powerful antioxidants that can reverse the appearance of the skin due to aging that may be caused by free radicals caused by UV radiation.

Genistein is the most abundant isoflavones found in the soy product. It resembles the human estrogen, and for this reason, it’s classified as a phytoestrogen but it’s also an antioxidant (26).

Since it’s a phytoestrogen, Genistein mimics estrogen, and for this reason, it can be used to remedy conditions triggered by declining or worsening level of estrogen such as osteoporosis.

Vitamin A (as Beta Carotene)

Beta Carotene is a compound that gives orange and yellow fruits their color. It is also a major ingredient when coloring foods such as margarine (38). In our body, beta-carotene helps to convert Vitamin A (retinol) that is useful in providing a healthy skin and a strong immune system.

High quantities of Vitamin A can be toxic, but the body converts only the required amount of Vitamin A as it needs. It is used as an antioxidant to protect the body from damaging the free radical molecules and keep the skin firm, healthy and radiant.

Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)

Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 (niacin) that is found in different foods such as meat, milk, eggs, yeast, vegetables, fish, and cereal grains. It is also produced in the body especially from foods that contain proteins.

Niacinamide contains two major enzymes (NADH and NADPH) that help in the production of lipids and cellular energy responsible for cell growth. Sufficient supply of both enzymes helps the skin to create external barriers that influence the aging process (40). As we grow older, the level of these enzymes decline, therefore if used as a supplement, vitamin B3 can slow down the aging processes.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is one of the 8 B vitamins that are found in meat, cereal grains, eggs, milk, vegetables, and legumes. Vitamin B5 is commercially available as D-pantothenic acid (41).

When creams, lotions or ointments that contain provitamin B5 are applied to the skin, they are converted to vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) which has strong abilities to soothe, moisturize, and heal the skin.

Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin)

Vitamin B12 refers to Methylcobalamin, the most potent form of this vitamin (42). Methylcobalamin is needed in the body for healthy development of the skin and it boosts the immune and nervous systems.

Fish, meat, dairy products, shiitake mushrooms, and eggs, are the major sources of Vitamin B12. Research shows that meals that contain large amounts of liver are rich sources of vitamin B12. What makes Methylcobalamin unique is that it benefits the skin by reducing dryness, redness, acne, and inflammation. It can also help achieve stronger nails and it reduces hair breakage (43).

Vitamin C - Ascorbic Acid

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is a water-soluble vitamin that is related to glucose. It can be found in citrus fruits and other vegetables (44). In its natural form, Vitamin C acts as a reducing agent in several metabolic processes.

Some studies have shown that Ascorbic acid (45) may help prevent ultraviolet-induced skin damage. Aging and excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays lowers the level of vitamin C in the body (46). Therefore, supplementation might be necessary.

Vitamin D3 (as Cholecalciferol)

Vitamin D3 is a unique dietary supplement that is found in a few foods including oily fish such as tuna, mackerel, and sardines (47). Unlike vitamin D2 which is obtained from the diet, Vitamin D3 (47) is synthesized in the body when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Over time, the ability of the skin to create vitamin D decreases, and this requires the use of Vitamin D3 supplements. It is effective in preventing aging and skin wrinkles.

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

Vitamin E, also called tocopherol, is both an antioxidant and a nutrient. It has a reddish/light brown hue and it’s a key ingredient in most skin care products. Eggs, cereals, vegetables, fruits, meat, and wheat germ oil are the main sources of vitamin E.

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from irritations that may be caused by UV radiation. Some people apply Vitamin E cream on their skin to keep it from aging.

Vitex (Chasteberry) Agnus Cactus

Vitex Agnus cactus, also known as Vitex, Chaste Tree or Chasteberry, has been used for many years to treat premenstrual skin acnes (49). It is a native herb in most parts of Central Asia and the Mediterranean. Seeds and fruits of chasteberry are used to make drugs.

Chaste berry works by regulating women’s reproductive hormones. Its supplement is effective in reducing acne flare-ups that may be caused by changes in hormones.

Yellow Dock

Yellow Dock is a herb that belongs to the knotweed family (50). Its leaves are used as salads while the root is used for medicinal purposes.

Yellow dock powder is used as a skin remedy for conditions such as psoriasis and age spots.


Zinc is one of the essential minerals in the body due to the vital role it plays in gene expression, cell replication, and growth. However, it is its skin health benefits that make it popular (51).

Zinc helps to fight acne, it protects the skin from aging, and it facilitates wound healing. It is also effective in lessening the formation of free radicals.

In the human body, more than 300 different enzyme reactions depend on zinc (52). This shows that most of the metabolic processes that take place in the body require zinc. Most of the cold lozenges and over-the-counter drugs can be used to increase the level of zinc in your body and improve the health of your skin, but dietary supplements are more effective and less risky.