Skin, Hair and Nail Supplements: An Evidence-Based Approach

Skin Therapy Lett. 2019 Sep;24(5):7-13.


Dermatology supplements, often marketed as “skin, hair, and nail” supplements, are becoming increasingly popular. However, many consumers lack an understanding of the science of dietary supplements or the specifics of the supplement industry. While certain supplements at the right dose in the right population may prove beneficial, the evidence is sparse for many supplements. In addition, the use of some supplements has resulted in serious adverse effects. From a regulatory standpoint, the US FDA recognizes dietary supplements as foods. This distinction has multiple ramifications, including the fact that manufacturers do not need to prove efficacy, safety, or quality prior to sale. Therefore, physicians and consumers must evaluate each supplement ingredient and formulation individually. This article outlines an evidence-based approach to assess dermatology supplements. As a starting point, all supplements should be evaluated for PPIES: purity, potency, interactions, efficacy, and safety.

Keywords: beauty supplements; evidence-based approach; hair; interactions; nails; potency; purity; skin; supplement safety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Dietary Supplements* / standards
  • Drug Contamination
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug and Narcotic Control
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Hair / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Nails / drug effects*
  • Skin / drug effects*