Calling all beauty addicts: can you imagine ditching your anti-ageing lotions
and potions and popping one tiny pill instead?
It might sound too good to be true, but scientists believe we could soon be
swapping our skincare for pill-care. Cosmetics giant L’Oréal and
Smarties-maker Nestlé have pioneered a new ‘miracle’ pill called Innéov
Fermeté. Currently on sale in parts of Europe and South America, it’s proven
to improve skin’s elasticity by 8.7 per cent, which helps prevent wrinkles
So how exactly does it work? Scientists who developed the little red pill
modified lycopene (a red antioxidant pigment found in tomatoes) into a form
more easily absorbed by human body cells and combined it with vitamin C and
isoflavones from soya beans. These three ingredients are potent antioxidants
that help protect skin cells from damage caused by factors such as sunlight
While the UK launch date is currently strictly hush-hush, it’s believed the
pills will cost a pricey £25 for a 10-day supply when they eventually hit
shops over here.
However, popping a beauty pill isn’t a new idea. The concept of so-called
nutricosmetics first appeared in the UK in 1991 with Imedeen – a daily,
nutrient-packed tablet that promised us the kind of healthy-skin glow that a
diet of chips and chocolate couldn’t. Celebs are always the first to catch
on to new trends, including TV presenter Anthea Turner. And whatever you
think of the star you have to agree she’s looking good for her 49 years!
Since then, shelves have become packed with pills promising everything from
glossier hair and perfect nails to banishing under-eye bags. But despite
their increasing popularity, can pills really replace our beauty potions?
“While topically applied products, such as moisturisers, only protect the area
where they’re applied, oral cosmetics work on every cell in your body – so
anyone, of any age, should see noticeable benefits from nutricosmetics,”
explains Dr Aaron Tarbor, co-author of Nutritional Cosmetics: Beauty From
More and more of us are turning to pills that promise to turn back time. One
of the best-selling anti-agers in the UK – with at least 30,000 devotees –
is a collagen-boosting pill called Colladeen that launched last spring
(£14.95 for 60 tablets, Naturesbest.co.uk). Its secret weapon is a pigment
found in dark-skinned fruits that helps firm and plump skin from the inside
out when taken twice a day.
“Women using Colladeen say they’ve noticed less wrinkling in their hands, face
and eyes,” says Dr Sam Christie of Nature’s Best. “It works because pills
kick in quickly – the ingredients enter your bloodstream after 15 minutes.”
Whereas moisturisers don’t always penetrate to the lower layers of your
Nutricosmetics might only currently make up one per cent of all new UK beauty
launches, but the industry is already worth £191million* – its rapid growth
is a sure sign that we’ll all soon be boarding the beauty-pill train. And
they won’t just be helping us get our five-a-day and the face of a 15 year
old. Japan has boob-job biscuits called F Cup Cookies that claim to boost
your assets by giving you a dose of herbal breast enhancer pueraria
mirifica. Brazil stocks the butt-booster, Femimore – a pill and exercise
programme that stimulates growth hormones so you build up tissue and muscle
in the areas you really want it. And scientists in Australia are developing
a pill to turn curly hair straight.
So, what’s the downside? Sceptics’ main worry is that women will ditch a
healthy diet, thinking they can get everything their body needs from a pill.
L’Oréal’s new Innéov Fermeté may contain skin-regenerating lycopene, but
skin therapist Louise Thomas-Minns says: “Lycopene is great for skin, but on
its own won’t give you a fantastic complexion. You need a mix of nutrients
to get the best results.” So don’t skip your greens just yet!
And while we recommend holding on to your topical lotions and products for
now, the nutricosmetics hype is well worth keeping your eyes (and mouth)
Lorraine Perretta of the International Institute for Anti-Ageing believes
pills are the way forward. “Diet and exercise are key,” she says, “but skin
is the last organ in our bodies to get nutrients and these pills give you a
boost that makes all the difference. Why not give yourself every chance to
be as beautiful as you can be?”
5 of the best beauty pills
The one to fake a manicure
Nail Science, £19.95 for 60 pills (Advancednutritionprogramme.com)
This is packed with biotin – a super ingredient known as vitamin H – that’s
essential for strengthening and moisturising nails. After twice-daily use,
91 per cent of people felt their nails were stronger.
The one to stop sagging
Immune Performance Elastifirm Supplement with Alasta, £41 for 60 capsules
Skin-tightening extracts found in the aloe plant help to reduce puffiness and
boost our skin’s elasticity. In tests, it’s been proven to improve the
tautness of skin by 61 per cent after being taken twice daily for 12 weeks.
The one to fade age spots
Dr Perricone Pigment Corrective, £75 for 30 capsules (Perriconemd.co.uk)
This uses pycnogenol, an antioxidant found in bark, to attack those pesky dark
skin spots that appear through age or after too much sun. In studies, 96 per
cent of users had fewer – or less obvious – brown spots after popping one
pill a day for four to eight weeks.
The one to smooth wrinkles
Vinexpert Dietary Supplements, £22.50 for 30 capsules (Caudalie.com)
A combination of grape-seed extract and evening primrose oil are said to help
firm wrinkles and quench thirsty skin. In tests, after taking one pill a day
for 12 weeks wrinkles appeared 53 per cent less visible and 95 per cent of
testers’ skin was firmer and more youthful.
The one to blitz cellulite
CelluScience Anti-Cellulite Beauté Intensive, £177 for a three-month supply
Fish oil, grape-seed extract and ginkgo biloba boost circulation to help break
down and flush away cellulite. In a three-month study, the circumference of
testers’ thighs was reduced by an average of 6.7 per cent, and overall 69
per cent of testers noticed results within 30 days.
- 1.8 million women use beauty pills worldwide*
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERA PRESS, CORBIS,
LANDMARK MEDIA *SOURCE: MINTEL NUTRITIONAL COSMETICS: BEAUTY FROM WITHIN