Skin Supplements

  • Medicine Cabinet Spotlight: Our Pharmacist’s Must-Have Pharmaca Products

    group shotEvery day at Pharmaca, our health care practitioners recommend remedies for customers from all walks of life. But what do they take home with them? We asked Jami Sheth, pharmacist at our Pacific Palisades location, for her must-have Pharmaca products.

    Metagenics Omegagenics EPA-DHA 720
    “Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most researched nutritional supplements on the market right now. The list of benefits are extensive. The reason I take 4 capsules of these daily is to help reduce inflammation and to optimize memory, learning and cognitive function.”

    Pure Encapsulations B12 liquid 1000 mcg
    “B12 deficiency is overwhelmingly common especially amongst vegetarians and vegans. My last blood work showed I was deficient, so I started supplementing with a liquid form that I could keep in my purse. This methylated formulation is the active form of B12, which assists the liver in removing toxins from the body and is the perfect antidote to low energy and lack of mental clarity.”

    Designs for Health Vitamin D Supreme
    Most people are deficient, and despite living in southern California, my latest blood work showed I was, too. Vitamin D regulates thousands of genes in our bodies. I use it to keep my immune system at peak and my mood high. What I love about this formulation is that it is blended with vitamin K2 which provides a synergistic balance that enhances bone health and prevents overdose of vitamin D.

    Thorne Research CystePlus
    “Once inside the body, it is converted into glutathione (also known as “the master antioxidant”). It’s responsible for helping the liver remove toxins as well as recycling other antioxidants. I use it to lift brain fog or to break down mucus when I have a cold.”

    jane iredale PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation
    “My favorite compact powder! Makeup from jane iredale is beloved for their lack of irritating chemicals. This foundation provides a natural finish with built-in SPF protection and does not clog my pores.”

    SpaRitual Nail Lacquer in In The Buff
    “Nude nails are the current rage and create the perfect clean esthetic for both work and evening wear. These lacquers are formulated without DBP, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and are 100% vegan. They have all the benefits of a professional-grade lacquer without the toxic components of standard polishes!”

  • Why We Love Sea Buckthorn—and its Omega-7—for Beautiful Skin

    PrettySkinWhether you apply it topically or add it to your diet, there’s a lot to love about these tiny, bright orange berries. Valued for their healing properties for centuries and packed with omega-7, sea buckthorn has become the latest sought-after ingredient in the quest for glowing, healthy skin.

    “I recommend Sea Buckthorn for all sorts of skin issues,” explains Pharmaca esthetician Leah Benyamin. “It’s particularly helpful in keeping your skin hydrated, and unlike other oils, it’s not inflammatory.”

    Sea Buckthorn oil, which is made by squeezing the small berries through a press, is a true skin multi-tasker, according to Benyamin. For oily skin types, it can help balance and reduce the skin’s oil production. And for aging skin types, it can help repair damage from free radicals and help diminish hyperpigmentation.

    With an array of skin-beneficial vitamins, Sea Buckthorn berries contain three times the vitamin A of carrots and 10 times the vitamin C of oranges. And it’s one of the few plants to offer both ascorbic acid (water-soluble vitamin C) and ascorbyl palmiate (fat-soluble vitamin C), which means it’s better absorbed than ascorbic acid alone.

    Second only to wheat germ as a source of vitamin E, Sea Buckthorn is also a rich source of beta carotene, as you can tell by its bright orange color. And because it’s also high in antioxidants, many people drink it as a juice or take it as a supplement, according to Benyamin, who is also an herbalist and certified nutrition consultant.

    To get glowing, healthy skin from the inside out, consider incorporating some of Benyamin’s favorite Sea Buckthorn products into your daily diet and beauty routine.

    Evan Healy Sea Algae Serum

    Sea buckthorn oil, seaweed, algae and CO Q-10 combine for a silky, sheer firming treatment designed to nourish skin damaged by sun, pollutants, aging or inflammation.

    Genesis Today Organic Sea Buckthorn Liquid

    With a tongue-tingling, slightly sour flavor, this juice is the world's first 100% pure, unfiltered, undiluted sea buckthorn berry juice with 30,000 mg of sea buckthorn in every fluid ounce.

    Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Oil

    With oil from both the Sea Buckthorn berry and seed, this intensive moisturizing body oil is packed with essential fatty acids that replenish vital moisture, while pro-vitamin A and vitamin E soften and protect your skin.

    New Chapter Supercritical Omega-7

    Often recommended for great skin, this supplement also said to promote a healthy digestive system and provide respiratory support.

    <p class=”italic”>Speak with a Pharmaca practitioner about your health and beauty questions.</p>

  • Coconut Oil’s Beauty Benefits

    coconutBake with it, take it by the spoonful or smear it on dry elbows: No matter how you use coconut oil, you’ll find that it’s chock full of healthy benefits, due in part to its high content of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).

    What are MCTs? First, let’s talk about what they’re not—they’re not long chain triglycerides (LCTs), which are the most abundant fat found in nature and the source of 98 percent of our dietary fat. LCTs are digested slowly and stored in fat deposits; MCTs, on the other hand, are digested quickly and used for immediate energy. MCTs also contain fatty acids that benefit immunity.

    Coconut oil has the highest naturally occurring MCT content, making it a great source of MCTs for both internal and external benefits:

    • Coconut oil nourishes connective tissues, keeping skin healthy and smooth, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and promoting even skin tone.
    • Coconut fats are deeply moisturizing and reduce moisture loss through skin pores.
    • Coconut oil’s antioxidant-like activity provides protection from the aging effects of free radicals.
    • Coconut oil contains fatty acids (e.g. lauric acid) with strong disinfectant and anti-microbial properties, meaning it can help prevent infection when used internally or applied topically to wounds.
    • The lauric acid in coconut oil is also a great mouth disinfectant. Try swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil for 15 minutes (then spitting into the trash) for a brighter smile and enhanced oral health.
    • Coconut and palm kernel oils contain vitamin E—a powerful antioxidant that’s essential for skin growth and repair, protection from cracking, prevention of premature aging and wrinkling, and enhanced sun tolerance.
    • Proteins in coconut oil contribute to cellular health and tissue repair, providing relief for skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.


    Our coconut oil and MCT-filled favorites:

    Barlean’s MCT Swirl – A daily liquid supplement that features the delicious taste and texture of a coconut smoothie—as well as important omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA.

    Coconut Oils from Nature’s Way and Jarrow Formulas – Choose from a number of multi-use products that are made from pure, organic coconuts. Great for daily supplementation, cooking, and skin and hair care!

    Pharmaca brand Organic Coconut & Vanilla Lip Balm Our very own delicious, nourishing and moisturizing lip balm made with certified organic coconut oil.

    Eminence’s Coconut Age Corrective MoisturizerThis ultra-hydrating, pH-balancing and toning organic face cream is made with coconut oil and coconut water, natural retinol, green apple stem cells and shea butter.

    MyChelle’s Sun Shield SPF 28 Coconut Nourishing broad-spectrum mineral sun protection featuring coconut and palm kernel oils, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

    Nubian Heritage’s Coconut Papaya Deodorant An effective natural deodorant with coconut oil to keep underarm skin moisturized and soft.

    Elemental Herbs’ All Good Organic Coconut Skin FoodOrganic, unrefined coconut oil for all-over moisturizing skin scents like lavender or lemongrass!

    Creative uses for coconut oil

    Use as an all-over moisturizer - Deep condition hair - Use as a cuticle soother to improve nail health - Try it as a shave oil - Run a small dab through wet hair to eliminate frizz - Remove makeup - Clear up cold sores with coconut’s anti-viral properties - Use as a massage oil - Combine with salt or sugar to make the perfect exfoliant - Use as diaper cream for baby’s bottom - Decrease stretch marks during pregnancy - Use as an after-sun soother - Use as a carrier base for essential oils (e.g. natural perfume or natural bug repellant) - Use in dips, spreads, sauces or add to food and smoothies - Swap it for butter or vegetable oil in baking and cooking

  • Healthy Winter Skin Strategies

    Happy woman outside in winterAh, winter. Season of hot cocoa, warm scarves...and dry skin! But it's not just the skin on our face that can suffer during the season of indoor heat—our feet, hands and lips can also experience extra dryness. Here are a few tips for smoothing, hydrating, sloughing and softening every little part of you.

    First, let's start with the basic rules for staying hydrated during the winter: Drink plenty of water, run the humidifier often and up your intake of omega fatty acids through diet or supplementation. "I recommend fish oil year round, but particularly in the winter because of its healing properties," says Tammara Denninger, esthetician at our new Greenwood Village store. "And I make sure my fish oil has omega-7 in it, which is especially good at feeding and protecting skin."

    So how do we tackle individual dry skin problem areas?


    "People think during winter you don't need sunscreen," says Tammara, "but it's important year round." She recommends Sanitas' Solar Block SPF 30, filled with sun-blocking minerals and hyaluronic acid, which helps bind moisture to the skin. She adds that Solar Block is great for all skin types, from extra dry to skin that's prone to breakouts. And, of course, don't forget about a daily moisturizer that's good for your specific skin type.


    In the height of cold and flu season, it's good to wash your hands frequently. But using hot water—which we have a tendency to do when worried about germs—can strip natural moisture from our hands. Tammara recommends keeping water temperatures to warm, and applying a hydrating cream right afterwards. "I like keeping evanhealy's Whipped Shea Butter with Olive Leaf on hand for extra moisture—hands, lips, heels, everything!" says Tammara. "It's really hydrating, healing and protecting during the winter."


    "I've been really hooked on Pacifica's Color Quench Lip Tint," says Tammara. "It provides a really natural color, but its base ingredient is coconut oil, so it's also really hydrating." And don't forget to apply sun protection to lips as well (try Supergoop's SPF 30+ Lip Balms), since winter sun can do serious damage to the delicate skin.


    Make sure you're exfoliating regularly with a foot file, then slather on a cream infused with shea butter, since that's especially good for the cracked and dry skin you sometimes find on heels and toes--find it in Nubian Heritage's Raw Shea Butter Body Butter.

    Get help nourishing your winter skin from a Pharmaca practitioner.

  • Inside Out Beauty: Supplements for Skin Concerns

    Young caucasian woman receiving a head massageConcerned about dry skin? Perhaps wrinkles, fine lines or acne have been your concern. Read on to learn about supplements and strategies for restoring your skin to radiant health.

    The first step to preventing and reversing dry skin, of course, is making sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of healthy liquids. The following supplements may also help.

    Sea buckthorn berries contain more than 190 biologically active compounds, including vitamins, amino acids, folic acid, tocopherols, flavonoids and an omega 7 fatty acid that provides antioxidant protection, anti-aging and health support. Try Genesis Today’s Sea Buckthorn 100 liquid or New Chapter’s Supercritical Omega 7.

    Omega-3s—and EPA in particular—are essential for healthy skin because they help regulate oil production. Try Nordic Naturals’ Ultimate Omega or EPA Xtra.

    Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally occurring component in skin that helps maintain its moisture, but production decreases with age. Try supplementing with Hyaluronic Acid from Pure Encapsulations or Jarrow Formulas.

    When pores become blocked with excessive keratin or sebum—often a result of a hormone imbalance—it can cause bacteria overgrowth and promote inflammation. If you’re experiencing acne, I recommend a whole foods diet and avoiding sugar, milk and fried foods, especially those with trans fats. Proper supplementation may also help keep acne under control.

    Zinc is vital to normal skin function and wound healing. Try Jarrow Formulas’ Zinc Balance or Thorne Research’s Zinc Picolinate.

    Vitamin E and selenium are beneficial antioxidants for controlling acne. Try Bluebonnet’s Vitamin E 400IU + Selenium.

    Proper intestinal flora balance is critical in controlling skin breakouts; try supplementing with a probiotic containing both lactobacillus and bifidobacteria with at least 5-10 CFUs per day. I recommend Pharmax’s HLC Intensive or Pharmaca brand Acidophilus & Bifidus.

    A green foods supplement can be a good way to add a flavonoid-rich, plant-based antioxidant formula to your daily regimen. Try Paradise Herbs’ ORAC-Energy Greens or Health Force Nutritionals’ Vitamineral Green.

    Wrinkles naturally develop over time as collagen, keratin and elastin production decreases, and loss of fat cells weakens the structure of skin and its ability to retain moisture. In addition to wearing sunscreen, getting adequate hydration, and eating a whole food-based diet, you can further support your skin by supplementing with collagen or formulas that support your body’s own production of collagen.

    Try Reserveage Organics' Ultra Collagen Booster or NeoCell's Super Collagen + C Type 1 & 3 for quality sources of collagen. Natural Factors’ BioSil is a good way to boost collagen production, and is clinically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and increase skin elasticity.

    Under eye circles
    What exactly causes dark under-eye circles? Some of our thinnest skin is around the eye and the area is susceptible to showing the inflow and outflow of fluids. Many different imbalances can contribute to under-eye circles, including allergies, sinus infections or colds, food sensitivities, anemia, hormone disruptions, kidney issues, toxicity, adrenal fatigue or lack of sleep. Check with your practitioner to rule out more serious issues. Here are a few suggestions, depending on the cause of dark circles:

    Allergies: I recommend quercetin, a bioflavonoid known to support healthy histamine levels and allergy responses. Try Pharmaca brand Quercetin or MegaFood’s Quercetin Strength. I also recommend a neti pot to help relieve fluid build-up related to circles. Try Himalayan Institute’s Neti Pots and Salts.
    Anemia: Try MegaFood’s Blood Builder or Floradix’s Iron + Herbs.
    Sleep: Try Pharmaca brand Sleep Formula or Gaia Herbs’ Sleep Thru.
    Adrenal fatigue: Try MegaFood’s Adrenal Strength or Vital Nutrients’ Adrenal Support.

    Speak with a Pharmaca practitioner about supplements for beautiful skin.

  • Collagen Support for Your (Already) Beautiful Skin

    Underneath our skin there’s a process happening every day: It’s collagen production, and it helps keep our skin plump, our tendons flexible and our bones strong. Indeed, collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the human body.

    “Collagen provides structural support for the bones, skin and ligaments,” says Dr. Tori Hudson, ND, a member of Pharmaca’s Integrative Health Advisory Board. But with the normal aging process, there is also a normal loss of collagen, she says. In fact, decreased collagen production can begin as early as our mid 20s, and, by some estimates, our total collagen makeup decreases by as much as 1.5 percent per year. “That manifests in all of us as skin wrinkles to some degree or another,” Dr. Hudson says.

    Dr. Hudson adds that the loss of collagen can be exacerbated by the decrease in estrogen that comes with the onset of menopause in women. Smoking, sun exposure and dry climates can also aggravate the effects of collagen loss. In these cases, Dr. Hudson says, supplementing with collagen support for the skin can be a good preventive strategy.

    So how do we support our own collagen production? “This protein called collagen is dependent on certain nutrients,” Dr. Hudson says. Vitamin C actually increases collagen growth, she says, and vitamin E can help rebuild collagen and prevent oxidative stress. Amino acids such as threonine and proline are also essential to collagen production.

    That’s where supplementation comes in. Here are a few different ways to boost collagen.

    Vitanica’s Luminous: Formulated by Dr. Hudson, this combination formula features vitamins A, C and E, calcium and other ingredients specifically designed to support skin, hair and nails.

    NeoCell Super Collagen +C Type 1 & 3: Supplementing with this type of hydrolyzed collagen (along with vitamin C) can increase the density and growth of collagen fibers.

    Natural Factors’ BioSil: Made of choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid, this complex helps active the biological pathways that generate collagen.

    Of course, a standard supplement regimen, including omega-3s, vitamin D, antioxidants and probiotics are also vital to overall health, as well as the health of the skin.

    Speak with a Pharmaca practitioner about other ways to support your skin health.  

  • Boost Your Skin Health from the Inside Out

    From our friends at Pure Encapsulations

    There are a number of different nutrients that provide key building blocks to support skin elasticity and hydration, healthy hair, and nail strength and thickness. Vitamin C, zinc, copper, manganese and silica are integral collagen and keratin cofactors, promoting skin elasticity. Vitamin C also supports skin resiliency and helps counter the effects of oxidative stress. Niacinamide and zinc promote immune function and healthy inflammatory balance in the skin. The proanthocyanidins in grape seed extract help to stabilize collagen and elastin by moderating the proteolytic enzymes collagenase and elastase. Clinical studies have indicated that the B vitamin biotin may adjust the cellular arrangement of the nail bed, helping to reinforce the keratin structure, promote strength and thickness, and reduce splitting.*

    In addition to supporting healthy skin, hair and nails, most water-soluble B vitamins also play a metabolic role in the conversion of carbohydrates, fat and protein into energy, and in the maintenance of muscle tone. Biotin in particular is an essential co-factor for a number of metabolic carboxylation reactions. Biotin forms a covalent bond to the following carboxylase enzymes: pyruvate carboxylase for glucose metabolism, acetyl-CoA carboxylase for fatty acid oxidation, and propionyl-CoA carboxylase and ß- methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase for amino acid metabolism. A clinical study reported that high dose administration of biotin helped promote healthy glucose metabolism. Biotin may also act to promote transcription and translation of glucokinase, an enzyme found in the liver and pancreas that participates in the metabolism of glucose to form glycogen. In addition, a double-blind study reported that biotin supplementation may promote healthy lipid metabolism. Furthermore, recent studies have expanded biotin's metabolic role, claiming that the vitamin maintains healthy genetic expression of the many enzymes for which it is a cofactor.*

    Pharmaca offers Pure Encapsulations’ Biotin 8 mg, Polyphenol Nutrients and B-Complex Plus products, which deliver the nutrients described above and provide the wide-ranging support needed to promote optimal health, inside and out.

    When you order Pure Encapsulations' supplements, you will receive the highest quality nutritional supplements and health information available. Ingredient quality, manufacturing excellence and quality control are their most important priorities.

    *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

  • Help for those with dry, sensitive skin

    Here in Boulder, Colo., where Pharmaca has its headquarters, we revel in the mixed blessing of dry air. While it's great to live without the humidity during the warm summers, at about this point in the season the dry air can lead to cracked, rough skin.

    That's why a recent study in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology got us so excited. Turns out, supplementing with flaxseed oil (a good source of essential fatty acids), can help not only hydrate and smooth skin, but also reduce sensitivity.

    The study followed women who were given supplements of either safflower seed oil or flax oil. After 12 weeks, the women who were supplementing with the flaxseed had significant increases in skin hydration and smoothness, along with decreased sensitivity and transepidermal water loss.

    To find out why, we spoke with some practitioners at our South Boulder store, who told us that flaxseed contains a unique essential fatty acid called alpha-lipoic acid. ALA creates a fatty understructure in the skin that helps smooth out and plump the skin. Sounds good, right?

    While you can consume flaxseed through your diet, you can get higher concentrations through supplementation. Pharmaca offers flaxseed in either capsules or liquid form, with liquid being the biggest “bang for your buck.”

    Our staffers like Barleans Lignan Flaxseed Oil, a tasty way to get a liquid dose every day. Barlean’s even offers a combination oil, Total Omega Swirl, that includes GLA from Borage and Evening Primrose Oils, and EPA and DHA from Fish Oils.

    If you prefer a capsule, Pharmaca's Certified Organic Flaxseed Oil is another great way to go. Talk to a practitioner about how to incorporate more flax into your supplement regimen!

  • 5 Fast Facts About Red Yeast Rice

    1. When the yeast Monascus purpureus is cultured on rice, a series of compounds are created that slow the production of cholesterol in the liver. One of these compounds is the active ingredient used in the popular cholesterol medications called statins.

    2. The use of red yeast rice in China was first documented in the Tang Dynasty in 800 A.D. It is still used today in Chinese medicine, as well as in culinary creations. In fact, Peking Duck owes its signature red hue to this dietary staple.

    3. Since the 1970s, studies have shown that red yeast rice lowers total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Research conducted in June of 2009 that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed a 20% reduction in unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels with red yeast rice supplementation alongside diet and lifestyle changes.

    4. Clinical tests have shown that red yeast rice supplements are great for patients who can’t tolerate statins due to muscle problems. However, this supplement should not be taken by those who are on statins (e.g. Lipitor), macrolide antibiotics (e.g. erythromycin), antifungal drugs (fluconazole), high dose niacin, or warfarin. Pregnant women and anyone under the age of 20 should also avoid this supplement.

    5. Pharmaca offers red yeast rice supplements from highly regarded manufacturers including Pharmaca's own brand, Bluebonnet, Solaray and Thorne. Speak with one of our licensed practitioners to learn more about which product is right for you.

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