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The Best Supplements to Make You Feel Beautiful

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Taking capsules that make you more beautiful sounds futuristic. Then again, this is the 21st century, and the future is now for supplements with looks-enhancing potential. Pretty in a pill? Sign us up—but with the usual caveat of course: supplements aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and can interact with other medications you're taking, as well as carry side effects. As always, buy them from a reputable business and check with your doctor before taking any of these to make sure they’re a good fit for you. But first, check out these promising effects:

Younger-looking skin
Besides increasing the risk of skin cancer, exposure to the sun’s UV rays accelerates the age of skin (called “photoaging”), leaving your dermis a target for brown spots and a droopy, leathery appearance (eww). While you should still take all the recommended sun-protective measures, including slathering on broad spectrum sunscreen (a study found we’re applying less than half the amount we should), data in the International Journal of Molecular Science shows that capsules containing the extract of a Central American fern plant, called Polypodium leucotomos, can add a layer of sun-damage protection. Likely because of its antioxidant power, this amazing plant was found to help stave off sunburn longer and aid in healing and regenerating the skin post-exposure.

An A-list figure
Already set a healthy eating and exercise plan in motion, but still waiting for your killer bod to materialize? The unassuming herbal pairing of Sphaeranthus indicus (a flowering plant widely used in Ayurvedic medicine) and Garcinia mangostana (from the rinds of mangosteen fruits) might fast-track you. Concentrated into capsules under the brand name Re-Body Meratrim, this powerful herbal combo was shown in the Journal of Medicinal Food to help those who took the supplement twice daily for eight weeks, shave approximately five inches off their waists, two-and-a-half inches from their hips, and about 11.5 pounds from their overall frame; the group given placebos only lost about 3 pounds. (Learn more on how to Get Your Best Body in Two Weeks.)

A smooth, dewy complexion
We're so over parched winter skin—if you are too, try adding plant pine bark extract in your beauty routine. It hails from the bark of a French maritime pine tree, and has been found to improve skin elasticity and hydration, according to Patricia Farris, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Metairie, Louisiana and clinical associate professor at Tulane University. After taking the supplement for six weeks, women, particularly those with dry skin, noticed serious surges in their skin’s moisture, reports a study in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. The capsules appear to stimulate hyaluronic acid, a naturally-occurring lubricant in the body that helps moisturize and plump your skin and that can diminish with age. It makes sense that injectable wrinkle fillers are often formulated with hyaluronic acid; you might as well try needle-free first.

Bright eyes
Ugly dark circles, redness, and puffiness can easily be the consequence of sleep debt. Science out of Sweden confirms that people who are sleep-deprived are perceived as less attractive than the well-rested breed and that your eyes are one of the stronger indicators of which camp you fall in. To help reset your internal body clock for better sleep and more vibrant peepers, Trevor Cates, ND, a naturopathic physician in Park City, Utah suggests a short-term course of low-dose melatonin; our body naturally releases this drowsiness-inducing hormone after-dark, but exposure to light at night, including the glare bouncing off your electronics, can interfere with its formation. Dr. Cates warns that too much of this supplement can throw hormones and your sleep cycle way off-balance and suggests talking to a sleep specialist if you’ve tried the supplement for a few weeks (and given up your night-time Trivia Crack habit) and are still having trouble with falling or staying asleep.

Thicker, shinier hair
If you don't eat fish, you may be coming up short on omega-3 essential fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids are touted for a long list of benefits, such as boosting brain power and protecting against heart disease. Go ahead and add “thicker, shinier hair” to that list, according to Dr. Cates, who says omega-3s help nourish and moisturize the scalp and hair follicles. Fish oil capsules are an easy way to get EPA and DHA. Make sure the product you choose is free of any heavy metals, such as mercury, and Dr. Cates says, “If the capsules smell fishy when you open the bottle, they could be rancid and it’s best to toss them.” Buy from a reputable seller. 

Sexy legs
Thank Mom for your perfect nose, quick wit, and veiny legs. Wait—scratch that last part. When you’re prone, baby spider veins can eventually progress into bulging mama-size varicose veins (both resulting from faulty valves in the vein) and embarrassment. If you want existing squiggles to vanish, you’ll likely need a procedure with a vein specialist, says Cindy Asbjornsen, D.O., FACPh, a phlebologist and founder of the Vein Healthcare Center in South Portland, Maine. But she adds, supplements may help prevent a ‘roadmap’ from forming on your legs in the future. A Cochrane Review found that the chemical escin in horse chestnut seed extract (which comes from a plant) can reduce symptoms of poor circulation in the veins, such as swelling; in some cases, the capsules rivaled often-recommended, but unsightly compression stockings. 

Enter to win! This is your year to be the 8 percent of people who succeed in achieving their resolutions! Enter the SHAPE UP! With Meratrim and GNC Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of three weekly prizes (a one-year subscription to Shape Magazine, a $50.00 gift card to GNC®, or a Re-Body® Meratrim® 60-count package). You'll also be entered into the grand prize drawing for a home gym system! See rules for details.

 

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