This Immune-Boosting Drink Makes My Skin Glow
To say I'm not a morning person is putting it very lightly. To quote The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I've always been a creature of the night. Ever since high school, the midnight hours were when I could find solace from a bustling house and finally concentrate. If I could be a morning person who's up and crushing to-do lists before dawn, I would, but hitting snooze always feels so much better — even if I'm only squeezing in just a few more minutes of shut-eye.
This is all to say — and this might shock you — I've finally found the one thing that makes me want to get up in the morning — and it's not coffee. Rather, I pour myself a tall glass of a piña colada-flavored supplement. Before you think ew, gross, hear me out. Mara's Sea Vitamin C Glow powdered supplement (Buy It, $38, amazon.com) tastes like a tropical vacation and is blissfully good for you. I've been inhaling sweet treats throughout the pandemic, but thanks to Mara's vitamin C powder, I now forgo my usual chocolatey oatmeal and instead get my sweet fix from the supplement's plant-derived sweeteners.
If you're not familiar with the brand, it's a sustainable vegan company backed by celebrities including Chrissy Teigen and Olivia Munn, who use its skin-care products for bright, smooth, firm skin. Last year, the brand launched the Vitamin C Glow supplement alongside its vitamin C serum with the logic that what you put in your body makes as much of a difference as what you put on it — which actually checks out. (Don't believe me? Check out the top 16 superfoods for gorgeous skin and hair.)
Mara's ocean-sourced formula combines vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, chlorella algae for essential fatty acids, spirulina for B complex vitamins and protein, turmeric, ginseng root, antioxidant-heavy moringa, and reishi mushrooms all to combat stress and puffiness (though somehow you can't taste anything beyond a refreshing pineapple flavor). The latter four plant ingredients are adaptogens, which dietician Holly Herrington once told Shape can "boost your body's resistance to things like stress, sickness, and fatigue."
Dermatologists agree that the skin benefits are there, too. Vitamin C by itself is useful for supporting collagen production and defending against free radical damage, which keeps your skin plump and elastic, explains Rachel Nazarian, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and member of New York's Schweiger Dermatology Group. Whether you apply vitamin C topically through your skin-care serums or ingest it through a powder supplement, all vitamin C is good for you, adds Corey L. Hartman, M.D., founder of Alabama's Skin Wellness Dermatology — the method will just depend on which benefits you recieve.
As for the adaptogens, Cleveland Clinic dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal, M.D., says they're known to reduce fatigue and the negative effects of stress and are believed to work by normalizing the adrenal system. Some, including turmeric and ginseng, have antioxidant properties and can reportedly prevent free-radical damage to the skin, she says (but, as with all supplements, they're not FDA-approved, so you can't say definitively). Similarly, Dr. Nazarian notes more research is needed on ingesting hyaluronic acid via sodium hyaluronate, but early results are promising for diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and improving skin's texture. (Related: The 11 Best Anti-Aging Serums, According to Dermatologists)
In the meantime, there is some evidence adaptogens can affect the stress hormone cortisol by enhancing how your body manages it, says Dr. Nazarian. Excess cortisol can "rev up" oil production and lead to acne, says Dr. Nazarian, as well as trigger inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea and eczema. A formula like Mara's can help neutralize the effects of cortisol and oxidative stress from light and pollution and protect against the acne-causing oil, and free radicals that lead to wrinkles, she adds.
While I take vitamin D and B12 gummies every day, I'll admit that I'm an otherwise tough sell when it comes to most supplements, if only because the FDA's regulation around them is so loose. But given my above-average sugar intake, I figured that anything that satiates my sugar craving while being even slightly good for my health is a win.
The best skin protecting-offense is a good defense, so Dr. Nazarian advises reaching for a product with powerhouse ingredients such as those found in Mara Natural Sea Vitamin C Glow Supplement with Moringa to keep your skin looking its best over time. Mara's sweet-tasting supplement is the thing that gets me out of bed, so that shouldn't be a problem. And while it makes my skin glow and hopefully helps boost my immunity, FTR, it doesn't hurt that it also tastes way better than Emergen-C.