I don’t know about you, but I love supplements. I eat a pretty healthy diet, but I still find that supplementing with specific nutrients can help boost my energy levels and immune function. But one thing that’s always been confusing to me is why there are so many different supplement forms (including tablets, gel caps, powders, liquids, topical creams and gels, and even injections).
There are some products I take (such as hyaluronic acid and vitamins) that come in both topical and supplement forms. I wanted to know if one of these options is better than the other, so I decided to do some research. Here’s what I found out about the difference between topical products and internal supplements.
Topical Product Overview
Some topical products claim to provide the same benefits internal supplements provide. If you don’t like to swallow pills or you dislike the taste of common supplements, it may sound appealing to simply slather nutrients onto your skin and enjoy the same benefits. But do topical products really work as well as consumable supplements?
The answer is a bit complicated. It’s true that the products you apply topically can penetrate your skin. That’s why it’s so important to avoid lotions and creams that contain harmful ingredients such as formaldehyde and phthalates. As long as the lotion or cream you’re applying is thing enough to penetrate your skin barrier, it will get into your body.
So it stands to reason that the nutrients in topical supplements will also be able to make their way into your body. The problem is that any formula you apply to your skin needs to be within a certain pH range to avoid causing skin flushing and irritation. If any product you apply has a pH much higher or lower than pH6, you’ll likely experience some type of unwanted skin reaction.
Benefits of Topical Products
In addition to being easier to use than capsules or pills that you have to swallow or powders and liquids you have to taste, topical products have another benefit. They can help you avoid certain side effects associated with consumable nutritional supplements.
For example, people with sensitive stomachs often struggle to take vitamins because they can cause feelings of nausea. For some people, nausea caused by supplements can be so severe that they end up throwing up their supplements (which defeats the purpose of taking them in the first place!) Topical products are not associated with this side effect.
Overview of Traditional Supplements
Traditional supplements have provided people with great results for years. They come in capsule, tablet, powder and liquid forms. In general, the softer the form, the more bioavailable it is for your body. This just means that your body can absorb the nutrients in powders and liquids more quickly and easily than it can absorb the nutrients in capsules and tablets. Your stomach acid has to dissolve the outer portion of capsules and tablets before your body can utilize the goodies inside.
Benefits of Traditional Supplements
Traditional supplements can offer a lot of benefits to your body. Your body breaks them down in your digestive tract and pulls out the nutrients it needs. This is the same way your body extracts nutrients from the foods you eat. It’s a natural process that is quite remarkable when you think about it.
Generally, nourishing your body from the inside out is the ideal way to do things. But if you have sensitivities to internal supplements or if you want to use supplements that improve your skin, topical products may work better for you. I personally prefer internal supplements for most things, but I encourage you to try both types to find out what works best for you!