May 31, 2019

A looming problem with "ingestible beauty"

When it comes to ingestible beauty supplements, why are we so willing to swallow vague promises that we can make ourselves beautiful from the inside out?

How did we get here?

  • Wellness culture with all of its bloggers, gurus and influencers has bridged the gap between merely topical cosmetics applied externally and “ingestible cosmetics” consumed purely for benefits to hair, skin and nails.
  • Diminishing access to healthcare combined with an increased mistrust of Big Pharma pushed consumers to seek alternative approaches to health, with the Internet providing all the information needed to formulate those approaches.
  • The rise of this new market has created an explosion of “clean” beauty products and the associated web of ads and mixed messages make Internet and mobile customers more susceptible to strong IG-worthy marketing campaigns.

At the end of the day

Supplements are just that, concentrated forms of nutrients that are already found in our food, some in more than sufficient amounts. Naturally, many of our foods have less than ideal nutrition levels compared to the past, which means “topping up” on certain nutrients might be worthwhile.

Visually well-designed packaging doesn’t necessarily make the consumable product more potent or even effective. Good supplements don’t necessarily look sexy, but discretion is still needed to tell the difference between simply boring generic design and downright sketch. Just knowing that companies are trying to capitalize on this trend can help you see when something is too good to be true.

We’re all guilty of wanting to be healthier and look the part, but the paths by which we get there are going to get even blurrier in the information age as our vanity can be realized with newer supposedly more innovative methods. Recall when the crowdfunded Soylent meal replacement became available for people who simply didn’t want to bother with cooking and eating.

But while we can reason that health food products are simply conveniently packaged forms of macro and micronutrients that science recognizes are essential to us, we need to ask ourselves if similar products targeted for beauty work by the same logic.

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