How seductive is the concept of a pill that makes you prettier? I’m not talking about popping some biotin to make hair grow, or downing a dose of vitamin C down to boost inner radiance. I’m talking about Pills. That. Make. You. Prettier. Younger-Looking. Tanner. Yes. Well, get ready because these babies are finally making the march over from Japan, where the nutraceutical market is a huge $12 billion business, thanks to innovative technology that’s advancing at a brisk clip, and where, every year, a new slew of innovative beauty pills hits the market, with mixed degrees of success. Here are a few of the best of what’s come down the pipeline.
The “hGH” in the name stands for human growth hormone, which, according to scientists, is strongly linked to healthy, younger-looking skin, increased muscle mass and energy, and even lower body fat. (The synthetic version has long been rumored to be the secret get-hot-fast for many a Hollywood actress, doled out by doctors in prescription-only shots.) This proposed pill doesn’t introduce a faux hGH, a la Hollywood, but rather increases the body’s own level of the hormone. Its been making the rounds at dermatology conferences for about a year, and is available now at a cost of about $100 a month.
Go Away, Gray:
Ignore the name of this product, and focus on the concept, which is totally brilliant, and totally natural. Taken daily, this pill breaks down the natural hydrogen peroxide in the body, the same stuff that bleaches hair gray from the inside out — so not only does it stop gray hair from showing up in the first place, it actually turns already-gray hairs back to their original color. It’s not an overnight process and takes about three months to kick in, but long-term, it’s a great solution.
A combination of zinc and special enzymes that (for reasons unknown) produces amazing, Botox-friendly results, making the Botox treatments both more effective (read: better results from the same old needle-poke) as well as longer-lasting— 30 percent longer, to be specific, adding 1to 2 months to the typical 3-to-4 month results period.
This European brand is pioneering all sorts of beauty pills, and its anti-aging formula is a literal vitamin bomb that saturates skin with plumping enzymes, clarifying vitamins, and softening lipids. It’s Draining and Toning formula (awkward European slang for “slimming”) works to tighten up the skin on body with collagen and elastic, and reduce swelling to help you fit in those skinny jeans. Fun fact: Inneov partnered with Nestle in Japan to create a range of instant coffee that’s infused with a mega-dose of collagen, so people there can plump their skin while getting their caffeine buzz on. I really want to go to Japan.
The mysterious tanning pill. Yes this is it. There’s actually several different kinds out there, and Canthaxantin is the active ingredient that makes them all work, so this is not a brand but rather an ingredient to look for. It's a carotenoid, otherwise known as a class of yellow to red pigment found in lobsters, shrimp, and a lot of fish. It naturally tints the skin to a warm, pinky-brown hue. The easiest way to explain the science behind it is to point to flamingoes, who are born gray but, through a steady daily diet of Canthaxantin-loaded shrimp, turn pink over time. So the pills are the shrimp, and you're the flamingo. Cool, no?