While I’ve never been great at mastering anything beyond the most basic of makeup techniques, I’m pretty particular about my skincare. I grew up in the age of microbeads and overly drying “acne washes,” and it took some time before I figured out that applying moisturizer every day wasn’t going to make my skin oily. My skin tends to be sensitive, and now that I’m in my 30s, I have a pretty good handle on what it needs.
That being said, I always like to try new products (though I am picky about them). I’m always interested in anything that I think might get me closer to that “I woke up like this” glow. That’s what interested me in Paya Health—I found the combination of biotin and edible retinol used in their gummies intriguing. Though, as someone who has used skincare gummies before with little to no effect, I couldn’t help but wonder—is Paya Health legit?
Is Paya Health Legit?
I would say that Paya Health is pretty legit. In just a few weeks of taking the gummies, I saw results that I hadn’t seen with other edible skincare products. If you are looking for something to help improve the quality of your skin from the inside, Paya Health is worth the investment!
I would consult a doctor before deciding to take Paya Health gummies long-term, but I do think they make a great alternative to topical skincare for people with sensitive skin. I cannot guarantee that the gummies were any more effective than a great topical skincare routine, and some might be wary of the side effects of a few of the ingredients, especially the retinol.
What is Paya Health?
Paya Health makes edible skincare gummies. They’re manufactured in the United States and made with biotin and edible retinol. The idea behind them is that by supplementing your diet with skin-nurturing vitamins, you can achieve healthy, glowing skin from the inside out.
The Science Behind Edible Skincare
Edible skincare definitely seems to be having its moment. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I can’t go on social media without seeing “get ready with me” influencers mixing daily morning potions of collagen powder or super greens. I get the appeal of effortless, full-body skincare without the hassle and irritation of applying layer upon layer of serums and creams—I really do—but I also know that a lot of the research being done on edible skincare is still ongoing, and results have been inconclusive.
When I started reading about the alleged benefits of Paya Health skincare gummies, it all seemed too good to be true, which, in my experience, means it usually is.
That is to say, I was skeptical. So, I did some research.
And here’s where I started to feel like they might actually work.
Are you familiar with Accutane, the oral acne medication prescribed by doctors? If, like me, you turned on the TV at least once in the 90s, you probably remember the ads. You might even have a friend who used it—Or maybe you even had a prescription yourself. Well, guess what?
The main ingredient in Accutane is isotretinoin, an edible retinoid. (Incidentally, as it turns out, those TV ads stopped airing as frequently in the early 2000s because Accutane was taken off the market due to the side effects of high doses of retinoids—I’ll get into that more below).
Side effects aside (and that’s a very big aside because, believe me, there were some serious side effects), Accutane was still seen as one of the most effective, if not the most effective, acne treatment. So if larger doses of edible retinoids work, it stands to reason that smaller quantities might, too, right? In fact, doctors currently prescribe lower doses of isotretinoin, just not under the name “Accutane.”
While isotretinoin and retinyl acetate (the vitamin A found in Paya Health’s gummies) are in the same retinol family, they’re not the same compounds. That being said, the fact that one has been proven to work as an oral skincare treatment did make me feel a little less skeptical about the effectiveness of the other.
The Advantages of Edible Skincare Over Topical Skincare
Edible skincare is appealing—especially for those of us with sensitive skin. Some topical skincare products, particularly retinoids and vitamin C serums, can irritate your skin, causing redness, peeling, and irritation. I’m speaking from personal experience. Sometimes, my skin randomly likes to turn sunburn red after I apply a serum or moisturizer, even if it’s one I’ve used in the past. (What can I say? She’s fickle).
I also love how easy eating your skincare is. All I have to do is pop two (delicious) gummies each day to reveal a glowing complexion? Sign me up! While it’s less targeted than topical skincare, edible skincare makes a lot of sense for people who can’t use the topical stuff for one reason or another.
The Risks Associated with Edible Skincare
Ok, let’s start with something that I think is very important, but many people don’t know: supplements are not regulated the same way that pharmaceuticals are—they’re evaluated by the FDA as food, not drugs. That means that while the FDA may be testing whether or not your supplements are edible, they’re not performing tests to see whether or not they’ll react with other medications or even provide the results they tout in the first place.
Studies have shown that biotin, in particular, can mess up certain medical lab results, and most retinols (both topical and edible) come with warnings that they shouldn’t be used by anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding (remember all of those side effects that resulted in Accutane being taken off the market?)
It’s always a good idea to talk to a doctor before taking any kind of supplement. At the very least, make sure that your doctor knows that you’re taking the supplement—it will help them make informed decisions about your health.
In fact, if I decide to continue using Paya Health skincare gummies beyond the one-month trial period I’m testing them for, I will be consulting a doctor just to make sure it’s safe for me to do so.
Paya Health Review: Is Paya Health Worth It?
I tested a bottle of Paya Health gummies. It was shipped to me in a basic bubble mailer via USPS ground shipping.
The Price, Shipping, and Subscription Basics
One bottle of Paya Health gummies contains a 30-day supply (60 gummies). Individual bottles cost $29 each, or you can purchase two for $59. You can also subscribe to Paya Health gummies for $22 per bottle. Your gummies will be shipped once a month, and you can cancel anytime. They deliver both nationally and internationally, though they may charge shipping for international orders. Regular orders ship out within 48 hours.
Paya Health gummies are:
- Gluten free
- Soy free
- Gelatin free
They’re also made with real sugar. I really like that they use a small amount of sugar in their gummies. Sugar substitutes (yes, even Stevia) tend to taste really chemically to me or even give me headaches. Plus, unless a doctor has told you otherwise, a small amount of sugar isn’t going to kill you.
Let’s talk about some of the key ingredients in these gummies:
Vitamin A (Retinyl Acetate)
The first vitamin listed on the gummies’ ingredients list is Vitamin A (as Retinyl Acetate). That’s the one that’s proven the most powerful to fight acne and signs of aging, but it’s also the one that can come with a laundry list of nasty side effects. According to the Mayo Clinic, taking more than 3,000 mcg of oral vitamin A daily long-term can cause all sorts of problems, from liver damage to birth defects to bone thinning. Taking 200,000 mcg in one dose can cause severe nausea, vomiting, and blurry vision.
One dose of Paya Health’s gummies contains 1,200 mcg of vitamin A. That’s 133% of the recommended daily value. While that doesn’t appear to be enough to trigger the side effects listed above, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me a little nervous. I think it would be worthwhile to talk to a doctor before taking these gummies long-term, and I definitely wouldn’t combine them with any other daily supplement, not even a multivitamin.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin C is an antioxidant. It’s often used to brighten skin, and it may boost collagen production. You’ve probably seen topical vitamin C products like serums and creams.
Biotin is a B vitamin that’s thought to promote healthy hair, skin, and nails. I personally have a lot of friends who swear by it, but I haven’t really noticed any difference in my own complexion or hair growth while taking biotin supplements. There isn’t a ton of conclusive research to back up claims that biotin supplements are effective. This is another ingredient you might want to talk to a doctor about if you’re planning on taking these gummies regularly.
Zinc is known for its anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties. It’s also been known to help fight UV damage in skin, though, when taken orally, it’s not a substitute for sunscreen—so don’t even think about skipping that!
The Taste and Texture
These are hands down the best-tasting gummy vitamins I’ve ever tried. They’re a really pleasant, natural-tasting cherry/strawberry flavor. The texture is also better than most gummy supplements, and, if I’m being honest, I even prefer it to a lot of gummy candies!
I’ve tried a lot of gummy vitamins that either feel like you’re chewing on a rubber ear plug or are way too soft and sticky. These have a firm but soft texture with a smooth, soft “shell” and firm gel center—kind of like a gumdrop without the crystal sugar coating.
I honestly think that using real sugar in their recipe is what made the difference here, both in terms of flavor and texture.
I was very skeptical before taking these gummies. I fully expected them to have no effect at all, and despite all of that, I do think they worked. It can be hard to tell in only a few weeks (maybe I’m just staying on top of my hydration or getting extra sleep?), but my skin does feel brighter, and the texture looks finer. I didn’t notice much change in my pigmentation over the course of the month, but it did seem like my pores looked smaller, my skin looked bouncier, and I felt overall “glowier.”
I’m 37, and while I do have some smile lines around my eyes, I don’t actually have a ton of noticeable wrinkles—I got lucky in the genetics department when it comes to that. I didn’t notice any change to those smile lines, but the fact that my skin felt bouncier makes me think that these gummies could lessen the appearance of deep lines over time.
While I don’t break out a ton anymore (one of the nice things about getting older), I do get a blemish from time to time. My skin was looking pretty clear about a week into taking the gummies, but after three weeks, I did have a few spots starting to pop up. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for me, but these definitely aren’t miracle gummies (at least not in the short term).
How Does Paya Health Compare to Other Skincare Gummies?
In the past, many skincare gummies have focused on biotin, leaving out the vitamin A or offering it in trace amounts. Recently, some supplement companies—even drug store brands—have been offering retinol gummies or adding larger doses of vitamin A into their biotin gummies.
That being said, Paya Healthy gummies still contain a higher dose of vitamin A (retinol) than many other skincare gummies. That may make them more effective, but it may also make them more likely to come with side effects. If you’re looking for a skincare gummy with a lower dose of vitamin A, check out the alternatives below.
Alternatives to Paya Health Gummies
Nature’s Bounty: Hair, Skin & Nails Gummies. I’ve used these several times before, and while I don’t think they’re as effective as the Paya Health gummies, I like that they have a similar ingredient list but in smaller doses. In particular, these only contain 150 mcg of Retinyl Acetate vs the 1,200 mcg in Paya’s gummies, making them a great choice if you want to start slow or are wary of side effects. Plus, they taste okay, and you can find them in most grocery stores and pharmacies.
Embody: The Retinol Gummy. These are some of the closest alternatives to Paya Health gummies on the market. Both their vitamin and non-vitamin ingredients are very similar to the ones used by Paya Health. While these offer a healthy dose of Retinyl Acetate (960 mcg), it’s still smaller than Paya’s dose—keep in mind that both brands provide over 100% of the recommended daily value of Retinyl Acetate (Embody is 107%, and Paya is 133%), so I wouldn’t mix either with another source of vitamin A.
Question: How long does it take for skin gummies to work?
Answer: In general, it can take anywhere from one to six months to see results from skincare gummies, though it depends on the brand and the individual.
Question: What does retinol do?
Answer: Retinol increases the production of skin cells and collagen. Studies have shown that it can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, refine skin texture and elasticity, and fight acne.
Question: Should you use retinol every day?
Answer: Retinol works best if you use it every day, but many people might find daily topical retinol use too harsh on their skin.
Final Thoughts: Is Paya Health Legit?
Despite my skepticism, I was pleasantly surprised by my results after just a few weeks of using Paya Health gummies. I think that topical skincare is still most likely to be faster and more effective, but if you have sensitive skin or like the convenience of skincare gummies, they’re not a bad option.
I also prefer Paya’s skincare gummies over any of the other hair, skin, and nails or “beauty” gummies I’ve tried—Paya tastes better, and I feel like it was more effective.
The one caveat I will add, however, is that due to potential side effects, I think it’s important to pay attention to the dose you’re taking and not mix Paya Health gummies with any other supplements. In order to be super safe, it’s probably best to talk to a doctor before starting a long-term regimen of Paya Health (or any other retinol gummies).