If you’re Googling “ingredients to plump and hydrate skin” you’ll probably come across hyaluronic acid. Now the hero humectant of many serums and moisturisers (and part of my formula from Software blended in with tretinoin), which is the “key molecule involved in skin moisture...that has unique capacity in retaining water.” It’s an ingredient that tends to work best on top of damp skin (some people like to mist on their toners) so it has something to work with.
Also, hyaluronic acid “is naturally found in many areas of the human body, including the skin, eyes, and synovial fluid of the joints.” You’ll find hyaluronic acid as the base for lots of dermal filler brands also, adding volume and attracting more water to the area, perfect for something like lip filler.
For the most part, it can work well as a topical moisturising ingredient (and you’ll likely find it on the INCI list of your favourite face and body moisturisers). Be careful with loading up on low molecular weight HA serums if you’re feeling your skin is reacting badly with regular use, as recent research has suggested “low molecular weight hyaluronic acid has a pro-inflammatory effect on the skin...in layman's terms, it triggers an unnecessary immune response—a sign that the body is attempting to protect itself from a “foreign invader.” (Why low molecular weight? Because it’s able to penetrate the skin where high molecular weight hyaluronic acids just plain can’t).
But topical use aside, let’s talk about what happens when you ingest hyaluronic acid as a supplement. We’ve heard a lot about oral collagen products, blending it up into collagen creamers for our coffee, little shots we keep in the fridge or even just capsules, and I feel it's time for oral HA to have it's moment in the sun (or, bathroom cabinet).
When it comes to skin, you will see benefits if you take this supplement regularly, with a 2014 study showing “it was found that ingested HA increased skin moisture and improved treatment outcomes for patients with dry skin. HA is also reported to be absorbed by the body distributed, in part, to the skin.” This was looking at about 240mg a day of hyaluronic acid taken orally.
There are a heap of capsule and liquid forms of vegan hyaluronic acid available, and this is the kind of supportive choice for your skin that’s worth making if you have dry skin that doesn’t always respond to topical products, or in the lead up to the cooler/dryer months.
If you know me, you know I love my oral skin supplements, and this is a generally safe, inexpensive way of boosting moisture (especially if you don’t tolerate topical hyaluronic acid) to complement your existing skincare routine.