The quest for the fountain of youth is a tale as old as time. But as time (and science) advances, it’s more possible than ever to radiate regardless of our numerical age. One of the substances making this a reality is hyaluronic acid (HA), also known by the cute moniker “hydration hero”. Most are no strangers to HA serum or its use as an ingredient in masks, moisturizers, and other topical skincare products that provide a lit-from-within glow. The question du jour, though, is if HA has any effect or a greater effect when taken internally.
Dr. Alexis Parcells, a board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of Sunnie Skincare, is here to answer all of our burning questions about taking HA internally. Is it the miracle that beauty enthusiasts have been praying for,or a bigger beauty myth than snake oil?
To start, she explains how it works topically. “When applied to the surface of the skin, HA reduces the visibility of fine lines and gives the skin a plumper, smoother look,” she says. While that’s enough for us to sell our souls to the devil, she continues by discussing its benefits when taken orally like joint lubrication and bone density.
“It is known to assist with wound healing and tissue regeneration. Injectable dermal fillers containing hyaluronic acid (HA) can add volume, definition, and hydration to the face and hands. Results may last 6 to 12 months,” she adds.
Dr. Parcells clarifies that the biggest difference between the methods of delivery is the “mechanism of action.” For instance, she says, “HA applied to the skin’s surface can result in immediate hydration by retaining environmental moisture and protecting the skin by reducing transepidermal water loss. When HA is taken orally, it gets absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed throughout the body, including the skin, joints, bones, and the eyes,” she notes.
Though oral HA has additional benefits, she cautions that it might take longer for results to be noticeable, sometimes weeks or months. But the overall effectiveness of oral HA depends on each patient’s desired outcome.
“HA’s effectiveness depends on the molecular weight of HA as well as a patient’s age, metabolism, and overall health,” she shares. “The typical dosage for oral HA supplements ranges from 100 milligrams to 200 milligrams per day. Oral HA must be processed by the digestive system and then absorbed, which can influence its efficacy.”
At the end of the day, the method of HA delivery you choose comes down to personal preference and desired benefits, but Dr. Parcells emphasizes that everyone should pay attention to the “quality and concentration” of HA in products, whether oral or topical. “Additionally, individual responses can vary, and it’s essential to be mindful of any allergies or sensitivities. For personalized recommendations, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider.”
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