In our modern age, popping a pill for better skin isn’t necessarily revolutionary. Taking a pill for better skin that doesn’t contain hormones, antibiotics, or retinoids? Now we’re listening. The latest buzzy product in the ingestible beauty trend involves pills that contain hyaluronic acid, a biopolymer that occurs naturally in our bodies. It has the ability to hold 1000 times its weight in water, which makes it a crucial ingredient in many skincare products, since our bodies produce less of it as we grow older. But will taking a pill with hyaluronic acid in it really give us the skin of our dreams? It sounds too good to be true (i.e., we’re going to be really mad at ourselves for not stocking up on these magic pills earlier). We spoke with dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and told him to give it to us straight. Keep scrolling to see what he said.
“The principle behind ingestible supplements is to provide the body with the necessary building blocks for healthy skin cells and collagen, as well as maintaining appropriate stores of antioxidant defenses against free-radical damage,” Zeichner explains. “Hyaluronic acid is a humectant—a moisturizing ingredient that attracts water. It is unclear whether ingesting it will truly affect the skin.” So, we’re sh*t out of luck? Not completely. Since your gut health is tied to skin health, Zeichner says that if hyaluronic acid pills can improve the health of your GI tract and reduce inflammation, then your skin can benefit from it as well. “An angry, ‘leaky’ gut promotes generalized inflammation that has a negative impact on your skin, so any supplement that can improve that can also benefit your skin,” he says.
As for the collagen in these supplements? Zeichner says it’s broken down into proteins that may help support healthy skin function, just like any other protein, but there’s no proof it will go directly to your skin and benefit you in the way these brands claim. (You can read more about ingestible collagen here.)
Zeichner says that in the end, the best way to have healthy skin is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. “What you eat provides your body with the necessary tools for healthy skin,” he says. “If you don’t have a well-balanced diet or you would like an extra boost, a supplement certainly won’t hurt.” Music to our ears.
Keep scrolling to see shop some of the most popular hyaluronic acid pills!