Why hyaluronic acid supplements may be a better bet than serums and creams

Of all the anti-ageing skincare ingredients out there, hyaluronic acid is quite possibly the most hyped.

From serums to sunscreens, cleansers and moisturisers – even make-up – it’s actually becoming a challenge to find beauty products that don’t include it.

Have a look at the ingredients list on some of your lotions and potions and you’ll likely see it lurking in there, sometimes listed under ‘hyaluronan’, or ‘hyaluronate’.

Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in our body’s connective tissue and acts as a lubricant.

It’s also produced by our skin to help keep it hydrated which is what inspired cosmetics companies to add it to products as a humectant which would attract moisture.

These days the hyaluronic acid (HA) in your skincare is most likely made on an industrial scale in a lab from fermented plant extracts, though it can also be sourced from animal tissue.

But skincare specialists are pretty split over how much topical hyaluronic acid actually does for us cosmetically.

A few months ago on my channel I spoke to Dr Natalia Spierings, dermatologist and author of the book Skintelligent, written to help consumers navigate the confusing world of skincare.

She makes the point that to date there have been no (gold standard) randomised controlled studies confirming a positive long-term smoothing effect on skin or wrinkles from the topical application of HA.

Studies also suggest that both high and lower molecular weight HA would struggle to cross your skin’s barrier and therefore it’s likely only to have a superficial and temporary effect.

Dr Natalia told me: “My bottom line with this is it’s not harmful to use it, because it’s in everything anyway, but it’s nowhere near as amazing as everyone says it is.”

The ingestion of hyaluronic acid in supplement form is a different story, and there is growing scientific evidence suggesting you can boost your skin’s supply of this natural moisturiser.

In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled  Japanese study carried out in 2014, taking a dose of between 120–240 milligrams per day for at least one month was shown to significantly increase skin moisture in adult participants.

An Italian study published in 2021, also randomized, double-blind and placebo controlled, found participants who supplemented with 200mg of HA every day for one month showed significant improvement across all evaluated  parameters relating to skin ageing; namely increased hydration, decreased wrinkle depth, and increased elasticity and firmness.

So we’re definitely on the right track when it comes to increasing the amount of hyaluronic acid available to our skin, but that doesn’t necessarily mean splashing out on expensive serums.

With HA used in so many products now, I don’t believe it’s worth going out of your way to add it to your skincare routine – unless you’re taking it in supplement form.

Hyaluronic acid supplement from DoNotAge

I take one of these Hyaluronic Acid supplements from DoNotAge daily, containing 200mg of high molecular weight HA. $45 or £35 for 60 capsules. Use code HONEST for 10% off.