Dry, Tight, Irritated Skin? This Supplement Ingredient May Help
There’s a difference between skin feeling tight—as in, firm and lifted—versus skin that’s just downright dry and dehydrated. The former feels supple and bouncy. The latter is uncomfortable, irritated, itchy, and maybe even painful. Over time, tight skin may create microcracks in the skin, scaly patches, or flake off. Not ideal, to say the least.
It can happen with age—our epidermis experiences more moisture loss as we get older—but it can also happen from having naturally dry skin or due to your environment, like if you live in cold weather.
The most common solution people reach for is a richer cream, as they should. Dense lotions with occlusive properties help create a seal around your barrier, trapping in moisture underneath. (Think of these like lush blankets, keeping skin coddled throughout the day and night.) But that film does a whole lot of nothing if you don’t have water in the dermis to begin with.
Why you should turn to hyaluronic acid if your skin is tight and dry.
Hyaluronic acid’s glowing reputation primarily comes from its use in topicals, like serums and lotions. In the last several years, it’s gone from an unrecognizable ingredient to one that gets top billing on the packaging.
To its credit, it is a pretty impressive active: Hyaluronic acid, also known as HA or glycosaminoglycan, is a compound similar to collagen created by the human body that serves several important functions. It is the key molecule involved in skin moisture, meaning it plays a huge role in the skin’s aging process. Hyaluronic acid works by drawing in water and holding it—up to 1,000 times its weight, making it an incredibly effective and hardworking molecule.
When taken orally, the ingredient helps your skin hold on to water from the inside. “It draws water into the stratum corneum, the top layer of the skin. It is a humectant, so it gives an immediate improvement in the way the skin looks—less ashy, dry, dull,” says holistic dermatologist Cybele Fishman M.D.*
Studies back this up: One study found that people who took 120 milligrams of hyaluronic acid a day for 12 weeks had helped maintain healthy aging skin compared with those who took a placebo.* A comprehensive review that looked at all the available data said that ingesting hyaluronic acid enhanced the quality of life for those with chronically dry skin, among other findings.*
Hyaluronic acid is a popular ingredient topically but should be taken just as seriously as a supplement too.
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