Youthful skin is soft and supple thanks to its water content. It is naturally free of wrinkles, save for a few smile lines perhaps. As unchecked oxidative reactions increase (and I want to specifically use that phrase rather than the ambiguous term “aging”) the very substantial matter that we collectively call skin becomes impaired and deprived. Of course, as we all know, one of the central building blocks of healthy, plump skin is water. The relationship between youth and hydration is not an esoteric proposition: a baby (approx 75% water by body weight) carries a much high water content than a 40-year-old adult (approx 65% water by body weight), who himself carries a much higher water content than a typical 80-year-old (approx 50-55% water). Drinking plentifully (but not excessively) from a clean hydrating water source is a fundamental preventative in this regard, but – and this is the central point, if one’s capacity to hold onto water is fundamentally compromised, then the hydrating properties of water will fail to reach their important physiological destinations, and in this case, do little to prevent or remedy wrinkles.
The missing link in the equation is a water-loving (hydrophilic) molecule called hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid (henceforth HA) is the key molecule involved in skin moisturisation. Without sufficient HA stores, the skin has very little capacity to hold onto, retain and claim the precious youth-imparting properties of water. Indeed, HA can purportedly hold up to 1000 times its weight in water making it the super sponge of the human body. It is no coincidence then, that with sufficient HA stores, our skin is naturally plump and pert. Already existing wrinkles are softened, with a marked decrease in depth and therefore noticeability. Thinning, sagging skin is also naturally prevented. In short, hyaluronic acid is the best remedy against wrinkles and related signs of so-called skin-maturation. But read on, there is much more to learn.
At this point you may be wondering why do HA levels decline in the first place? It’s a great question, though way beyond the scope of this article to do the question justice. Nonetheless, the two key causes are as follows:
- Photo-disintegration. Now as some of you know I am a heliophile like the sunflower. I adore the sun and all of its myriad benefits. Nonetheless, prolonged unchecked sun exposure can readily disintegrate HA, which is very sensitive to certain bandwidths of UV light. Unless dietary antioxidant levels are fully stocked and endogenous enzyme activity is at good capacity, then the effects of photoaging are very real.
- As hormone levels diminish so too does the production of HA. The diminution of estrogens is especially correlated with the lowering of HA levels, the development and exacerbation of wrinkles and the thinning of skin. The relatively little-known herbs Pueraria mirifica and Aguaje are rich in a natural spectrum of estrogens which have been used for centuries to boost skin health and plumpness, increase youthfulness, sexual health and ward off other supposed age-related diseases like osteoporosis. In cases of estrogen dominant conditions, these herbs have been shown to present adaptogen-like qualities, and accumulations of the so-called bad estrogens are actually lowered.
If you had previously heard of HA, there is a high chance it was by way of the ever-burgeoning cosmetics industry; many high-end creams and serums now contain some form or variant of hyaluronic acid. The problem they fail to mention, however (in their bid to piggy-back off HA’s scientifically acclaimed back), is that most all forms of the HA molecule are simply far too big to be absorbed transdermally (through the skin barrier). And if they do penetrate, the absorption percentage is very low. Mostly such cosmetic products can be viewed as expensive emollients.
So how should HA be taken so that it actually reaches into the depths of my skin and provides me with all if these wrinkle-busting benefits?
HA is best taken as an oral supplement. Hyaluronic acid comes in different molecular weights with only smaller HA macromolecules (at lower molecular weights) readily absorbable through the intestines. The best one on the market is this one, it is an extra low molecular form of HA, highly absorbable and clinically proven to increase HA levels in the skin. I recommend 1 capsule a day, with or without food. A deceptively simple, yet profoundly nourishing treatment for biologically younger looking skin. For best results, always make sure you are drinking the cleanest, most hydrating water possible.
How long will it take for me to notice improvements?
Between 3 weeks and 3 months. It all depends on the degree to which your HA levels have become impoverished. Some people notice improvements relatively quickly, others may look in the mirror 3 months later and notice the depth of pre-existing wrinkles have decreased and their skin looks fuller and juicier. HA supplementation can be carried on indefinitely for best results and to future-proof your skin, though a break of a month or two per year is also completely acceptable.