While there may not be an actual fountain of youth that you can drink from, that hasn’t stopped researchers in the personal care industry from trying to nail down a nutrient that can mitigate the signs of aging.
Several factors contribute to aging skin, but most of them can be traced back to a couple of factors: loss of moisture and oxidative stress.
I’ve been researching and looking for that fountain of youth in a jar since I was a teen. I’ve been obsessed with skincare for 40 years and have searched high and low for any product that could help me maintain my youthful appearance.
If there was one nutrient that could mitigate dehydration and oxidation in your skin — it could be considered the fountain of youth molecule. Alas, this magical compound does exist, and it’s called hyaluronic acid.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- Why proper skin hydration is crucial for anti-aging
- The vital roles that hyaluronic acid plays in your skin
- How you’re constantly depleting your levels of hyaluronic acid
- The best way to replenish this crucial nutrient for youthful skin
Skin Moisture and Aging
One of the classic signs of aging in the skin is a loss of moisture. Moist skin appears less wrinkled, more elastic and has more shine and color. On the other hand, dehydrated skin is drier, wrinkles appear deeper and give the skin a crepey look and there is less elasticity.
A loss of moisture in your skin can happen for a variety of reasons, but the underlying cause is almost always a diminished level of hyaluronic acid. When you have diminished hyaluronic acid, your skin starts to sag and wrinkle, and you lose some of that youthful glow.
The Role Of Hyaluronic Acid In Your Skin
Hyaluronic acid lives in the extracellular matrix (ECM) layer of your skin. Your ECM is composed of collagen fibers, proteins, and other macromolecules that provide structural and biochemical support.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) plays a number of roles in your ECM, including assisting in the synthesis of extracellular matrix molecules, modulating cellular immunity, and most importantly — trapping water. Due to HA’s biochemical structure, it’s able to attach and hold on to large amounts of water. In fact, research shows that one gram of HA can trap around six liters of water.
HA can be found throughout your body, but about half the HA in your body lives in your skin, where it provides moisture and hydration.
Youthful skin is rich in HA, which is why young people have such moist, firm and supple skin. As the years go on, however, there are a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors that can lead to a loss in HA and result in dehydrated skin that lacks a youthful luster.
Why You Lose Hyaluronic Acid
Youthful skin retains resilience and elasticity due to its high water content. Unfortunately, as the years go on, the natural aging process results in a loss of hyaluronic acid, which directly translates into less hydration for your skin.
While many factors can propagate HA loss, intrinsic aging happens naturally, and there is little you can do to stop it (although supplementing with HA can significantly mitigate the loss — more on that later). Skin aging is a complex biological process that follows the aging process of your entire body.
The good news is that the factors that propagate HA loss from your environment can certainly be controlled and managed. Some of the most common extrinsic (or external) reasons for HA loss include:
It’s no secret that smoking cigarettes has detrimental impacts on your health. What many people don’t know, however, is how harmful smoking can be to the integrity of your skin.
Research shows that smoking cigarettes creates free radicals, which can directly damage the hyaluronic acid in your skin. During the gas phase of cigarette smoke, these unstable molecules begin to break down HA in a rapid manner, leaving it less viable for the crucial functions that it plays in skin health and hydration.
Not to mention smoking also constricts your skin’s blood vessels, reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients your skin receives. This is why even young smokers can look ten or more years older than their biological age.
Perhaps the most common cause of extrinsic skin aging is exposure to excessUV radiation from the sun. UV rays cause something known as “photoaging,” which directly impacts the skin’s dermal layers, along with the extracellular matrix where hyaluronic acid lives.
I’m not saying don’t go in the sun. I get sun exposure daily. You just want to avoid excess sun exposure that can lead to burning and skin damage.
Excess sun exposure causes damage and remodeling to the extracellular matrix, with inhibition in the synthesis of key molecules like elastin, collagen, and hyaluronic acid. This leaves photoaged skin looking dehydrated, dull, aged, and often less elastic with more wrinkles.
Pollution in the air can directly impact the health of the outer layers of your skin, which is why some personal care companies have created skincare products that are meant to block the damaging effects of air pollution.
More devastating, however, is the impact that pollutants like heavy metals (which can be found ubiquitously in the environment) have on the health of your skin. These compounds can be found in everything from your food to your water to your household appliances. Once absorbed by your body, heavy metals can lodge in your tissues and disrupt their natural function.
Hyaluronic acid, in particular, is known to adsorb heavy metals. This means that although HA may protect your tissues from their damage by binding them, the metals can also impact your HA’s health and function when they bind.
Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid
While the loss of hyaluronic acid over time is somewhat inevitable, the good news is that there are HA supplements on the market that can help you replenish your lost stores of this vital nutrient. What’s more, research shows that ingested HA not only helps replenish your stores but it also contributes to the increased synthesis of HA in your body.
From an anti-aging standpoint, adding HA to your supplement regimen may be the most impactful way to halt the production of wrinkles and loss of elasticity in your skin.
Some of the most notable benefits of hyaluronic acid include:
Protects Against Sun Damage
As previously mentioned, UV rays from the sun can damage the hyaluronic acid in your skin. However, it also appears that HA has a protective role against this radiation in skin cells, perhaps by acting as a buffer or shield for the cells in the layers above your ECM.
Research shows that hyaluronic acid can significantly suppress the expression of proinflammatory chemicals induced by UV radiation. These chemicals often disrupt the viability of your cells and alter their function. Therefore, increasing the concentration of HA in your skin may be a direct way to help your body protect against the all too common photoaging effect of sun exposure.
While skin wrinkles are a natural part of aging, the depth and appearance of wrinkles depend on the health of your skin. When your skin is well-hydrated, wrinkles appear less pronounced, and your skin looks smoother in general.
Supplementing with HA, due to its ability to draw water to your skin, has been shown to diminish the appearance of wrinkles, reducing not only the depth but the area on the skin where wrinkles appear as well. HA can also help to prevent the formation of wrinkles by keeping your skin hydrated.
HA has been my own secret weapon for the last decade in maintaining a youthful appearance and healthy skin!!
Balances Skin Tone
The tone of your skin is characterized by the coloration and general luster that it portrays. Healthy skin will display an even tone that looks bright and nourished, while aged skin tends to show up with uneven or dull tones.
Hyaluronic acid is considered a key molecule for tissue regeneration. This means that it not only adds moisture to your skin but it assists in the synthesis of new, healthy skin cells. What’s more, due to its ability to calm inflammation, HA can reduce redness in your skin and further assist in evening out your skin tone.
HA is also a crucial nutrient for repairing damaged or broken skin and healing wounds. All of which can impact the general tone of your skin.
Boosts Skin Moisture
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of hyaluronic acid is its impact on skin moisture. As mentioned above, one of the hallmarks of youthful skin is the moist and supple appearance that sufficient hydration allows.
HA is the most critical nutrient for skin hydration; with an ability to bind six liters of water for only one gram of HA, it acts like a sponge to hold water in your extracellular matrix.
By acting as a magnet for water, ingested HA moisturizes your skin from the inside out and creates an appearance of increased suppleness and enhanced luster.
Enhances Skin Elasticity
If you’re worried about sagging skin, skin elasticity should be your number one focus. When your skin is elastic, it can stretch and move and then snap back into its original form. When you lose elasticity, however, your skin tends to sag or become wrinkled.
The elasticity of your skin is directly impacted by the level of hydration, with well-hydrated skin appearing smoother and with more turgor.
Research shows that using hyaluronic acid topically can enhance skin elasticity by 20% and significantly reduce the appearance of wrinkles and skin sag.
Replenish Your Skin With High-Quality Hyaluronic Acid
If anti-aging is top of mind, there is no nutrient that’s more crucial to supplement than hyaluronic acid. As you’ve learned, internal and environmental factors, many of which you can’t avoid, are constantly attacking and draining your HA stores.
The result is dry, wrinkled, dull, and saggy skin.
Luckily, replenishing your HA can be as simple as finding the right supplement and committing to take it daily.
While you can certainly find a hyaluronic acid supplement that contains only HA, I highly recommend using a range of nutrients to support your skin on multiple levels. Skin aging is a complex process, and as such, it requires a complex solution.
This is exactly why I formulated Ageless AF, a supplement that supplies not only hyaluronic acid but other skin-loving nutrients like selenium, silica, and biotin. Ageless AF promotes a healthy, youthful complexion that mitigates the damage of environmental factors like sunlight and pollution.
If you want healthy, young-looking skin, there is one thing you must prioritize: skin moisture. Well-hydrated skin keeps its luster, elasticity and reduces the appearance of wrinkles — it’s really that simple.
As you age, several factors come into play to steal your skin’s moisture. It’s not just the natural aging process that decreases the concentration of hyaluronic acid in your skin, but environmental factors like sunlight exposure and pollution.
While it may seem impossible to dodge the causes of skin dehydration, you can certainly assist your body in replenishing its moisture by supplementing with hyaluronic acid.
Keep in mind that it’s also essential that you stay physically hydrated as well. Hyaluronic acid and water work together, but you’ll see more dramatic results if you have one without the other.
Therefore, for healthy glowing skin, you’ll want to make a daily ritual of drinking at least eight glasses of water (I drink watt-ahh water) along with taking a hyaluronic acid supplement.
*These statements have not been reviewed by the FDA. Ageless AF is a dietary supplement that is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please talk to your doctor before beginning any new supplement regimen.
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