Is Ingestible Skin Care Total B.S.?

HyaluronicAcidIllustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
First, it was drinkable skin care. Then, patron saint of glowing skin, Olivia Munn, copped to taking hyaluronic acid pills. Ingestible skin care seems to be an ever-growing trend — so, we set out to determine whether these supplements can make a measurable difference with our complexions or if they're a load of bunk.
To get to the bottom of this, we spoke to two dermatologists, Dr. Debra Jaliman and Dr. Neal Schultz. While Dr. Jaliman was not completely against skin-supplements, she does believe that collagen-production-boosting drinks are a load of bunk. According to the derm, patients are better off looking to supplements that target hyperpigmentation and sun damage. "The most impressive product I've seen along these lines is something called Glisodin Advanced Skin Brightening Formula. It has lycopene from tomatoes, citrus, and borage seed oil. They have clinical studies to show that it controls hyperpigmentation and helps to prevent sun damage." If you do decide to take a product like this for a spin, Dr. Jaliman advises sticking with your normal topical regimen — and definitely don't skip your sunscreen.
However, Dr. Schultz sings a different tune when it comes to ingestible skin care. "I know of nothing that you can ingest and have broken down in your intestines that will actually create a visible difference [in your skin]," he says. Dr. Schultz reminded us that no supplements (whether for skin care, weight loss, or other benefits) are regulated by the FDA, so these products can essentially make any claims they want without backing it up. So, while someone may swear that the pill made a huge difference in their skin, there's no way to determine whether that factor was actually the determining factor in the state of their complexion.
In terms of the dangers, Dr. Jaliman explains that if you'd like to try a skin supplement, there isn't much of a downside: "The only danger is to your pocketbook, really. If I was a consumer, I would look to see if they have clinical studies showing that these ingestibles are effective." And, if there are no supporting studies, you're probably better off leaving the product on the shelf (and the money in your wallet).


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