Traditional skin care has typically consisted of topical products. Because products need to affect the dermis to have lasting results, companies and cosmetic chemists are constantly formulating products with ingredients that have molecular sizes small enough for absorption.
Although topical skin care may never fully be replaced (cleansing, anyone?), many skin care companies are supplementing and/or replacing traditional products with ingestible products, promoting the idea that caring for the skin should occur from the inside out.
While ingestible skin care is not necessarily a novel innovation to the industry, the recent push from consumers toward detoxifying from within has the beauty industry re-evaluating different methods of skin care delivery.
THE EFFICACY OF INGESTIBLES
Drinkable and ingestible skin care could potentially change the landscape of skin care because certain ingredients just cannot be absorbed by the skin when applied topically. For example, both collagen and hyaluronic acid have molecules that are too large to be absorbed. As a result, these products form a film on the skin that provides short-term moisture and plumpness. Because they cannot penetrate the dermis, these ingredients are not able to create lasting filling and hydrating effects.
Ingestible products, however, claim to do what some topical products cannot: For example, one company advertises that their product's drinkable collagen stimulates fibroblasts to produce more collage and elastin, thus providing a plumping and youthful effect. Another nutricosmetic, a drinkable sunscreen, is reported to neutralize ultraviolet radiation, allowing for maximized sun exposure and tanning.
Some dermatologists are skeptical that ingested skin care products can actually make a difference. The main concern is that the ingested ingredients are not going to be absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract or enter the bloodstream because they would be broken down in the stomach. Furthermore, there is uncertainty that ingredients would actually end up in the skin or have the stability to do what they are needed for, if they even make it into the bloodstream.
While many skin care ingestibles are not approved by the FDA, one pharmaceutical drug is making headlines in regard to aging due to its recent FDA approval for a human study. Metformin, which is used to treat people with type 2 diabetes, has already been shown to extend the life of animals and prevent wrinkles. This drug increases the number of oxygen molecules released into a cell, boosting robustness
When tested on roundworms and mice, the subjects not only stayed healthier for longer, but they also did not develop wrinkles. Although many skin care companies, professionals, and clients may jump at the chance to utilize this unique drug, many scientists are more interested in its ability to prevent life-threatening side effects of aging, such as dementia and Parkinson's disease, than its capability of averting wrinkles and other aesthetic problems.
Heinrichs, R. (2015, July 14). What's Drinkable Skincare and Why Should You Try It? - Flare. Retrieved from http://www.flare.com/beauty/whats-drinkable-skincare-and-why-should-you-try-it/
Knapton, S. (2015, November 29). World's first anti-ageing drug could see humans live to 120. The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/12/worlds-first-anti-ageing-drug-could-see-humans-live-to-120/
Rasmus, T. (2014, April 2). Is Ingestible Skin Care Total B.S.? Retrieved from http://www.refinery29.com/2014/04/65528/digestible-skin-care-ingredients