Being the largest organ of the human body, your skin matters as much as the other vital organs do.
Wrinkles, pigmentation, loss of hydration and elasticity are the signs for ageing skin. These conditions worsen over time due to intrinsic and extrinsic factors.1 We’re constantly surrounded by pollutants and chemicals from the air, exposure to sunlight, stressful and unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking, intake of fast food as well as processed food. Besides, long-term exposure to blue light (harmful light) emitted from digital devices can lead to premature skin ageing.
Feeding your skin with the right nutrients is equally essential as applying your daily skincare products. The daily skincare products taking care of your surface’s symptoms while the intake of the right nutrients providing you comprehensive care from the inside out.
Understanding how some of the well-known ingredients help in achieving youthful skin.
Collagen and Skin
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body that can be found in your skin, bones, cartilages and blood. Among the common types of collagen, Type I and III are responsible for the rigidity and integrity structure of human skin.2
A study demonstrated that oral intake of collagen peptide effectively improved skin hydration, wrinkling and elasticity in 12 weeks.3 The collagen peptide achieved these effects by increasing the collagen content, production of hyaluronic acid as well as the elastic fibres in the skin.3 Apart from that, another study observed a significant increase in dermis collagen deposition after 4 weeks of collagen peptide supplementation and followed by a significant increase in skin hydration after 8 weeks of intake. Both effects persisted even after 12 weeks of intake.4
Hyaluronic Acid and Skin
Hyaluronic acid together with collagen and elastin fibres formed the major structural constituents of dermal extracellular matrix (ECM).3 Generally speaking, it is a substance produced by your body and acts as a water reservoir for your skin due to its unique ability to bind and retain water molecules.
In 2017, a study has been conducted to examine the effect of oral hyaluronic acid on 60 Japanese male and female subjects aged 22 to 59 years old with crow’s feet wrinkles. The results suggested that oral hyaluronic acid reduced skin wrinkles, providing a lustre and supple skin after 12 weeks consumption.5 Similar results showed in another study which proved that oral intake of hyaluronic acid improved skin elasticity and skin hydration as well as reduced skin roughness and wrinkle depths in 40 days.6
L-Glutathione and Skin
L-glutathione is a potent antioxidant found naturally in the human body cell. As an antioxidant, it helps to combat free radicals by reducing the oxidative stress in your body. Though it is produced by our body, ageing and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) tend to deplete the glutathione levels and cause the accumulation of abnormal melanin-induced disorders such as melasma and freckles.
The use of L-glutathione in skincare products and dietary supplement has been gaining attention by many due to its proven skin whitening effects. Oral intake of L-glutathione had shown to be effective in reducing melanin content and reducing the key enzyme - tyrosinase which is responsible for the production of melanin pigment.7-9
Bird Nest and Skin
The history of consuming bird’s nest for its tonic effects can be traced back to several hundred years in Asia. To date, it is still a norm, especially among the orient population. The food is popular for a reason.
Bird’s nest is made from the saliva of male swiftlets that are rich in protein, minerals and sialic acid (also known as N-acetylneuramic acid). According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, sialic acid is believed to be one of the key ingredients in bird’s nest that contributed to skin lightening effects.10 Apart from that, another study found that orally intake of bird’s nest linked to increasing of dermal thickness. Since the thinning of the dermal layer has been closely related to skin ageing, the study suggested that bird’s nest is effective for the improvement of skin ageing in postmenopausal women.11
Pearl Powder and Skin
Similar to the bird’s nest, pearl powder is a commonly used traditional Chinese medicine as a beauty agent and ailments for a long history.
Essential amino acids (histidine, proline, alanine and leucine) and trace minerals (calcium, magnesium and selenium) in pearl powder are reported to contribute to its total antioxidant capacity. The same report stated that oral supplementation of pearl powder in 8 weeks showed a significant increase in the antioxidant levels by elevating the glutathione and superoxide dismutase levels.12 As a potent antioxidant for skin, pearl powder may maintain healthy skin cells by reducing oxidative stress.
Several studies also proved that pearl powder is beneficial for wound healing by stimulating fibroblast proliferation and collagen deposition in keratinocyte cells.13-15 Also, pearl powder showed to possess an anti-inflammation effect on UVB irradiation keratinocyte cells in an in vitro study.16 These promising results suggested pearl powder to be helpful for inflamed skin conditions.
Vitamin C and Skin
Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid is one of the most widely known vitamins in the market. Apart from enhancing immune health, Vitamin C plays a vital role in keeping your skin healthy.
Vitamin C’s role in the formation of collagen making it one of a popular ingredient in many anti-ageing skincare products. By promoting the natural collagen synthesis, Vitamin C may help in reducing skin wrinkles.17,18 Besides, Vitamin C also acts as a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals and remove toxic oxidants that are found in environmental pollutants and after exposure to ultraviolet light. Vitamin C is also said to be a potential depigmenting agent as it interferes the activity of enzyme tyrosinase thereby reducing the melanin formation.19
Mix and Match Nourished Skin Ingredients to Suit Your Needs
As a consumer, we always wondered whether the other ingredients or excipients used in a product are the best suit our needs and whether a product providing the combination effects that we wish to achieve. Those questions are making the process of choosing-the-‘right-one’ utterly overwhelming.
Check out the basic guide below that we have prepared, which products offer synergistic effects that might best suit your concerns.
- Farage MA, Miller KW, Elsner P, Maibach HI. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors in skin ageing: a review. International Journal of Cosmetic Science. 2008;30(2):87-95.
- Sibilla S, Godfrey M, Brewer S, Budh-Raja A, Genovese L. An overview of the beneficial effects of hydrolysed collagen as a nutraceutical on skin properties: scientific background and clinical studies. The Open Nutraceuticals Journal. 2015;8:29-42.
- Kim DU, Chung HC, Choi J, Sakai Y, Lee BY. Oral intake of low-molecular-weight collagen peptide improves hydration, elasticity and wrinkling in human skin: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. 2018;10(826):1-13.
- Asserin J, Lati E, Shioya T, Prawitt J. The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. 2015 Dec;14(4):291-301.
- Oe M, Sakai S, Yoshida H, Okado N, Kaneda H, Masuda Y, et al. Oral hyaluronan relieves wrinkles: a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study over a 12-week period. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. 2017;10:267-273.
- Gollner I, Voss W, Von Hehn U, Kammerer S. Ingestion of an oral hyaluronan solution improves skin hydration, wrinkle reduction, elasticity, and skin roughness: results of a clinical study. Journal of Evidence-based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 2017;22(4):816-823.
- Nagapan TS, Lim WN, Basri DF, Ghazali AR. Oral supplementation of L-glutathione prevents ultraviolet B-induced melanogenesis and oxidative stress in BALB/c mice. Exp. Anim. 2019;68(4):541-548.
- Watanabe F, Hashizume E, Chan GP, Kamimura A. Skin-whitening and skin-conditioning-improving effects of topical oxidized glutathione: a double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical trial in healthy women. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. 2014;4(7):267-274.
- Weschawalit S, Thongthip S, Phutrakool P, Asawanonda P. Glutathione and its antiaging and antimelanogenic effects. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. 2017;10:147-153.
- Chan GKL, Wong ZCK, Lam KYC, Cheng LKW, Zhang LM, Lin H, et al. Edible bird’s nest, an Asian health food supplement, possesses skin lightening activities: identification of N-acetylneuraminic acid as active ingredient. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications. 2015;5:262-274.
- Matsukawa N, Matsumoto M, Bukawa W, Chiji H, Nakayama K, Hara H, et al. Improvement of bone strength and dermal thickness due to dietary edible bird’s nest extract in ovariectomized rats. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry. 2014;75(3):590-592.
- Chiu HF, Hsiao SC, Lu YY, Han YC, Shen YC, Venkatakrishnan K, et al. Efficacy of protein rich pearl powder on antioxidant status in a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis 26. 2018;309-317.
- Agarwal V, Tjandra ES, Iyer KS, Humfrey B, Fear M, Wood FM, et al. Evaluating the effects of nacre on human skin and scar cells in culture. Toxicology Research. 2014;3(4):217-292.
- Dai JP, Chen J, Bei YF, Han BX, Guo SB, Jiang LL. Effects of pearl powder extract and its fractions on fibroblast function relevant to wound repair. Pharmaceutical Biology. 2010;48(2):122-127.
- Li YC, Chen CR, Young TH. Pearl extract enhances the migratory ability of fibroblasts in a wound healing model. Pharmaceutical Biology. 2015;51(3):289-297.
- Yang YL, Chang CH, Huang CC, Liu HW. Anti-inflammation and anti-apoptosis effects of pearl extract gel on UVB irradiation HaCaT cells. Bio-Medical Materials and Engineering. 2015;S139-S145.
- Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The roles of Vitamin C in skin health. Nutrients. 2017;9(866):1-27.
- Wang K, Jiang H, Li W, Qiang M, Dong T, Li H. Role of Vitamin C in skin diseases. Frontiers in Physiology. July 2018;9(819):1-9.
- Telang PS. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. Apr-Jun 2013;4(2):143-146.