You may know that I’m not a huge fan of topical hyaluronic acid (find out why in this post). But I am all for boosting your body’s own production of it!
With the right tools, your body can become a powerhouse machine of producing natural hyaluronic acid. For more healthy, hydrated, and plump skin. This post will explain how, according to science.
This is what I’ll cover:
- Why we need Hyaluronic acid for plump skin
- The foods that contain Hyaluronic acid
- How to increase production of Hyaluronic acid with foods
- Magnesium and zinc
- Vitamin C and Carotenoids
- How to increase natural Hyaluronic acid with daily habits
- What about supplements?
Why we need Hyaluronic acid for plump skin
Hyaluronic acid (also known as Hyaluronan) is a large sugar molecule that attracts over 1000 times its own weight in water. It’s found especially in the skin, connective tissue, the synovial fluid (to lubricate our joints), and our eyes. And it plays an important role in retaining moisture.
More than 50% of our body’s Hyaluronic acid content is in our skin. And the dermis (the middle layer of the skin) contains far more than the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin).
Besides being important for water retention. Hyaluronic acid also plays a role in collagen synthesis.
With age, our bodies produce less of this molecule. Which leads to dryer skin, more prominent lines, and wrinkles. As well as joint pain and dryer eyes.
Skincare companies like to make us believe that using hyaluronic acid in topical products will give us more hydration and plump skin. But that is not always the case (see this post to learn more).
And companies that sell injectables use heavy marketing to promote so-called temporary fillers with Hyaluronic acid. I have an in-depth post about temporary fillers that explains all about the side effects and how these fillers can actually age your skin faster and cause long term damage. They are nothing but natural so be careful and read my post if you are considering the procedure.
The rest of this post will guide you on how to get plump skin with natural Hyaluronic acid. By making your body produce more of it.
With the right choices of diet and daily habits, you can replenish your skin with this important molecule.
Let’s talk more about that in the following sections.
The foods that contain Hyaluronic acid
The highest amounts of Hyaluronic acid are found in animal-derived foods such as chicken combs and cartilage. And with even higher amounts in the joints and eyes of the animal.
Another choice would be bone broth where the bones have been simmered in water over a period of 24 hours.
For me personally, I rather choose to eat the foods that are proven to increase production of Hyaluronic acid within my skin. Which is what the next section is about.
How to increase production of Hyaluronic acid with foods
Let’s talk about the nutrients that are proven by science to increase Hyaluronic acid in your skin. Either by hindering the degradation of this molecule (which happens more rapidly with age). Or by boosting the production of it.
These are the nutrients that you need to eat on a regular basis. And the best sources of them.
Naringenin is a very interesting phytochemical that is found mostly in citrus fruits, grapefruits, tomatoes and bananas.
What it does is that it inhibits the enzyme (hyaluronidase) that breaks down Hyaluronic acid in the skin.
And as mentioned above, that breakdown is going faster the older we get. And also when we are exposed to sun, stress, and pollution.
Isoflavones are another kind of phytochemical that is found in plants such as legumes. With the highest concentrations in soybeans.
Soy is unique due to its high amounts of the isoflavones called genistein and daidzein. These can bind to estrogen receptors in the body and cause either a weak estrogenic effect. Or an anti-estrogenic effect.
For postmenopausal women, these isoflavones can act more like an estrogen. While among premenopausal women, it will act more like an anti-estrogen. In other words, isoflavones will help balance the estrogen activities in the body.
For the skin and Hyaulronic acid content, this is extremely interesting. Because for postmenopausal women the production of Hyaluronic acid declines rapidly as the estrogen goes down. And with the help of soy isoflavones, this can be reversed.
But it seems like the isoflavones can help younger women as well.
This study shows that taking the isoflavone genistein aglycone orally helped reduce fine lines and wrinkles. And improved skin elasticity. The study was done on women in their late 30s and early 40s.
This study has also shown that the isoflavones genistein and daidzein increases Hyaluronic acid quite a lot when applied topically to the skin.
Just be aware that many people (me included) are allergic to soy. But if you can tolerate it, include foods like tofu, tempeh and edamame, at least a few times a week.
Magnesium and zinc
These two minerals are crucial in order to increase Hyaluronic acid naturally.
Magnesium is a necessary catalyst in the process of producing Hyaluronic acid in the body. So you need to get good amounts of this mineral in your diet. Make sure to eat plenty of leafy greens, avocados, nuts, seeds, and root vegetables such as sweet potato.
A deficiency of zinc will accelerate the breakdown of Hyaluronic acid. So also make sure to include good amounts of foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains in your diet.
Some research has found that people who eat a diet rich in starchy root vegetables like sweet potatoes have higher levels of Hyaluronic acid than average. This is probably due to the fact that these vegetables are high in both magnesium, vitamin C and carotenoids. Which I’ll talk more about in the next section.
Vitamin C and Carotenoids
You find vitamin C in fruits, berries, and vegetables, where citrus fruits and kiwis are among the ones with the highest content.
Make sure you eat plenty of these kinds of foods. And add a supplement like this one whenever you have bad days with fewer fruits and veggies. You do not want to go one single day without an abundance of this vitamin in your diet. If you want to keep your skin healthy and young.
The same goes for carotenoids. These are a group of phytochemicals that gives plants certains colors. You may have heard of lycopen and beta carotene already. But there are many more, and they all have an incredible effect on the skin.
My post about the skin tightening foods you should eat daily explains all you need to know about the carotenoids. How they help block your skin from UV-rays, protect from pollution, increase collagen- and elastin production, AND increase production of Hyaluronic acid.
The more colorful fruits and vegetables you eat, the better. And some sources that are especially high in the carotenoids that increase Hyaluronic acid are carrots, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, corn, sweet potatoes, persimmon, spinach, kale, and broccoli.
Tip: To learn even more about foods that will help you preserve youth, see my post about foods that can help tighten skin.
How to increase natural Hyaluronic acid with daily habits
Besides dietary choices. There are other factors that affect how much Hyaluronic acid your body will produce and retain. So in order to fully get the plump skin you want, you better incorporate certain daily habits as well. Especially the first two mentioned below.
Your beauty sleep has a huge impact on how your skin will look, feel, and preserve itself in coming years.
I have a separate blog post explaining all the benefits of beauty sleep. And one of the things that depend on the quality of your sleep, is the production of Hyaluronic acid.
The reason is that quality sleep helps you reduce harmful levels of cortisol. And with a lack of sleep, cortisol will impair the synthesis of Hyaluronic acid in the skin. Which is one of the reasons why a bad night’s sleep can give you the appearance of dry and a bit saggy skin. While a good night’s sleep will give you more plump skin naturally.
You may already know that sun-rays are bad for the skin and that you must use sunscreen to prevent premature skin aging.
You may not know though that UV-rays also deplete your skin of Hyaluronic acid. Which can leave you with dryer skin. And more prone to wrinkles long term.
In my blog post about anti aging sunscreens, I explain more about sun damage and why it’s important to choose the right sunscreen.
When it comes to skincare products. Applying Hyaluronic acid will not do anything to increase your own production of it. But there is another ingredient that has this ability. Retinol.
Retinol is an ingredient that you might have heard of already. Since it is known to be the most effective skincare ingredient for reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
It does this not just by increasing cell turnover and enhances collagen production. But also due to its ability to increase the production of natural Hyaluronic acid. And therefore help with getting more plump skin.
In other words. Retinol is a great anti aging ingredient, if you can tolerate it. In my blog post about Retinol, I explain all you need to know about Retinol. And what serum I use myself for my sensitive skin.
What about supplements?
What about taking Hyaluronic acid as a supplement? Will that help you get more plump skin?
Well, some research indicates it does. And in Japan, Hyaluronic acid is a common supplement.
For example, one study shows that supplementing with Hyaluronic acid will improve the skin’s moisture and help with dry skin. But this study was also funded by a company who produces supplements with Hyaluronic acid.
Another promising study has shown that supplementing with Hyaluronic acid may improve wrinkles. Yet, worth knowing is that this study was also funded by the same company.
Summary – How to get plump skin with natural Hyaluronic acid
Let’s summarize how to increase your own natural Hyaluronic acid for more plump skin:
- Include citrus fruits, tomatoes, and bananas in your diet. Since they contain the phytonutrient Naringenin that helps preserve Hyaluronic acid in your skin.
- Include soy products in your diet (if you can tolerate it) since the isoflavones in soy has been shown to have promising effects on Hyaluronic acid production in the skin.
- Include root vegetables, leafy greens, and whole grains, to get a good amount of magnesium. And nuts, seeds, and legumes, to also make sure you get enough zinc. Both minerals are crucial in the production of Hyaluronic acid.
- Eat as many colorful fruits and vegetables as you can. These are not just packed with vitamin C. But also the pigments called carotenoids, which are proven to boost your body’s production of Hyaluronic acid. Some great sources are for example tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, persimmon, spinach, melons, corn, and broccoli.
- Get your beauty sleep since that is fundamental for your Hyaluronic production.
- Use sunscreen every day since UV-rays break down the Hyaluronic acid you have in your skin.
- Use Retinol several times per week (if you can tolerate it). Since this anti-aging ingredient is proven to increase your own production of Hyaluronic acid.
So these are the tips that will help you get plump skin naturally. Try to follow as many of them as possible for best result.
I personally incorporate all of them in my everyday life (except for eating soy products since I am allergic). And when it comes to fruits and vegetables I eat like a horse.
Since I started to follow the guidelines in this post about carotenoids, I noticed a great effect on my skin just within a few weeks. Definitely more glow, more hydration, and more elasticity. And much of that is thanks to the higher amount of natural hyaluronic acid in my skin.
Also, when talking about plumpness. These methods will plump the skin itself. But if you need more volume and fuller cheeks. Then check out my post on how to get fuller cheeks naturally.
Hope you found this information useful! Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or personal experiences you would like to share. I would love to hear!
Until next time, love your skin!