I follow a lot of dermatologists on Instagram for my work — and in my three months of hunting for ideas, I’ve come across a lot of derm-approved advice that I’ve learned plenty from. But never would I have thought I’d witness dermats introduce the internet to a type of moisturiser that…and listen to this carefully…has to be ingested to deliver results to your skin: ingestible, consumable, oral moisturisers? I had so many questions — can these capsule-held moisturisers deem our go-to luscious, skin-loving creams obscure? Why do reports claim that they slow down the signs of ageing? Do they act quicker? Are they more effective in the long run?
I realised that the internet was ill-equipped to answer all of my questions, and that’s why I decided to go to the source: the professionals. Dr Afzaa Machiwala, MBBS, MD, and Founder & Consultant Dermatologist, Sutvak Skin Clinic and Dr Arshi Rahul, Award-Winning Cosmetologist and Founder, Skin Story Clinics broke down the head-scratching phenomenon for me — from explaining the way the capsules/pills work to whether they can replace standard, conventional moisturisers; they covered it all.
“Oral moisturisers are a patented complex of ceramides called ceramosides. This complex is extracted from whole wheat grain and is known to nourish the skin from within. Ageing causes a loss of ceramides, and even dry skin conditions are reported to have a reduced level of ceramides. Oral moisturisers work to replace these lost ceramides. Ceramide is the cement that binds the skin cells together. Depletion of ceramide leads to water loss along with dry, red, and irritated skin,” says Dr Afzaa.
Dr Afzaa breaks it down for me like this, “Ceramides reach the outer layer of the skin through the bloodstream, and restore the skin barrier. They inhibit the enzyme elastase that is responsible for loss of flexibility as well as increased wrinkling — and it doesn’t end there. Ceramides help with skin barrier function and retain hydration as well as the overall suppleness of the skin. Replacing ceramides with the use of oral moisturisers has shown significant improvement in the hydration of the stratum corneum — the outermost layer of the epidermis.”
According to the experts, these moisturisers are beneficial for people with skin-related conditions that cause dryness. This includes eczema, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and inflammatory allergies — and they’re ideal for people using oral retinoids for the treatment of acne too.
According to Dr Afzaa, these moisturisers function as supplements rather than standalone, “They aren’t a replacement but an add-on to our topical moisturisers. A few studies testify to the fact that these moisturisers lead to remarkable improvement, but there isn’t enough research or evidence that says that they can substitute topical moisturisers.” Dr Arshi is of the same opinion, and believes that your skin needs external applications of moisturiser, “Oral moisturisers can only prevent dryness from within.”
Dr Arshi explains to me that anyone between the ages of 20 and 50 can consume oral moisturisers (safely) to hydrate from within and prevent the development of various signs of ageing. “They can be consumed as a skincare supplement too. Studies have shown that oral intake of these capsules causes a significant reduction in dry patches, roughness, and itching — it’s hydration from within but never a replacement of topicals,” says Dr Afzaa.
Dr Afzaa suggests incorporating foods like soybean, egg, sweet potato, and spinach into your diet, and recommends SkinFay’s capsules. Radiplex Moist is another brand that manufactures such capsules, according to Dr. Arshi.
While significant side effects haven’t been documented with the consumption of these oral moisturisers, it is advisable for you to consume them under the guidance of your physician.
While the idea of ingesting a moisturiser is fascinating, remember that they can only function as substitutes — and that as safe as they are, consulting a professional is important.
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