You’d probably know a thing or two about carbohydrates, protein, fat and calories by now, but you may have overlooked another compound that plays a pivotal role in your body — amino acids.
Amino acids are vital for internal body processes, like the building of proteins, as well as the synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters. Some may also be taken in the form of a supplement, as a natural way to boost athletic performance or improve mood.
While they are essential throughout the body, amino acids are especially beneficial for your skin. Simply put, amino acids are to your skin what yeast is to bread: They are the building blocks of your skin.
Amino acids supply nutrients to nourish the skin, hair and nails from within the body. They strengthen connective tissue, and keep your skin smooth and supple, the nails firm and the hair strong for an overall healthy appearance. Trying to maintain or achieve fabulous skin without amino acids is akin to building a house without proper foundation — it may not withstand changing climates and remain standing for long.
It is not a stretch to suggest that amino acids are indispensable to both the body and skin. Therefore, it is equally important to supply your body with the proper balance of amino acids for you to achieve more youthful and radiant-looking skin.
How Amino Acids Affect Your Body
In this modern marketing-dominant era, certain skincare ingredients may be overhyped, and thus, come and go in waves of popularity. But not this one, and we can vouch for that. Amino acids are keepers — they have a role in virtually all the biological processes that occur in our bodies, as they are the building blocks that make up protein. Amino acids can combine together to form protein fragments, known as peptides, which have been studied and proven to increase skin firmness and texture, as well as reduce wrinkles when applied topically to the skin.
For starters, amino acids are naturally present in skin as part of our natural moisturising factors (NMFs). Within the skin’s uppermost layers, amino acids work as conductors, orchestrating a remarkably intricate process that permits your skin to thrive and to stay hydrated. They work hand in hand with aquaporins (the body’s water transport system) to transport moisture throughout the skin and are essentially responsible in maintaining your skin’s texture and hydration.
There are a couple more surprising benefits of these small, but potent, skincare underdogs. Some amino acids contain antioxidant properties, and most of these are believed to play an even grander role by helping the skin to create more of its own antioxidants, such as glutathione. In addition, topically applied amino acids help strengthen skin’s natural defence system, making it less likely to show signs of aging from environmental damage.
Best Amino Acids for Skin
There are twenty major amino acids that are necessary for human health, which are further split into two camps: Essential amino acids and non-essential ones.
Essential amino acids, as the name suggests, are ones that you must obtain from foods like fish, chicken, beef or dietary supplements, as your body does not produce them. A deficiency in even one of them may lead to health problems.
On the other hand, non-essential amino acids are ones that your body can produce on its own, and for that, it is not deemed necessary for you to acquire them elsewhere, such as from food or supplements.
When it boils down to skincare, these are the sacred few with ‘specialised’ roles in creating and maintaining smooth, healthy and younger-looking skin:
- Arginine increases cell turnover, speeds healing and plays a major role in repairing visible skin damage and collagen formation.
- Lysine hydrates the skin and helps increase collagen production, which in turn, leads to visibly firmer skin.
- Histidine contains antioxidant properties and aids in soothing of the skin.
- Methionine is your skin’s first line of defence, as it neutralises damaging substances before they do any harm to the skin.
- Leucine improves fine lines and wrinkles when paired with other amino acids.
- Glycine prevents tissue breakdown and increases your skin’s healing rate.
Although these amino acids are effective on their own, they are known to complement each other and provide users with better perks and results. For instance, a combination of lysine and arginine can effectively treat certain skin infections, while proline and leucine can effectively combat wrinkles when paired together!
Amino Acids and Their Significance
More than just a supplement for bodybuilders, amino acids are critical for healthy skin. They promote cellular repair, hydrate the skin and provide antioxidant protection. The impact of skin lacking in moisture can be a tad unflattering — from dryness and rough textures to those wretched lines taking front seats. Without the proper balance of amino acids, you will not be able to get far in your crusade to reduce signs of aging.