Taut skin is a term for skin which has ideal firmness, elasticity and hydration; basically, a healthy “glowing” look. Consumers often seek to achieve this look for their skin, and many products offer solutions though most of these are based on bad science.
In this article we’ll review several supplements which are medically proven to improve measures of taut skin, along with certain lifestyle changes which can help.
We chose to review supplements because there is more medical research on consumable products than on topical products like skin creams, which tend to have less science backing their effectiveness.
Collagen is the most effective supplement for skin in our opinion. It’s been conclusively shown in medical studies when consumed orally to improve various measures of skin health, including hydration and elasticity.
It’s a common misconception pushed by skincare companies that consuming collagen can’t actually increase collagen levels in the body. This is demonstrably false, and we’ve seen more research proving orally consumed collagen is effective than topically applied collagen.
We recommend a dosage of 10 g daily, which appears to be the maximum effective dose based on the above-linked research review from the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.
Health conscious consumers should look for a collagen product without any added ingredients like sweeteners. Plain, unflavored collagen is your best bet for taut skin when considering both cost and overall health.
The skin-improving effects of Vitamin C are centered on damage reduction, rather than direct improvement of skin quality like collagen.
A study on combined Vitamin C and Vitamin E administration found that the supplementation significantly reduced UV damage to skin. This is important because many people don’t use sunscreen every time they go outside, especially if they’re only going out for short periods or if there are clouds. The Vitamin C dosage used in the study was 2 g/day.
Another medical study reinforced the findings above. It found that Vitamin C supplementation, even at a relatively low dose of 180 mg/day, increased free radical scavenging in the skin by 37%.
Free radicals are molecules in the body (some created by the body, some coming from external sources like pollutants) which are capable of harming human cells, so this study furthers the proof that Vitamin C supplementation can protect skin from damage.
We recommend plain Vitamin C powder with no additives like sugar or preservatives as a supplement for taut skin. It should ideally be mixed with water and consumed by straw, since Vitamin C is extremely acidic and can potentially damage teeth.
Astaxanthin is an increasingly popular supplement, and is the compound which gives salmon its pink color.
It has been proven in medical research to “result in potent antiwrinkle and antioxidant effects” via a variety of biological processes, including improved DNA repair capacity and promotion of increased endogenous collagen production.
We recommend naturally derived astaxanthin, because synthetically derived astaxanthin has been associated with health and safety risks in studies.
Sports Research sells an astaxanthin product derived from microalgae which has safe inactive ingredients. This is the best formulation we’ve come across for this supplement category.
Lifestyle Changes for Taut Skin
The easiest lifestyle change you can make to promote taut skin is to avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible. When avoidance is impossible, use a physical sunscreen containing zinc oxide as the primary active ingredient.
UV rays are the primary external skin aging factor by far, so simple and free lifestyle choices like wearing a hat when outside can make long term impacts on facial skin appearance.
Consistent sleep quality is another lifestyle factor which can impact skin appearance. Most people already know this but it bears repeating because discipline is required for good sleep hygiene in the modern world, when there are so many potential distractions.
We know from medical research that consistently poor sleep quality is significantly associated with worse skin appearance.
Making an effort to get at least 8 hours of quality sleep per night is one of the best ways to not only feel better but to look better as well.