A growing trend in natural products is liquid chlorophyll. There are some companies that claim this supplement can slow down skin aging.
What's one of the hottest trends on Tik Tok? It's liquid chlorophyll. You're probably familiar with chlorophyll, a pigment that gives plants their green color. When you eat a bowl of spinach, for example, you're getting chlorophyll from the green spinach leaves you place in your mouth. However, liquid chlorophyll doesn't contain the actual plant pigment, but a derivative of chlorophyll called chlorophyllin.
Why is liquid chlorophyll so trendy? People believe it slows skin aging. Who wouldn't want to slow down the hands of time, and if drinking liquid chlorophyll has benefits, people will jump on it. But what does science say about liquid chlorophyll and skin aging?
Liquid Chlorophyll and Skin Aging
Why might chlorophyll have anti-aging benefits? Some people point to its antioxidant capacity, while others claim it helps with detoxification. It's true that chlorophyll has antioxidant activity, but so do fruits and vegetables. There's also evidence that chlorophyll protects DNA, a cell's genetic material, against damage when cells are exposed to aflatoxins, toxins that harm the liver.
Although people on Tik Tok make liquid chlorophyll sound like the next best thing since sliced bread, there isn't a lot of research showing chlorophyll has an effect on skin aging. However, there is some evidence that a gel form of chlorophyll could improve skin acne. However, the studies have serious limitations, including a small size.
Chlorophyll for Skin Aging Needs More Research
This, of course, doesn't mean liquid chlorophyll lacks anti-aging benefits. It just hasn't been thoroughly studied at this point. It will take larger randomized studies that use control groups to determine whether liquid chlorophyll has a meaningful impact on skin wrinkling and laxity, two cardinal signs of skin aging.
You may find anecdotal cases of people who claim their skin improved after using chlorophyll, but that's not enough to prove it has anti-aging benefits. Some other factors may have caused the skin improvements.
People often use products with ingredients that lack scientific proof. In that case, you want to ensure there are no unknown harms or downsides to doing so. What do scientists know about the potential harms of liquid chlorophyll?
Downsides of Liquid Chlorophyll
One concern dermatologists have about liquid chlorophyll is applying it could make skin more sensitive to sunlight. In plants, chlorophyll is a pigment that absorbs energy from the sun, so the plant can undergo photosynthesis.
Therefore, it's not a stretch to say chlorophyll could cause photosensitivity. There are also some cases where people developed a photosensitivity-type skin reaction after consuming lots of chlorophyll.
So, it's possible that putting liquid chlorophyll on your skin could cause skin irritation or a photosensitivity reaction. If you have sensitive skin, you might be more susceptible to skin irritation or skin reactions if you apply it to your skin.
Other Potential Side Effects of Liquid Chlorophyll
According to WebMD.com, drinking chlorophyll can cause digestive upset, including nausea and vomiting. Plus, it may interact with medications that increase sun sensitivity, causing a photosensitivity reaction. It's also unclear whether liquid chlorophyll is safe for children and during pregnancy.
Since chlorophyll is a natural substance found in the leaves of plants, including plants people eat, it's unlikely you'll experience serious side effects from consuming it, other than a possible photosensitivity reaction if you go out in the sun.
Chlorophyll Supplements Aren't Regulated
The only problem is liquid chlorophyll is a supplement, and the Food and Drug Administration doesn't closely regulate supplements. (FDA) So, there's no guarantee that the liquid chlorophyll supplement you buy online contains significant chlorophyllin and that it doesn't contain impurities.
So, buyer beware when you purchase a supplement. Always purchase from a reputable company, preferably one that sends their products out to be independently tested for quality and purity.
Chlorophyll Is in Food Too
With so much focus on liquid chlorophyll, you might forget that chlorophyll is abundant in green, leafy vegetables too. When you eat leafy greens, you get the benefits of the other phytonutrients in the veggies too.
Non-starchy vegetables contain many other antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that may have skin anti-aging benefits. So, you can't go wrong consuming more chlorophyll-rich vegetables.
Studies show that eating a veggie-rich diet may also have beneficial effects on skin aging. A Japanese study found women who ate more green and yellow vegetables experienced an improvement in skin quality. There's also evidence that lycopene in red fruits and vegetables modestly protects against sun damage, like sunscreen. So, whether you try liquid chlorophyll or not, eat your veggies!
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- Nagata C, Nakamura K, Wada K, Oba S, Hayashi M, Takeda N, Yasuda K. Association of dietary fat, vegetables and antioxidant micronutrients with skin ageing in Japanese women. Br J Nutr. 2010 May;103(10):1493-8. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509993461. Epub 2010 Jan 20. PMID: 20085665.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.