What exactly is hyaluronic acid and how does it work?
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring substance in skin known for its stunning capacity to attract and hold onto 1000x its weight in moisture. It works overtime by replenishing skin to enhance a healthy, supple look and feel.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
In the world of skin care, trendy ingredients come and go (and many of them never should have been popular to begin with!). Research shows that hyaluronic acid is not just a trend; on the contrary, it’s one of the best skin care ingredients you can use.
Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan, a fancy name for a vital naturally-occurring substance that’s part of skin’s youth-supporting matrix. As the chief glycosaminoglycan in skin, hyaluronic acid works to keep every aspect of skin stable, safeguarded, and constantly renewed.
Hyaluronic acid is also a humectant, which is a category of skin care ingredients that are hygroscopic, meaning they draw moisture from their surroundings. Humectants are often found in water-based moisturizers, serums, and other leave-on skin care products because of their ability to help boost hydration for all skin types, which is especially beneficial for dry, dehydrated skin.
Hyaluronic acid is also a postbiotic, which is an ingredient that naturally occurs as probiotics found in skin's microbiome break down. Researchers believe that this synergy with skin is another reason application of hyaluronic acid leads to healthier, younger-looking skin: it strengthens and helps rebuild the unique microbiome on your skin.
Why is hyaluronic acid so important?
As we age, we lose collagen and hyaluronic acid naturally, so the skin becomes dehydrated more easily. Also, harsh weather, heaters during the wintertime, certain skin-care products, and underlying skin conditions can cause tiny breaks in the protective skin barrier, allowing water to escape. That's why creating a tailored skin-care regimen with moisturizing products can be extra beneficial.
Hydrating skin-care ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, glycerin, colloidal oatmeal, urea, propylene glycol, and sorbitol all act as 'humectants' that attract water to the skin in an effort to hydrate it. These ingredients are widely used in products, such as moisturizers, eye creams, and serums, says cosmetic chemist Sandra Bontempo.
By using these products, you'll firm the skin around the eye area, increase moisture to get rid of puffiness, and soften fine lines on the rest of the face. Hyaluronic acid penetrates easily, which is why it works so well when applied topically. Our skin is the largest organ in the body and absorbs up to 60 percent of nutrients we apply to it.
Additional perks of hyaluronic acid include its lightweight, watery nature, and ability to lock in moisture from the environment and deeper dermis to fully hydrate the skin.
Who should use hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is great for all skin types, says Shainhouse. In general, 'the ingredient' is nonirritating and does not trigger acne, rosacea, or allergic skin reactions. There is, however, a small chance of any adverse side effects.
Those with dry and/or more mature skin will benefit the most from using hyaluronic acid. As we age, our bodies produce less of it, so replacing hyaluronic acid topically will make the most impact on those of us who are middle-aged and older.
Hyaluronic acid has the word "acid" in its name, but there's no reason for sensitive skin types to tread lightly — it's safe for everyone. There are no known side effects of utilizing hyaluronic acid, as again, it's produced in our bodies. Definitely talk to your doctor if you do experience side effects from a product that contains it — it could be due to another active or inactive ingredient.
10 Benefits of hyaluronic acid
Hydration = Hyaluronic Acid.
Think of hyaluronic acid like a BIG drink of water for your skin. It is able to hold up to 1,000 times its molecular weight in water. Hyaluronic acid penetrates the skin and binds water to skin cells, infusing all layers of the skin with valuable, rejuvenating moisture.
Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum can be layered with other product. It also does not need a bunch of other ingredients and fillers to be effective. In fact, hyaluronic acid is the perfect example of how limited ingredient skincare can deliver real results.
Hydration is different than moisture for the skin.
Humectants are used A LOT in skincare. Think of a humectant like a sponge; it will continue to draw in and hold onto moisture after it is collected. They allow hydrogen bonding and attract water. Examples of humectants in skincare products include ingredients like glycerin, sorbitol (sugar alcohol), hexylene and butylene glycol, and of course, hyaluronic acid.
After infusing the epidermis (top layer of the skin) with valuable moisture, hyaluronic acid acts as a humectant and continues to draw moisture in from the surrounding environment. This will provide lasting hydration for the skin.
Lipid barrier enhancement
Our skin’s main function is to protect our body. Obviously, our skin protects our internal organs, muscles, bones, etc. from the outside world. But, our skin also protects the body from harmful toxins that bombard us on a daily basis.
The top layer of the skin (the epidermis) takes the brunt of outside damage (toxins). As we age, the lipid barrier (fatty acids that trap in water and prevent irritants entering the skin) in the epidermis slows down. Everything from UV rays, to environmental pollution, to lifestyle choices (like smoking) cause damage. This damage results in more fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, and drier skin.
Hyaluronic Acid fortifies the skin’s natural barriers to help lock moisture in for an even more dramatic hydrating effect. Over time, this can help slow down the the deterioration of the lipid barrier and help protect and fortify it.
When the lipid barrier is further enhanced and protected by hyaluronic acid, the skin is better able to defend itself against environmental age-factors and pollutants. When it’s not fighting these toxins, the skin remains less wrinkled, brighter, and bouncier longer.
A good tip to remember: preservatives used in a lot of products can break down your barrier by killing off the good bacteria that also defend the surface of your skin against toxins. The result is a loss of moisture, as well as potential irritation and even infection. Look for products with limited ingredients and not a lot of preservatives. A lot of people with oily or acneic skin want to apply harsher chemicals to “strip” the skin of oil. It’s important to know that most acne-prone skin doesn’t have a strong lipid barrier, which encourages inflammation and irritation. Hyaluronic acid adds hydration, helps protect the lipid barrier, and is recommended for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin.
Tighter skin tone
No one wants saggy skin. Ever. As we age, the elastin in the skin breaks down, and skin loses its snap, or bounceback. A quick trick to check your elastin (the bounceback) is to pinch the skin on the top of your hand. If it snaps back quickly, you still have a lot of elastin. As you age, the skin won’t bounce back as quickly. Next time you visit your mother or grandmother, try the test on them (but don’t tell them why… there’s seriously no need, it can’t be fixed).
Hyaluronic Acid is NOT going to replace your elastin but, it can help with the appearance of tightness in the skin. As it fills the skin with moisture, hyaluronic acid tightens the overall complexion. It helps firm facial contours for a more youthful appearance. And that is something you can share with mom and grandma.
Much in the same way it makes the appearance of the skin look tighter, hyaluronic acid also smoothes the texture of the skin. This results in a silky smooth finish you can see and feel.
If skin is visibly scarred from acne, the hyaluronic acid will not fill in those scars. But, combined with a tool like a dermaroller, over time, hyaluronic acid plus a dermaroller can make skin look smoother.
Less visible fine lines and wrinkless
It’s never too early to start protecting and nourishing the skin. Hyaluronic acid is truly an ingredient that gives benefits to twenty and eighty year old skin.
Hyaluronic Acid helps reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles retaining moisture to the skin, creating a plumping effect. When the skin is protected and hydrated, increased skin cell production can take place, as the skin isn’t busy fighting for hydration. This leads to smoother, plumper skin cells.
The skin around the eye area is one of the first to show fine lines and wrinkles. Using an eye cream with hyaluronic acid, twice daily will help keep skin supple and hydrated, and prevent new lines from forming.
Stimulates skin cell regeneration
While it won’t speed up the cell renewal process, hyaluronic acid does help promote skin cell regeneration by offering extra hydration and barrier protection to the skin. This naturally leads to healthier cells and a more vibrant complexion.
Just like in point #8, when there is increased cell turnover, hyaluronic acid also helps reduce and prevent age spots and pigmentation issues. But, it cannot do it on it’s own. When looking to treat dark spots, hyaluronic acid should be pared with vitamin C.
Also, no amount of sun damage can be undone without first protecting the skin from future sun damage. Always wear an SPF of at least 30 on a daily basis. Even the days you don’t plan to be outside.
When oily skin is stripped of hydration (water) it overcompensates to hydrate the skin by producing oil. A big misconception is that oily and acne prone skins don’t need hydration, but in fact, they do.
By promoting proper moisture balance in the skin, hyaluronic acid prevents the over-production of oil that clogs pores and causes breakouts.
Overall, hyaluronic acid is great for sitting on top of your skin and preventing the moisture from being lost to the outside environment—but it’s not foolproof, so use it wisely. Always apply it to clean and damp skin, lock it in, and consult your derm if you’re noticing anything unusual. But all in all, it’s a pretty harmless and helpful ingredient.
TOP PRODUCT that is currently the whitest on the market and contains the best formulated hyaluronic acid is Beach BABE by La PIEL. Along with Hyaluron, it contains argan, coconut and walnut oil and has a phenomenal aesthetic characteristic that is emphasized by the shimmer that gives the skin that beautiful glow or glow.