Skin Care Beginner's Guide to Hyaluronic Acid
Updated: Nov 4, 2019
Everything you need to know about hyaluronic acid.
The next time you’re out shopping for skincare, have a look at the ingredients list of serums, creams or masks that claim to hydrate and plump skin. Chances are, you’ll spot hyaluronic acid. As one of the most commonly used skincare ingredients, it is synonymous with hydration and often equated as a must-have ingredient for smooth and plump skin. But did you know that the human body has hyaluronic acid in our body?
Naturally occurring in our body in connective, epithelial and neural tissues, hyaluronic acid is constantly being produced and degraded in our body. And with age, the rate at which it’s being produced drops below the rate at which it’s being damaged so the level of hyaluronic acid starts to drop, which in turn is reflected in the loss of plumpness in our skin. Beyond that, hyaluronic acid is also used in injectables like wrinkle fillers because of their ability to fill in hollows on the face (like under the eyes) and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. Here’s all you need to know about what hyaluronic acid is, how it works and who it’s best suited for. Plus, the best hyaluronic acid-rich products to load up on for plump skin.
Hyaluronic acid vs sodium hyaluronate?
Hyaluronic acid is the naturally occurring form and it holds moisture of up to 6,000 times its molecular weight, making it an excellent humectant in skincare products as it is able to hold on to moisture. On the other hand, sodium hyaluronate is a salt derived from hyaluronic acid, which basically means that it is more easily absorbed by the skin as it has a smaller molecular size. However, it’s good to look for skincare products that have both so that they can replenish and seal in moisture at the same time.
What does hyaluronic acid do?
In topical skincare, hyaluronic acid plumps the skin because it attracts moisture to itself. When your skin is dry, fine lines become more noticeable and your complexion can even tend to look dull due to poor light reflection. When hyaluronic acid is introduced to the skin, it draws moisture to itself and and plumps skin from inside out. As a result, the appearance of lines is softened and skin also appears more radiant as a smooth surface reflects light better. At the same time, long-chain hyaluronic acid forms a protective layer over skin to hold moisture in and prevent moisture loss.As previously mentioned, hyaluronic acid is also found in injectables like wrinkle fillers. Due to its large molecular size, hyaluronic acid fillers can help restore volume and density to areas that have hollowed out with age, like under the eyes or around the cheeks.
Who is it suitable for?
Unlike many abrasive acids used in skincare, hyaluronic acid is gentle and suitable for every skin type. Since the foundation of healthy skin is well-hydrated skin, hyaluronic acid can and should be incorporated into everyone’s skincare routine. Whether you have visible wrinkles, have enlarged pores due to a loss of elasticity, or are prone to tightness and dryness, hyaluronic acid can help address all those skin concerns. Even those with blemish-prone skin can benefit from hyaluronic acid and it replenishes moisture without greasiness, thus preventing your sebum glands from going into overdrive to produce sebum to keep skin hydrated.
This article originally appears in the October 2018 on Harper's BAZAAR