Hyaluronic Acid is my skincare hero.
Whenever my skin gets a little dry and flaky, I just have to put out an SOS and it comes to save the day. Within a few short days, my skin is back to its soft, plumpy self.
Thanks, Hyaluronic Acid!
His super power? A big moisture magnet. When he’s around, moisture flocks to the skin faster than I can say “go”. Here’s what makes it so irresistible:
What The Heck Is Hyaluronic Acid?
This may sound surprising and a little stalkish, but Hyaluronic Acid has been with you since birth. It’s a glycosaminoglycans (a fancy way of calling long, unbranched sugar) that naturally occurs in your body’s connective tissue.
In plain English, Hyaluronic Acid is part of the glue that holds skin cells together.
Fun fact: this superhero owes his name to hyalos, the Greek word for glass, and the sugar uronic acid. Yep, if you could see Hyaluronic Acid with the naked eye, it’d have a glossy appearance.
What Does Hyaluronic Acid Do For Your Skin?
It’s a moisture magnet!
Here’s how it works. Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant. That’s a fancy way of saying that it attracts moisture from the environment into the skin, pumping up its hydration levels.
Other ingredients do this. Glycerin and Urea spring to mind immediately. But Hyaluronic Acid goes the extra mile: it can bind up to 1000 times its weight in water! That’s a waterfall of moisture!
Like Korean skincare teaches, hydrated skin = happy skin. When skin has all the moisture it needs, it his softer to the touch; it’s all plumped up, which in turn makes wrinkles look smaller; and has that beautiful dewy glow that makes it look like it’s lit from within.
Hydration is Hyaluronic Acid’s main job, but this superhero has other tricks up its sleeve. It also:
Where’s The Catch?
Yes, there’s one.
As a rule, anything that is bigger than 500 Daltons can’t penetrate the skin. Guess what? Hyaluronic Acid is way bigger than that.
No worries, it still works. Hyaluronic Acid stays on the surface, plumping up and hydrating the most superficial layers. But if you want the added benefits of increased elasticity etc, it needs to penetrate the skin.
You have two options here:
- Hyaluronic Acid fillers (not an option for this needle phobic girl)
- Low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid
Yep, these days, Hylauronic Acid comes in all sizes. Niod Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex, for example, uses 12! Some of these forms are big and stay on the surface of the skin while others are smaller and can get in.
I wouldn’t use too many of the smaller forms, though. Low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid is too friendly to other molecules, helping them slip into the skin, too. If one of them happens to be irritating, or your skin is particularly sensitive, this may cause inflammation.
Mind you, this is a problem with all penetration-enhancers. That’s why you need to read the labels to ensure there’s nothing irritating in your products in the first place.
One more thing: Hyaluronic Acid works best at concentrations BELOW 2%. Don’t worry if you don’t see it at the top of the ingredient list. It’ll still do the job fine.
What Are The Best Products With Hyaluronic Acid?
- Bakel Deep Hydration Serum (£106.00): only water + Sodium Hyaluronate (perfect for sensitive skin). Available at SpaceNK.
- Niod Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Complex ($25.00): 12 forms of hyaluronic acid! Available at Beauty Bay.
- Paula’s Choice Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster ($46.00): Hyaluronic Acid + ceramides. Available at Look Fantastic and Paula’s Choice.
The Bottom Line
Hyaluronic Acid is a godsend for dry skin: it plumps it up, hydrates it and gives it a soft, dewy glow. Just don’t go overboard!
Do you use products with Hyaluronic Acid? Share your favourites in the comments below.