There are few skincare ingredients that are better known than hyaluronic acid. The silky skincare sensation seemingly appeared from nowhere around a decade ago; popping up within products of every cosmetic brand worth noticing from high street to high end. It seemed HA was the super ingredient of the moment and you’d be forgiven for thinking that this on-trend hydrating factor would soon be replaced by the next fashionable ingredient.
But several years down the line, and hyaluronic acid remains a staple element of the finest skincare products. Yes, HA has evidently made an impact and it seems the wonder ingredient is here to stay. Featured in serums, moisturisers and cbd creams galore, figuring out how to use it in your beauty routine can be mystifying. So we’ll keep it simple for you: what exactly is hyaluronic acid, what is it good for and how the heck do you use it for optimal results?
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a biological molecule that is naturally occurring throughout the tissues of your body, predominantly the skin, hair, eyes and joints. This polysaccharide is incredibly effective at binding with moisture; in other words, it has the ability to attract and cling on to water in our cells and plump them up. By doing this, it cushions and lubricates our tissues. Additionally, it has an incredible ability to effectively hydrate the skin.
Your body holds a lot of hyaluronic acid, and half of this is located within your skin cells. HA acts like a magnet towards moisture in the air, binding to it and keeping moisture within those cells. In fact, scientific evidence shows that HA can hold up to 1000x its molecular weight in moisture.
Consequently, we love this magnificently powerful product that significantly boosts the elasticity and moisture levels of our skin. So much so that, it is available to use in multiple formats. The most popular hyaluronic acid skincare products are topical serums, gels and creams. However, it is increasingly common to take hyaluronic acid supplement capsules or even as aesthetic injections such as facial filler.
Skin Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid
Haven’t tried hyaluronic acid yet? Give it a go; your skin will gulp it down. Here’s why:
- Hydration – by binding with water molecules in your skin cells, HA delivers intensely hydrated skin. Our skin naturally produces hyaluronic acid, but as we age, HA concentration decreases. By using HA serums or moisturisers, you can you’re your skin in replenishing this gradually depleting wonder ingredient. Sufficient skin hydration equals a healthier, plumper, smoother and more youthful appearance.
- Humectant – HA brings long-term moisture to the skin as it is a humectant. This means it continues to draw in water to the skin from the surrounding environment – like a sponge - even after it has absorbed through the top layer of the skin.
- Wrinkle Reduction - Hydrated skin helps to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Hold off on the Botox; you’ll be flaunting a fresh, supple appearance after letting HA do its thing! (It’s much cheaper, too.)
- Toxin Defence – Studies show that hyaluronic acid is an antioxidant. This means it offers sturdy protection against free radicals and environmental aggressors such as pollution which contribute to the deterioration of the skin’s natural lipid barrier. HA can help to slow this process down.
- Clearer Skin – Contrary to popular belief, oily, blemish-prone skin is often dehydrated. When moisture levels are low, the skin can overcompensate by producing too much oil. Consequently, pores become clogged and blemishes occur. By hydrating the skin sufficiently with hyaluronic acid, oil production can be reduced, and the result? A clear and healthy complexion.
- Fast Absorption – HA absorbs at a faster rate than some alternative skincare ingredients, meaning your skin can lap up the benefits more quickly and doesn’t lose as much product.
- Effective on All Skin Types – The benefits of hyaluronic acid have been appreciated across a varied range of skin types. It is suitable for those with sensitive skin, dry skin, dehydrated skin, oily skin and combination skin.
Which Hyaluronic Acid Skincare Product Should I Use?
Thanks to its firm popularity within the beauty and cosmetics market, there is a myriad of over-the-counter skincare products which include hyaluronic acid as an active key ingredient. So much choice, however, can make for a difficult decision when it comes to choosing the right product for you.
Firstly, always look for an HA product that is suitable for your skin type. While hyaluronic acid is suitable for all skin types, the cream or serum may be infused with additional ingredients that are too harsh for certain skin types. Secondly, take an even closer look at those added ingredients. Do they provide extra benefits such as CBD that would help your skin? For instance, you might opt for a Hyaluronic Acid serum formulated with CBD for optimal hydration results and to benefit from CBD’s soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. Alternatively, you may choose a HA moisturiser infused with CBD and retinol; creating a dynamic formula to speed up skin cell turnover.
How to Include Hyaluronic Acid in your Skincare Routine
Another great benefit of hyaluronic acid is that it is incredibly flexible and can slot into any beautifying routine. While some skincare ingredients have to be applied at a specific time of day, e.g. in the morning or before bedtime, HA can be lapped up by your skin at any time and doesn’t interfere with other skincare products.
Hyaluronic acid is usually infused into serums or moisturisers, and thanks to its hydrating properties, we would recommend using in the last stages of your beauty routine. For example, after cleansing and toning, use an HA serum. Once this has absorbed into the skin, follow it up with a hyaluronic acid moisturiser.