WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID & HOW SHOULD YOU USE IT?by Ansulene Prinsloo
Hyaluronic acid is one of a handful of new buzzwords popping up in the beauty world right now. But what exactly is it, and what does it do to your skin?
WHAT IS HYARURONIC ACID?
Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that is used in personal care products. Humectants work really well as a mechanism to moisturize your skin so you can put high levels of it on in your skincare routine. Humectants are great for moisturization in general, but hyaluronic acid is special because it's something that's already in your skin. According to a report published by Dermato Endocrinology, “Skin aging is also associated with loss of skin moisture. The key molecule involved in skin moisture is hyaluronan or hyaluronic acid (HA), a glycosaminoglycan (GAG) with a unique capacity to bind and retain water molecules.”
And so having hyaluronic acid in skincare is really beneficial because it’s replenishing something natural in your skin and is growing in popularity each year as more consumers are becoming aware of its benefits and more brands are able to include it in their products.
WHAT DOES HYALURONIC ACID DO?
Hyaluronic acid is a substance that attracts and pulls moisture, even from the air. So if you're in a high humidity environment, it will attract moisture from there, and sometimes pulls moisture from deeper layers of your skin too.
HOW DOES HYALURONIC ACID ACT ON YOUR SKIN?
Essentially, hyaluronic acid draws moisture and holds it on your skin to hydrate it. It gives skin a more refreshed, plumped look. Hyaluronic acid molecules come in multiple sizes. To explain this a bit more, we found a great read on the Harvard Health Blog: “Larger HA molecules, despite being the best at binding water and offering hydration, cannot penetrate into the skin. When applied topically (to the skin), these molecules sit on top of the skin, offering hydration only at the very surface. Smaller HA molecules, which bind less water than larger HA molecules, can penetrate deeper into the skin (though only into the epidermis, the topmost layer of skin). For maximum surface hydration, look for a product that contains HA molecules in a variety of sizes.”
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF USING HYALUYRONIC ACID AS A SERUM?
Some skin benefits of hyaluronic acid:
- Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles diminishing all signs of ageing
- Restores the water levels in the skin’s barrier with unrivalled hydration
- Increases the resilience of your skin making it able to protect itself and able to fight off toxins and free radicals
- Although hyaluronic is not able to replace the elastin in your skin, it is able to help with the appearance of any sagging skin by adding tightness and enhancing the contours of the face.
- Helps to smooth out any uneven skin texture and pigmentation found on the skin.
- It doesn’t help with the production of skin cell renewal but aids the process by adding hydration making the cells appear more vibrant for a longer amount of time.
- By promoting moisture balance to the skin, hyaluronic is able to control the amount of oil produced resulting in fewer blocked pores and breakouts.
The more moisturized your skin is, the less chances there are for superfine lines. Deep wrinkles are not going to disappear with hyaluronic acid, but maybe superfine lines like around your eyes or mouth — which is really common for most people — might be lessened. Having moisturized skin can help, kind of, fill in those areas because hyaluronic acid plumps skin and helps keep the collagen in your skin, as well, which keeps everything nice and smooth.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU NEED TO ADD A HYALURONIC ACID SERUM INTO YOUR ROUTINE?
Hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient to have and use when your skin looks or feels dehydrated. So, if you have dry patches, or if the skin doesn't feel plump and elastic, try out a serum. And, if you live in a super dry climate, versus a more humid environment, you may want to consider incorporating hyaluronic acid into your routine to support the moisture levels of your skin.
WHAT'S THE CORRECT WAY TO USE HYALURONIC ACID?
The way you want to use hyaluronic acid in a skincare routine is to start by cleansing your face with a nice simple cleanser. And then, with slightly damp skin or even slightly wet skin, apply the hyaluronic acid serum to your face followed by a moisturizer and sunscreen (during the day). As long as you have the serum sandwiched between slightly damp skin and a moisturizer, you're good to go. It really plumps up the skin and makes it look nice and moisturized, and stays moisturized, throughout the day.
Which Skin Types Need Hyaluronic Acid?
Yes honestly, everyone can use hyaluronic acid, as it does not strip the skin or require any downtime or need for worry. Think of it simply as a large glass of water for the face.
Dry Skin Types: You have properly already guessed that this humectant for dry skin types would feel as though it was sent from the gods. Withered, parched, sallow looking skin is restored to full bouncy, radiant complexion.
Oily and Blemish-Prone Skin Types: Due to HA working hard at balancing the oil production of your skin, your skin will feel comfortable without the worry of blocked pores or breakouts developing from using such a moisturising product. If you have any active spots you have the peace of mind no extra bacteria and debris are being added.
Dehydrated Skin Types: Just to make something clear, all skin types can become dehydrated, the tip to remember is to not fall into the trap of thinking these new fine lines are results of ageing. 99% of the time your skin is just thirsty and applying hyaluronic will iron out any lines and make the skin look smooth and full of health.
Sensitive Skin Types: If you haven’t dabbled into the world of AHA, hyaluronic acid would be a great starting point at balancing the skin’s barrier and build up a strong protective shield from any free radicals, daily aggressors and other toxins that can lead to irritation.
Yes, no joking about it, hyaluronic acid really does work wonders on all skin types!