What is Hyaluronic Acid?
1. Hyaluronic acid (HA), or hyaluronan, is a carbohydrate molecule that is naturally occurring in our bodies. That’s right, it’s already in your skin!
2. HA provides lubrication to the connective tissues of our joints and skin and is an important part of our skin’s overall health.
3. HA is present in many areas of your body including your eyes, internal fluids, and connective tissue, but much of it is in your skin, which accounts for 50% of your body’s total HA level.
4. Even though it occurs naturally in our bodies, HA is a super popular skincare ingredient. Don’t worry, the type that’s in skincare isn’t taken from people, it’s replicated in a lab.
What Can Hyaluronic Acid Do for Your Skin?
5. That study that I mentioned up top? It found some pretty amazing results. After observing women who used hyaluronic acid for just 8 weeks, researchers found dramatic improvements in the participants’ skin. Did you also know that hyaluronic acid benefits all skin types? Who knew?!
Now let’s find out what hyaluronic acid can do for you, too!
Provides Incredible Moisture
6. Hyaluronic acid’s main power move, and the reason it’s gained so much attention in skincare, is its amazing ability to deliver lasting moisture to the skin.
7. HA is a humectant, which means it grabs moisture and holds it so skin can absorb it.
8. The hyaluronic acid molecule can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water!
9. The HA molecule is too large to penetrate the top layer of skin. So, it sets up shop on your skin’s surface and gets to work grabbing and holding moisture so your skin can absorb it and stay healthy and hydrated.
10. As we age, our skin doesn’t maintain moisture as well as it used to. Babies are born with lots of hyaluronic acid in their skin, which is why it’s so soft! When our skin loses its suppleness, it starts to sag and fine lines and wrinkles become more apparent (thanks, gravity!)
11. Diminishes Wrinkles - Applying hyaluronic acid on your face plumps up the skin to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. Picture the smoothness of a juicy grape compared to a raisin. (Not to say that your face looks like a raisin, of course!)
12. Firms and Tones - When your skin is supple and hydrated, it plumps up to appear firmer, less saggy, and more toned. HA restores skin’s moisture to temporarily turn back the clock and give your skin some oomph and youthful rejuvenation!
Boosts Skin’s Health and Protection
13. Improves Protective Barrier - When your skin is dry, its surface is more vulnerable to damage and even infection getting through. By providing your skin’s outer layers with rich moisture, HA actually strengthens your skin’s protective barrier to give you stronger, healthier skin. It’s like repairing your skin’s armor!
14. Supports Healing - Likewise, HA supports your skin’s healing and repairing ability by giving skin soothing moisture and anti-inflammatory properties. Jessica Weiser, a board-certified dermatologist at New York Dermatology Group even recommends hyaluronic acid for people with dry or eczema-prone skin, or to help skin recover post-procedure (following a chemical peel, laser treatment, or resurfacing).
15. Antioxidant Defense - HA even gives your skin antioxidant defense to fight UV damage. This is important since free radicals can break down collagen and elastin to age our skin and make wrinkles and sagging more apparent.
With all this moisturizing, anti-aging and health-boosting power, HA is like the ultimate multitasker of skincare! Now let’s see how you can incorporate it into your routine.
How Do I Use Hyaluronic Acid in My Skincare?
16. Hyaluronic acid is included as an ingredient in everything from makeup to serums to moisturizers. There are so many great ways to use it!
17. Pro tip: To get the most bang for your buck, look for a formula that contains at least 1% hyaluronic acid. If it only includes something like 0.5%, you may not get the best efficacy.
18. If you want to get the most out of your HA usage, I would recommend a hyaluronic acid serum, especially if you have dry skin. Serums typically have a thinner consistency and a more potent concentration of ingredients to deliver great results.
19. When using a serum, wait at least 15 minutes after applying for serum to completely absorb into skin before moving to the next step in your routine!
20. Another great way to get the benefits of hyaluronic acid is to use a moisturizer that includes HA to pack a hydration punch. You can even double up by using both a serum and lotion that feature HA! Hyaluronic acid is super easy to add to your skincare routine! Check your products’ ingredient lists. You may be surprised to find you’re already using it somewhere in your skincare!
Are There Any Risks or Side Effects to Using Hyaluronic Acid?
21. Because HA is naturally occurring in our bodies, it poses a pretty low risk for allergic reaction or irritation.
22. Ironically, some users have reported that it dries out their skin, but this is rare. If you experience this, check to make sure you’re following the use instructions of your hyaluronic acid formula, or consult a dermatologist.
23. As with any new skincare product, I always recommend doing a patch test to see how your skin will react.
Apply a small amount of the product to the inside of your wrist or behind your ear. Wait 24-48 hours to make sure there’s no reaction before slathering that business over larger areas. Better safe than sorry!
Is hyaluronic acid really worth using?
24. Heck yes! Because it offers such lightweight hydration, HA is great for all skin types, including those with oily or sensitive skin.
25. Plus, we’re all aging. Even if you’re not concerned about wrinkles (you lucky duck, you), you can still benefit from HA’s ability to hydrate and protect skin.
26. And, hyaluronic acid is wonderful for restoring skin’s hydration year round. As we head into fall and winter months, cold, dry air, and heaters zap our skin’s moisture. In summer, heat and sun exposure totally dry us out. Make sure you’re always replenishing skin’s hydration by using moisturizing skincare and drinking plenty of water!