Unless you’ve been living on a desert island with no access to the internet, you’ve probably come across hyaluronic acid before, or better yet, the hyaluronic acid skin benefits you stand to gain from incorporating it into your daily skin care routine. Now I’ll admit, when it comes to beauty products and claims of their abilities, I am sceptical – especially as someone who has spent most of their life in marketing across different sectors.
That being said, as a 30-something year old frequent flier with a penchant for a glass of wine in the evening, my skin is, obviously, not immune to the effects of aging and a busy lifestyle. And so, when I noticed that I was starting to look a little tired, my skin a little dull, and with some fine lines beginning to emerge around my eyes, I felt it was time to up my skin care routine and try some of those products that celebs like the Hadids and the Kardashians swear by. After all, why not take advice from the people that have access to some of the best dermatologists in the world!
One of the first products I started to explore in my quest for youthful skin was hyaluronic acid, and I’m happy to report that all the good stuff you hear about hyaluronic acid is absolutely true. After hunting down some of the best hyaluronic skin care products and using them consistently for over a year now, my skin feels smoother and plumper, with some fine lines having visibly diminished.
I’m sharing everything I’ve learnt, from the hyaluronic acid skin benefits you can expect and how to use hyaluronic acid correctly, to my favourite hyaluronic acid skincare products available at the time of publication. Keep scrolling to get the full lowdown.
- What is Hyaluronic Acid?
- 8 Incredible Hyaluronic Acid Skin Benefits
- Hyaluronic Acid in Skincare
- Commonly Asked Questions About Hyaluronic Acid
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What is Hyaluronic Acid?
To fully understand why we should use a product, it’s important to understand exactly what it does – because only by understanding the meaning of hyaluronic acid can we understand why its use is essential to maintaining healthy, glowing skin.
So what is hyaluronic acid?
Simply put, hyaluronic acid is a type of sugar found in our bodies’ connective tissue, 50% of which is in our skin. The remaining 50% is found in other tissues like our joints, cartilage and eyes. The main purpose of hyaluronic acid is to attract and retain moisture in the skin, as well as in these other tissues, helping to keep them hydrated. Hyaluronic acid also helps to keep the skin looking plump, by binding with collagen and elastic fibres to give the skin its structure, and aid with healing wounds and inflammation. Think of it like a water magnate, one that’s able to hold over 1000 times its weight in water!
You may already be wondering, if our bodies already produce hyaluronic acid, why do we need to include it in our skin care? Whilst it’s true that our bodies naturally produce hyaluronic acid and continually renew it, the natural aging process throws a spanner in the works. As we age, this renewal process gradually becomes less efficient, resulting in sagging and wrinkles. Coupled with exposure to external elements like the sun’s rays, pollution, human vices and lack of sleep, our youthful appearance slowly starts to fade – and of course, we all want to prevent that as much as possible..
Enter hyaluronic acid skincare products!
8 Incredible Hyaluronic Acid Skin Benefits
1. Hyaluronic Acid is a Humectant
Hyaluronic acid is essentially a humectant, helping to retain and preserve moisture. Think of humectants like sponges, sponges that soak up heaps of water and retain it for some time after it has been collected.
2. Hyaluronic Acid Helps to Prevent Wrinkles and Fine Lines
Whilst there is no product available on the market that can stop the natural aging process (sadly), hyaluronic acid absolutely helps with fine lines and wrinkles – and I say this from experience. Since starting to use hyaluronic acid over a year ago, the fine lines around my eyes have visibly reduced, thanks to hyaluronic acid retaining moisture in my skin and causing both a smoothing and plumping effect.
Note: using an eye cream with hyaluronic acid is always a good idea, no matter what your age is.
3. Hyaluronic Acid Fortifies the Lipid Barrier…
Whilst we all want to achieve that radiant-looking, youthful appearance, we sometimes forget that our skin is there to serve a purpose, and that purpose is to protect our insides from the harmful stressors and toxins of the outside world.
The skin is made up of several layers, each of which performs its own function in protecting your body. The epidermis, or the outer most layer of the skin, is the first to interact with these toxins, and this too has multiple layers. The outer layer of the epidermis (the Stratum Corneum) consists of layers of dead skin cells and the skin’s natural fats – or lipids – that help to trap in water and prevent any nasties from entering our bodies. As we age, the lipid barrier deteriorates and this results in unwanted damage in the form of fine lines, dry skin and dark spots.
By using hyaluronic acid, you are helping to slow down the deterioration of the lipid barrier, and helping to lock in moisture.
4. … and Therefore Offers Increased Protection
It goes without saying that if the lipid barrier is fortified and protected through regular use of hyaluronic acid, then the skin is better equipped to ward off those external stressors, leaving your skin looking fresh, plumped and radiant for longer.
5. Hyaluronic Acid Increases Skin Elasticity and Firmness
Aging is the general theme here, and another result of the natural aging process is saggy skin – skin that might hang a little loser than it once did and no longer springs back to its original position. What I’m referring to here is the skin’s firmness and elasticity, and this gradually declines over time. By using hyaluronic acid, you’re filling your skin with moisture, and this only aids your skin in appearing firmer and more youthful. It won’t, however, replace lost elastin.
6. It Can Help to Speed Wound Healing
Studies have shown that it can help to decrease the size of wounds and aid in the tissue regeneration needed to heal wounds when applied topically. It has also been shown to reduce inflammation.
7. It is Gentle on the Skin
Since hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by our bodies, it is easily accepted by our skin. In fact, it’s suitable for all skin types and shouldn’t cause any irritation – even for sensitive skin!
8. Hyaluronic Acid Smoothes Skin Texture
Just like applying a pretty Instagram filter on your face, hyaluronic acid essentially does the same thing in real life by smoothing the texture of the skin. The difference is tangible and you’ll soon start noticing how silky smooth and soft your skin feels in a short period of time. If you’re looking to go all out, pair hyaluronic acid with the use of a dermaroller for that extra smooth touch.
Hyaluronic Acid in Skincare
Recommended Hyaluronic Acid Masks
Best Serums with Hyaluronic Acid
Moisturisers with Hyaluronic Acid
Our Favourite Hyaluronic Acid Eye Creams
Commonly Asked Questions About Hyaluronic Acid
When To Use Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid can be used in the morning and evening. When used in the morning, it helps to give your skin that much needed moisture throughout the day. When used at night, it helps to replenish any moisture lost as you were going about your busy daily life.
How to Apply Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Hyaluronic acid serum makes a great addition to any skincare routine, but it is essential to apply it correctly. After washing your face with your favourite cleanser, toning, and applying any other serums of a thinner consistency (more on this below), you can then apply your hyaluronic acid – BUT – there is one golden rule that you need to follow…
Remember that hyaluronic acid is a humectant and works to absorb water from its surroundings. This means that if your skin is dry when it is applied, it will suck up any moisture it can find – even if that moisture is being sucked up from the deeper layers of the skin. This, of course, is exactly the opposite effect of what we want.
To avoid this happening, always ensure you apply hyaluronic acid to a damp or moist face. Simply keep a little spray bottle filled with mineral water or micellar water, and lightly spritz your face to moisten it, even if other serums have been applied first. After your face has been lightly misted, you can then go ahead and apply your hyaluronic serum and follow with your eye cream and moisturiser. Don’t forget your sun screen as the final step of your morning skin care routine.
What are the Side Effects of Hyaluronic Acid?
As our bodies naturally produce hyaluronic acid, using it topically is suitable for most people if used correctly. If you have very sensitive skin, don’t be shy to ask for a sample from your nearest department store before purchasing the full-size product. Try out a little patch test to make sure you have no allergic reaction.
According to WebMD, women who are either nursing or pregnant should avoid using hyaluronic acid altogether. Always consult your doctor if in doubt.
How to Use Hyaluronic Acid with Other Serums
You can (and should!) layer your serums using the thinner consistency products first, ending with the thickest. The great thing about hyaluronic acid is that it can be used alongside most other active ingredients, as long as they are used in the correct order. The only exceptions to this are products with low pH levels such as glycolic acid in skincare such as AHAs or chemical exfoliants, as it may make the hyaluronic acid less effective.
If you’re into your skin care, then you’ll already know that the combined use of vitamin C serums, hyaluronic acid and retinol are the holy grail of maintaining glowing, radiant and youthful looking skin. Here’s how to combine them.
Note – try to avoid purchasing all-in-one products. Sure, they might be more convenient, but may not be as effective. The combination of vitamin C serum and hyaluronic acid is a great example. The ideal pH levels of vitamin C and hyaluronic acid are not the same, and this lowers their efficiency – and if you’re investing money in high quality skin care, you’re going to want to invest wisely!
Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C Serums
Your morning routine! Begin by applying your vitamin C serum first, waiting around 1 to 2 minutes before spritzing your face with water, and then applying hyaluronic acid. The rationale is that vitamin C is generally the thinner of the two serums and should be applied first. Vitamin C can also be somewhat drying to the face, and hyaluronic acid will help to follow with some much needed moisture. Complete your morning skin care routine with your favourite eye cream, moisturiser and SPF.
Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol
Your evening routine! Whilst Vitamin C is ideal for the morning, retinol is best used at night. Just like with your vitamin C serum, apply retinol first and let it sit for 10 minutes (if possible) before applying hyaluronic acid.
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