Ingredient Spotlight – What Is Hyaluronic Acid and How Do I Use It
How to use hyaluronic acid to exert the best benfits for your skin ?
Simple. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant and humectants thrive with humidity. They draw in the moisture from the environment and into our skin. It works wonders and you can see your skin plump up in 15 minutes!
Disclaimer: recommendations are based on my own experiences and one product might work for me but not for you. Please do your own research to further decide if this is something you wish to try.
What is Hyaluronic Acid
When I was first researching hyaluronic acid and how to use it, which was years ago before Instagram and skincare became my passion, I was really confused because of the word “acid”. In my head it was something that was on the same level as glycolic or lactic acid, meaning it was potentially irritating.
Even though it says acid, hyaluronic acid or hyaluronan is a molecule, more precisely a polysaccharide, naturally produced by our body. It is naturally found in abundance in our eyes and in our joints. Hyaluronic acid can be used to relieve joint pain and cataracts. No, not topically applied. injected. However, just like elastin and collagen, hyaluronic acid is lost as we age, but also due to environmental factors, lifestyle, and UV exposure.
Topically, hyaluronan is a magnet for moisture and can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. It binds the moisture in the environment and brings it into our skin, thus the immediate plumping and hydrating effect. It has been shown that hyaluronic acid can help diminish the appearance of wrinkles and accelerate the healing process. Taken as an oral supplement it can keep our joints and bones healthy, and it’s very safe to use with little to no side effects.
How to use hyaluronic acid
Here we will only be talking about hyaluronic acid and how to use it in skincare, duh!
Given that hyaluronic acid is a humectant it needs water to bind to. There are several ways to apply it to ensure maximum results. My favourite way is to apply it with damp hands. This brings the molecules immediate moisture to bind to and it’s especially effective if you’re not sure of the humidity in your house.
Alternatively, you can directly mix a few drops of hyaluronic acid and a few drops of water into your hands and apply the mixture to your face.
Or, you can just go and apply hyaluronic acid and let it do its thing by binding to the moisture in the air. But there’s a catch: if there’s not enough moisture in the air hyaluronic acid can start binding to the moisture in your skin and draw it out. This can cause more dryness. So make sure that the humidity in your environment is at optimal levels (40% for a room you’re living in).
Different Molecular Weights
If you have used hyaluronic acid in your routine you have noticed that labels will often say “3 hyaluronic acids”, or 5, or even 7.
Hyaluronic acid comes in different sizes. Molecular weight determines that size. For the molecule to penetrate deeper into the skin it will need to be small. For example, Sodium hyaluronate penetrates the upper layer of the skin or the dermis, while Hyaluronic acid is a macromolecule that stays on the surface and prevents moisture loss. When choosing a serum make sure that you have a couple of different molecular weight molecules to ensure that all the layers of the skin are receiving the benefits.
Product recommendations :
Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion
You know I rave about this product a lot. This recently reformulated lotion has been upgraded from 5 HAs to 7 HAs. It has a viscous, clear, odourless consistency that absorbs very easily. It also comes in a 170ml bottle so it will last you forever. A few drops are enough! It has become my Holy Grail and I can’t see myself without it. My skin is softer, more supple, and plump every time I use it which is in EVERY morning routine. They also sell refills which makes it so much easier.
Sand&Sky Dreamy Glow Drops
Such an underrated product! It comes with 5 types of hyaluronic acid molecules and also a layer of squalane. It is a bi-phase serum with a very runny, watery consistency that smells like candy. The Emu apple is a powerful add on as it is a very powerful antioxidant. These little berries contain ten times more antioxidants than blueberries. So you get the hydration, the antioxidants and the extra barrier to prevent moisture loss provided by squalane.
Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine
A lightweight cream that provides so much nourishment. This cream is also infused with Japanese algae. It provides nourishment in the form of vitamins and amino acids that enhance elasticity and also moisture levels. The cream is also rich in sodium hyaluronate, which as we have previously seen is a low molecular weight molecule that can penetrate deeper into the skin. In addition to this, the cream also has aloe vera added for extra soothing.
This is a more recent product for me but oh so lovely. As we are going into the warmer months of the year this cream is light yet nourishing enough for my dry skin.
Another favourite about which I have raved on my Instagram. This lovely serum only has 5 ingredients. It has a fantastic colourless, viscous and odourless texture that absorbs instantly and is immediately soothing thanks to panthenol. It has become a staple in my evening routine and I’m already running out of it.
The newest addition to my hyaluronic acid collection and fastly becoming a favourite ready to replace the Skin Deva one. This lovely serum has a unique viscous and jelly-like texture that I haven’t seen before in a serum. It contains 86% fermented seaweed extracts, as well as 5 types of hyaluronic acids, added niacinamide, adenosine, and also panthenol. In short: a cocktail of moisturising and soothing ingredients. The ingredients list is also fairly simple! What’s not to love.
In conclusion, if you don’t have this ingredient in your routine what are you waiting for? There is nothing to be scared of as hyaluronic acid is not an exfoliant as the name might suggest. Furthermore everyone, and I mean everyone, can benefit from this ingredient. No matter your skin type or skin condition.
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