Hyaluronic acid is a universally impressive ingredient.
But how do the health benefits of hyaluronic acid translate to skin care products, and what can you expect to see with regular hyaluronic acid use? We’ve got everything you need to know about hyaluronic acid and four ways the ingredient can make a difference in your skin.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Unlike many other synthetic skin care ingredients, hyaluronic acid (or HA) is a substance that the human body already produces naturally.
Hyaluronic acid, also known as hyaluronan or sodium hyaluronate, exists primarily as lubrication to help joints move smoothly. The substance also acts as a cushion to stop the bones around the joints from grinding against each other. High concentrations of hyaluronic acid are also present in our eyes and skin, helping to support them in much the same way it does our joints.
One of the most interesting qualities of hyaluronic acid and the source of many of its skin care benefits is its ability to retain water.
There are claims that the substance can hold onto 1,000 times its molecular weight in water, but the truth is we really can’t put an exact number on it. What we do know is that hyaluronic acid can hold onto a lot more water than other skin care ingredients, keeping moisture in the skin where it belongs.
Because of its ability to retain water molecules, hyaluronic acid also earns the title of “humectant,” one of the most beneficial kinds of skin care products. A loss of moisture, and the subsequent dryness, can contribute to many of the top skin complaints we see — more visible fine lines and wrinkles, itchiness and a loss of radiance.
What are the top benefits of hyaluronic acid?
As you’ve probably figured out, hyaluronic acid’s incredible strength and versatility make it one of our most sought-after skin care ingredients. But how can that improve your skin’s appearance? Check out our top four hyaluronic acid benefits and see for yourself.
1. SUPPORTS THE MOISTURE BARRIER
Our skin is made up of three distinct layers — the hypodermis (the “base” layer), the dermis and the epidermis (the “top” layer, the skin you can see). The epidermis, while the thinnest, is also made up of five of its own unique layers. You’ve probably heard the top of these layers, the stratum corneum, more frequently referred to by its nickname — the moisture or skin barrier.
The skin’s moisture barrier is made of various proteins held in place by a matrix of lipids, like ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterol. When the skin barrier is on its game, it protects the skin from all sorts of environmental influences (like UV radiation and pollutants). When it’s not, like if it becomes overly dry or damaged, the skin is far more vulnerable.
Hyaluronic acid benefits the moisture barrier by giving it increased protection. Appropriate skin hydration is crucial for keeping the skin looking its best and functioning optimally. Hydrated skin can more easily withstand the elements, forming a strong, healthy barrier against almost anything that may come its way.
2. SUPPORTS YOUTHFUL-LOOKING SKIN
As our skin ages, it stops being able to perform the same rejuvenating abilities it could when we were younger, and collagen production slows.
If you’re unfamiliar with collagen, collagen is probably the most important protein that makes up the skin. Alongside elastin, collagen helps keep the connective tissue strong, firm and adaptable. As the amount of collagen decreases and the body’s ability to replace it has more trouble keeping up, the appearance of the skin goes through a few significant changes — a loss of skin elasticity and far more visible fine lines and wrinkles.
This process is why the appearance of wrinkles starts to be more evident in our 30s and beyond, especially in areas of the face with thinner skin or more frequent movement. Without collagen replacement, the skin eventually thins out and loosens.
While we can’t stop time, hyaluronic acid can help the skin hydrated, making it look far more firm. Hyaluronic acid traps water molecules in the spaces around collagen-creating cells (like fibroblasts) for a more youthful-looking complexion.
3. CAN MAKE YOUR SKIN LOOK RADIANT + DEWY
Firmer skin is great for minimizing visible signs of aging, but truly beautiful skin is more than just an absence of physical flaws. One of the best ways to take years off your appearance is to keep your skin looking radiant and dewy with a youthful, lit-from-within glow.
How does hyaluronic acid do that? It all comes back to its hydrating abilities and status as a humectant. When the skin draws in and keeps enough moisture, it acts as a restorative, rejuvenating agent. Think about how important it is to drink enough water every day. Without proper hydration, our organs simply can’t work as well as they should. Remember that the skin is our largest organ, so it makes sense that it would function better with adequate hydration.
If you really want to up the ante and make your skin extra glowy, combine hyaluronic acid with a vitamin C serum. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can protect your skin and minimize the look of dark spots. When working alongside HA, it’s a one-two punch to visible signs of aging.
4. IS GREAT FOR EVERY SKIN TYPE
As impressive as the hyaluronic acid benefits are, what’s even more amazing is that all skin types can use it with similar results. It comes down to hyaluronic acid’s normal presence in the body, which means your skin is unlikely to see it as a “foreign” substance. That means, when applied topically, hyaluronic acid products have very few side effects — it’s an ingredient that your skin makes naturally, after all!
However, those with sensitive skin may still experience potential irritation when first introducing a HA product into their skin care routine. It’s always a good idea to do a patch test before starting any new skin care product to verify that your skin can handle it and that you aren’t likely to have an allergic reaction.
Just place a small amount of your new product on your skin (in an area that isn’t too visible, in case you have a reaction) and wait at least 24 hours. If your skin is handling it well, you should be good to start incorporating it into your routine!
How can I incorporate hyaluronic acid benefits into my skin care routine?
With all the hyaluronic acid benefits, you’re probably ready to jump on board and use HA right away. We understand the urge; hyaluronic acid is one of our favorite skin care ingredients too! However, you have to incorporate them the right way so they can be as effective as possible.
If it’s your first time using hyaluronic acid, check out our Youth Serum. We recently reformulated the serum to utilize hyaluronic acid to its utmost advantage, allowing it to transform your skin in multiple ways. The serum pairs hyaluronic acid with bioactive peptides, honey extract, vitamins and other potent actives, instantly plumping and firming the skin. Regular use maintains those benefits while also slowing down visible signs of aging, fighting blemishes and soothing sensitive skin.
If your main goal is to increase your skin's natural radiance, using products with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C is your best bet. Our Glowing Duo was created with precisely this goal in mind, offering our Youth Serum alongside our 10% vitamin C-based Glow Factor. The benefits are so impressive may not even recognize your skin when you’re done! We recommend applying your Youth Serum first, then the Glow Factor once it absorbs.
If you’re looking for more immediate results or an added boost, we also offer dermal fillers that include hyaluronic acid as an active ingredient. Hyaluronic acid injections get the ingredient deeper in the skin than topical products can, allowing it to improve the appearance even more effectively.
Results from most filler are immediate, although you may experience some mild side effects like bruising or swelling. Once you get past that initial period, results can last between 6 - 12 months.
To sum things up...
We’re big believers in the power of hyaluronic benefits, but don’t just take our word for it. We have a variety of skin care products that make use of this potent ingredient, so you can check it out and experience the impressive hyaluronic acid benefits for yourself. If you want healthier, more radiant, hydrated skin that glows from the inside out, we’re willing to bet that hyaluronic acid will quickly become one of your holy grail products.