If you hear the word hydration, what is the first ingredient that comes to your mind? I think more than 50% of you will think of hyaluronic acid. They are the current “IT” ingredient for hydration. Hyaluronic acid, or also called hyaluronan, is a clear and gooey sugar molecule that is naturally produced by our body. It presents in a large amount not only on our skin but also in our joints and eyes. Their water-retaining properties help our tissue to retain moisture, including our skin.
Surprisingly, hyaluronic acid can hold a thousand times its weight in water! Yes, you read it right. This is why they are so popular for their hydrating benefits in skincare since it works like a magnet for water and is highly praised for their hydrating and anti-aging benefits. Let’s learn more about what the hype is all about.
How does ‘Hyaluronic Acid’ work on our skin?
Most of the hyaluronic acid on our skin is located in the dermis or deeper layer of our skin, and some also present in the surface layer of our skin. The hyaluronic acid is bound to collagen on one end and links to water on the other hand. This is how it gives that plump and bouncy-structure on our skin.
However, just like the amount of collagen in our skin, hyaluronic acid production reduces as we age, and the existing hyaluronic acid present in our skin starts to degrade. Therefore, it shows as age-induced dryness and accentuated premature signs of aging, wrinkles.
Luckily, we have a way to replenish our hyaluronic acid through a topical skincare product. Since hydration is a key fundamental component for our skin to function properly, anyone with any skin type and concern can benefit from a good hyaluronic acid in their skincare routine. Especially, if you are struggling with dehydrated skin. The other good news is hyaluronic acid is beneficial in many ways and more than just hydration, for example:
- • Moisturizing
- • Improve the depth of wrinkles (plumping)
- • Antioxidant activity
- • Promote skin barrier repair
- • Increase elasticity
Where can you find hyaluronic acid and their different forms
Hyaluronic acid products are available in a lot of products from toner, essence, ampoule, or even cream. Mostly they are mixed in a cocktail of humectants, emollients, or occlusive to create that variety of texture. It is important to note that not all hyaluronic acids are created equal.
There is a different category of hyaluronic acid which determines how deep it can penetrate the skin based on their weight. It is and usually divided into high, low, and extra-low molecular weight (and also super-low and ultra-low molecular weight). We can easily find a blend of several molecular weights of hyaluronic acid in one product to optimize their hydration and penetration to our skin. A good blend of hyaluronic acid is the one that contains deeply hydrating hyaluronic acid together with other occlusive ingredients to lock in the moisture.
Well, you can also find hyaluronic acid in your product listed in their other forms as:
A. (Hydrolyzed) hyaluronic acid
Chemically chopped off hyaluronic acid that is low in molecular weight and able to penetrate deeper into the skin.
B. Sodium hyaluronate
Sodium hyaluronate is the salt form of hyaluronic acid. The salt form of ingredients is more stable and less likely to oxidize. Sodium hyaluronate has a smaller molecular size which has a higher chance of penetrating deeper into the skin layer and hydrates it.
C. Sodium acetylated hyaluronate
Another type you can find in your skincare is sodium acetylated hyaluronate. It is also called the super hyaluronic acid which is a derivative from the sodium hyaluronate form. It is non-sticky, more cosmetically elegant, and has powerful moisturizing properties. It retains more moisture than the same concentration of hyaluronic acid and penetrates deeper causing a more long-lasting benefit
Can you mix hyaluronic acid with other active ingredients and how to optimize it?
Yes! The other beauty of hyaluronic acid is that it is so versatile, and it is safe to combine with any other actives. You just have to make sure that you apply your hyaluronic acid product on damp skin for optimum benefit. If your hyaluronic acid-containing products are not “hugging” enough, make sure to apply another layer of moisturizer to lock everything in.
The hyaluronic acid drawbacks
Hyaluronic acid as a standalone ingredient is very less likely to cause any adverse reaction. However, a very low molecular weight hyaluronic acid can penetrate the skin and become a ‘carrier’ for other possibly irritating ingredients for your skin.
It will carry the other “sensitizing” ingredients on your skincare product with them to the deeper layer of your skin and causes a negative reaction. Hyaluronic acid works like the water that moisturizes a dry sponge which makes everything else that touches the sponge to be absorbed deeper, including some of the irritating ingredients. Although this is unlikely to happen if you have a strong, healthy skin barrier.
Have you incorporated hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine? Quench your skin’s thirst for hydration by a layer of hyaluronic acid in your skincare. Your skin will look hydrated and smooth like never before!