Those of us who have a habit of reading the list of ingredients in our beauty products will recognize hyaluronic acid (HA) or hyaluronan as a popular ingredient in many of those beauty products, however hyaluronic acid is so much more. Not only is HA nature’s answer to your dry skin concerns it is also a substance that is naturally present in our bodies, where it performs several functions. Hyaluronic acid is found in its highest quantities in the fluids of our eyes and joints, but is present in almost every cell of the body, from our lips and scalp to our gums and skin. Hyaluronic acid has become more and more popular in recent times as our appearance-centered society has pushed for companies to develop that “miracle” product that will unlock the secret to looking forever young. It is also used in cosmetic surgery as a lip plumper and a facial filler to smooth lines and wrinkles.
How Does Hyaluronic Acid Work?
Rest assured, hyaluronan is not the latest fad. It quite literally is one of the best skin care ingredients around. Revered for its ability to improve moisture levels of the skin, HA is able to do this because of its ability to capture and hold onto 1000x its weight in moisture. You will be hard pressed to find many other substances able to match this ability. Being able to retain moisture is not the only reason for hyaluronic acid’s popularity in the skin care industry. HA is also a humectant; able to pull moisture from the surroundings and deposit it in the top layer of the skin so that skin looks and feels smoother and more moisturized.
Will Hyaluronic acid Work for My Skin?
The good news is that hyaluronic acid is great for all skin types. There are no known and proven side effects to using HA on the skin, which is not surprising, given that HA is found throughout the body. It is also great on skin that is mature and aging. Skin becomes progressively drier as it ages and as a result, becomes less firm and less smooth. Collagen, which helps skin to maintain a youthful appearance is also made up mostly of water so you can see how older, drier skin can suffer and begin to show its age. When applied to dry skin, HA rehydrates and helps to restore youthfulness by minimizing wrinkles and fine lines.
Because hyaluronic acid is lightweight, it is great for oily and combination skin types, being able to impart moisture without causing the skin to look or feel greasy. HA is also safe for use when pregnant.
What Ingredients Work Well with Hyaluronic Acid?
Moisture and hydration are not the only benefits of using hyaluronan. Using hyaluronan also provides antioxidant benefits to the skin. This means that HA protects the skin from the damaging effects of environmental free radicals. HA works well with Vitamin C and other anti-aging ingredients. Vitamin C also aids in collagen production, so pairing both together protects, brightens, firms and moisturizes mature and aging skin. HA also works well with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). AHAs are a group of compounds that exfoliate the top layer of the skin to reveal younger, firmer and smoother looking skin. Examples of AHAs are glycolic acid and lactic acid. Though they work well, AHAs can be drying to the skin, therefore, pairing them with hyaluronan is a great way to keep the skin moisturized while getting the benefits of the alpha hydroxy acids.
Using Hyaluronic Acid for the First Time
You have probably used products with hyaluronic acid in beauty products before. If you would like to add a hyaluronic acid serum to your skin care regimen in order to better receive the benefits, then you should do so slowly to allow your skin time to adjust. Begin with using it once a day before increasing to twice a day after a few days when your skin has had the opportunity to adjust. Many hyaluronic acid serums are water based and should be applied before oils and heavy creams.
As stated above, hyaluronic acid is an antioxidant. This makes it a powerful tool to protect the skin from exposure to UVB rays, which can cause the development of the sunspots on the skin. Not only does HA attract, hold and keep moisture in the top layer and deeper layers of the skin, hyaluronic acid is also a “smart nutrient.” This means it can adjust how much moisture it absorbs based on what the skin needs and the humidity of the environment. In so doing, moisture levels become perfectly balanced. Hyaluronic acid is an important part of any skin care regimen. Regardless of your skin type you will no doubt benefit from including it in your skin care regimen going forward. Read your ingredients listings and avoid HA serums that contain alcohol as alcohols themselves are drying and will work counter to HA to keep skin hydrated and moisturized. Parabens, sulfates and other undesirable ingredients may be hidden in your HA serum so pay close attention and seek out HA from a vegan source.