Have you known that your native hyaluronic acid (HA) in the skin has a short half-life? Every day one-third of this polymer degrades and synthesizes again. This dynamic process functions perfectly until a certain time. After the age of 25-30, we start to experience a progressive decline in the amount of HA polymers, resulting in a lack of skin moisture. Well, don’t panic. There are many different forms of hyaluronic acid available in the market. The only thing is that not all HA can penetrate the skin and do its job equally. You should know a little more than just trust what brands claim about their products. Scroll down to find out how to effectively choose and use hyaluronic acid for the best radiant look.
Table of Contents
- What is Hyaluronic Acid?
- Why is Hyaluronic Acid Important for the Skin?
- How to Effectively Use Hyaluronic Acid For Skin?
- Best Product Picks, According to Our Editors
- Why Does Hyaluronic Acid Make My Skin Dry?
- Wrap It Up
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA), also called hyaluronan, is a sugar molecule produced naturally by our bodies. The highest concentration of this polymer is found in the skin, particularly in the dermis. The dermis is rich in mesenchymal cells, which are the primary source of hyaluronic acid. You may mistakenly think that the word “acid” describes hyaluronic acid as an exfoliant. However, this molecule acts as a powerful moisturizer. It is like a sponge soaking up all the water around. In addition, HA is a tissue regenerator and anti-inflammatory agent. If you get injured, you will be less likely to die because of infection. Molecules of hyaluronic acid come to save your life by attracting immune cells into the wound.
Why is Hyaluronic Acid Important for the Skin?
#1 Hyaluronic Acid Hydrates
It’s a well-known fact that one molecule of HA can bind over 1,000 times its weight in water, infusing the skin with valuable, rejuvenating moisture from the surrounding environment. According to a study from the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, topical use of hyaluronic acid improves skin hydration. To get the best result, you should use it in a humid environment attracting water molecules from the air.
#2 Hyaluronic Acid Reduces Visible Fine Lines
Hyaluronic acid can’t reverse wrinkles; however, the extra hydration does help plump the skin and make fine lines less visible. It’s especially crucial for people with very dry skin. They usually have prominent creases around the eyes and lips, which is a sign of dehydration. By using hyaluronic acid, your skin will look less wrinkled and much dewier.
#3 Hyaluronic Acid Fights Inflammation
HA is a critical component in the skin regeneration process. If you get injured, hyaluronic acid “pulls out its loudspeaker and calls for help. “This polymer signals the body to build more blood vessels around the damage and makes immune cells move into the wound. The interesting fact is that the anti-inflammatory properties of HA depend on its molecular size. Whereas high molecular weight hyaluronic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, low molecular weight HA can promote inflammation.
#4 Hyaluronic Acid Improves the Skin Barrier
With age, skin becomes thinner because major epidermis cells (the upper layer) slow down their division. One study has proved that HA promotes keratinocyte generation and improves skin thickness.
#5 Hyaluronic Acid Enhances Other Products Penetration
It is important to know that HA promotes dermal penetration of other skincare ingredients. Thus, if you use any potential irritant, like retinoids or AHAs, make sure it goes before hyaluronic acid. Otherwise, HA could increase absorption, and you will develop an unwanted reaction.
How to Effectively Use Hyaluronic Acid For Skin?
Topical Form of HA
For commercial uses, skincare products with hyaluronic acid are mainly obtained from rooster combs or bacterial cultures. Though a lab-made polymer with high molecular weight is good as a native form at the binding water, it can’t penetrate the deeper layer of the skin (when applied topically). Instead, it will sit on top, giving hydration only at the very surface. Smaller polymers, which bind less water than larger molecules, can go deeper into the skin, reaching the epidermis.
To get maximum hydration, you should apply topical skincare products to damp skin that contains HA molecules of various sizes. Different weights can activate multiple cellular responses and provide a long-lasting effect that will lead to even better results than the impact of high molecular weight alone. So, if you want to have a moisturized look in a very short time, you should use a topical multi-weight HA product. It doesn’t go deeper than the epidermis, but your upper layer of the skin will get intensive hydration with an instant smoothing and firming effect.
Oral Supplements with HA
Oral supplements with hyaluronic acid are worthless because the stomach breaks them down. Instead, you may contact your dermatologist and ask about glucosamine supplements that can help your skin to boost the natural production of hyaluronic acid.
Injectable hyaluronic acid, or dermal filler, is also used to get a rejuvenating plumping effect. Compared to topical HA products, it works at deeper layers of the skin, hydrating and restoring lost volume. That seems pretty awesome, but you always have to consider possible side effects (pain, bruising, infection, lumps), the high cost of the procedure (in 2019, the average was $652 per syringe), and realistic expectations.
Best Product Picks, According to Our Editors
We like this product because of its affordable price, clean formula, and great skin compatibility. Vegan, cruelty-free, and non-toxic. It contains hyaluronic acid at four molecular weight levels – just what you are looking for.
This brand was born in Chicago, where skin protection and hydration are so necessary. The highest quality hyaluronic acid restores volume and reduces free radical damage. Paraben-free and not tested on animals. Hyaluronic Acid Cream goes as a nice bonus, which can be applied right after serum.
Is your skin overexposed to heating or air-conditioning? This product helps to reduce the feeling of skin tightness and dryness. Grown Alchemist serum provides dual action. While low-weight HA hydrates below the surface of the skin, high-weight HA molecules deliver intense moisture to the upper layers. Toxic-Free and cruelty-free.
This fast-absorbing concentrated serum delivers moisture to the skin like a magnet. It contains three molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, which work together to prevent water loss, nourish the skin, and provide visible lift. Vegan, cruelty-free, and non-comedogenic.
Why Does Hyaluronic Acid Make My Skin Dry?
In general, hyaluronic acid is a hypoallergenic and nonirritating ingredient. It doesn’t trigger acne or rosacea and suits all skin types. There is, however, a small chance of side effects. Individuals with dry skin may complain about dryness after using hyaluronic acid. This happens if you use a skincare product in a dry climate. Instead of attracting water from the air, the molecules of HA draw moisture from the deeper layers of the skin, making it even dryer. So, if you get stuck in the middle of the desert, you should apply hyaluronic acid to damp skin followed by a product with an occlusive ingredient (petrolatum, silicones, oils) or polyglutamic acid. If you have oily skin, there is a pretty low chance of getting this issue because your skin has enough sebum to act as a natural sealing agent.
Wrap It Up
- Hyaluronic acid is a powerful moisturizing agent. It hydrates the skin, repairs the wound, improves the lipid barrier, and enhances other product penetration.
- High molecular weight hyaluronic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
- It is best to apply HA in a humid environment. By doing so, hyaluronic acid molecules attract water from the air and hydrate the skin instead of drawing moisture from the deeper layers of the skin.
- Choose products containing multi-weight hydrating agents. To get a glowy look, choose products containing multi-weight hydrating agents.