We talk a lot about skin care buzzwords and strangely named ingredients here at Sönd. Retinoids for ageing skin, salicylic acid for acne prone skin, laser treatments and light therapy are all products and treatments that we talk about in depth in our regular skin care articles.
One we’ve mentioned in passing before, but not in depth, is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid could be the answer to your dehydrated, dry skin. It's a common ingredient in skin care products and it's super simple to incorporate into your skin care routine.
In this article we’re going to discuss it in more detail, so here's everything you need to know about hyaluronic acid.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the human body and is found most abundantly in the eyes, joints and skin.
It’s a clear, thick liquid like substance and is used by the body to help retain water levels in the eyes, joints and skin barrier to help keep them well hydrated and lubricated.
Where is it Found in the Body?
Hyaluronic acid is widely distributed around the body and in the joints, it's found in the liquid in the spaces between the bones, such as within the knee joint. Here, it helps to prevent the bones painfully rubbing against each other when we move. Hyaluronic acid plays a similar lubricating role in the eyes, where it helps to prevent uncomfortable dryness.
As we age however, the amount of hyaluronic acid in our body starts to decline, which can lead to the development of painful, stiff joints and irritatingly dry eyes.
Doctors now often recommend hyaluronic injections for joint problems and hyaluronic acid eye drops for dry eyes in adults that suffer from these conditions. If you think you may benefit, speak to your GP as treatments can significantly improve your quality of life.
What Does Hyaluronic Acid Do For the Skin?
Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance also found in the layers of your skin. It helps to hydrate, leading to plump skin. (Which is part of the reason babies and children have such soft skin, it's kept plump by hyaluronic acid that's in high levels in young skin.)
However, hyaluronic acidisn’t a moisturiser, as many think, it’s actually a hydrator (and an excellent one at that). Here, it's important to understand the difference between dryness and dehydration when it comes to the skin.
Dry skin tends to lack oils (in particular sebum, the wax like skin oil naturally secreted by the skin) and requires a moisturising agent to keep the skin moisturised. Dehydrated skin lacks water and skin moisture and requires a hydrating agent to keep your skin hydrated.
The effects of dry skin and dehydrated skin can appear the same - skin the feels tight and can become flakey, uneven in texture and cracked.
Moisturisers work by adding oils back into the skin to keep the skin moisturised. Hydrating ingredients on the other hand, work by adding hydration (or water) back into the skin.
Hyaluronic acid and other hydrating ingredients benefit everyone and can be especially beneficial for those with oily skin whose skin doesn’t react well to oily moisturisers.
What Are the Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid?
Around half of the hyaluronic acid in the body is found in the skin, where it binds to water molecules and holds them there, keeping the skin hydrated and supple. In fact, hyaluronic acid holds up to 1,000 times its own weight, which is quite a feat!
This ability to retain moisture is what makes hyaluronic acid so amazing, as it keeps the skin looking youthful, hydrated and plump.
Why Do We Lose it As We Age?
As we mentioned above, as we age, we lose levels of hyaluronic acid, and this includes within the skin. It seems that Mother Nature can only let us have a limited supply of this wonderful, hydrating molecule.
Hyaluronic acid is also lost by habits such as smoking, eating an unhealthy diet high in processed foods and saturated fats and by being exposed to UV light from the sun and environmental toxins and pollutants.
When we lose hyaluronic acid, the skin becomes less supple and hydrated, which causes fine lines, wrinkles and sagging to occur. The eagle eyed among you will know that the natural loss of collagen as we age, will also lead to these same signs of ageing.
So hyaluronic acid in skin care products is one way of replenishing the natural hydration levels in the skin, and helping to turn the clock back on skin ageing.
What Hyaluronic Acid Products Are Available?
Like many different types of skin care ingredients, there are different types of products that contain hyaluronic acid, as well as different forms of hyaluronic acid.
You’ll find hyaluronic acid mainly in serums that are designed to be used on the skin after cleansing, but it’s also found in moisturisers, face masks, eye creams, cleansers and even self tanning lotions and shampoos. It’s also found in injectable skin fillers designed to help plump out the skin, along with collagen.
When it comes to hyaluronic acid itself, you’ll find it listed in ingredients lists on skin care products as hydrolysed hyaluronic acid as well as sodium hyaluronate. But what’s the difference?
What Are the Different Types of Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid has something called a “large molecular weight” meaning that molecules of it are too large to penetrate the skin and get deep into the layers of skin where it’s needed. As it occurs naturally, high molecular weight hyaluronic acid isn't much good as it cannot easily penetrate the skin.
One way around this, is to turn it into hydrolysed hyaluronic acid by breaking it down with water, via chemical processes in beauty labs. This hydrolysed version of short chain hyaluronic acid is often found in serums and moisturisers and helps the top layer of skin attract water molecules, helping to hydrate the surface of the skin.
But in order to get hyaluronic acid deep into the skin, its molecular weight needs to be reduced, so that it can penetrate the skin. The way to do this, is to put it under an extraction process, again in the beauty lab, to extract its sodium salt, to form a derivative called sodium hyaluronate.
Sodium hyaluronate is a low molecular weight hyaluronic acid and therefore can be absorbed into the pores of the skin, attracting and binding to water to hydrate the skin from deep within. This plumps the skin, helping to make it appear more youthful, as well as more hydrated.
What Are the Benefits of Using Products with Hyaluronic Acid?
Thankfully, scientists have developed ways to create products that contain different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, which is great when it comes to hydrating your skin!
So it’s plain to see, if you want to add hyaluronic acid to your beauty regime can be very beneficial to your skin, helping to replenish hydration and improve its tone, texture and appearance.
How Does Hyaluronic Acid Work?
As we mentioned above, hyaluronic acid can hold an extraordinary amount of water in the skin at different depths. It's a type of hydrator called a humectant as it holds water molecules in the surface of the skin as well as deeper down, helping to keep it supple and plump.
Humectants work by holding onto water so that it doesn't evaporate from your skin. Trans epidermal water loss, or TEWL, or water loss from the top layers of skin (epidermis) is therefore reduced when we apply hyaluronic acid to the skin.
And the best way to do this? By using one of the best hyaluronic acid serums on the market...
Is the Best Hyaluronic Acid Skin Care Product a Serum?
Yes! (In our humble opinion.)
Our Deep Hydration Serum contains hyaluronic acid molecules in the form of sodium hyaluronate to hydrate, support the skins regeneration process, reduce fine lines and restore elasticity, and is well loved by our fans!
What's the Best Way To Use Hyaluronic Acid for Skin?
As hyaluronic acid helps to hydrate the skin, it's best applied directly to the skin, rather than being tempted to take hyaluronic acid supplements.
Should I Use Hyaluronic Acid in the Morning or at Night?
Our Deep Hydration Serum with hyaluronic acid can be used in the morning, after cleansing, and before moisturising. Simply apply one pump of serum to your skin using clean fingertips, covering the entire face and décolletage. Applying it to slightly damp skin can help its penetration.
Is Hyaluronic Acid Good for Older Skin?
Yes! Because we lose our levels of hyaluronic acid throughout the body, especially so in our skin, ageing skin can significantly benefit from it.
Is it Good to Use a Hyaluronic Acid Serum Every Day?
Hyaluronic acid is great for adding to a daily beauty routine. We like to think of it as water for your skin, without the messiness.
How Long Does it Take for Hyaluronic Acid to Work?
It may take a few weeks or months of continued use of a product with a high concentration of hyaluronic acid before you notice the long term effects. But some people notice that their skin appears healthier after the first use!
What Are the Side Effects of Hyaluronic Acid for the Skin?
Hyaluronic acid is generally safe for all skin types with no known side effects. You can also combine hyaluronic acid with other skin care ingredients such as niacinamide.
What Skin Types Should Avoid Hyaluronic Acid Skincare Products?
Most people find that their skin can tolerate hyaluronic acid in both forms. But if you have particularly sensitive skin, then start off slowly and use it once or twice a week before building up to using it every day, to help build your skin's tolerance.
Other than that, use our serum as part of your daily skin care routine and reap the rewards of plumper, more hydrated, more youthful looking skin!
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.