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What is Hyaluronic Acid and What Does it Do?

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We talk a lot about skin care buzzwords and strangely named ingredients here at Sönd. Retinoids, salicylic acid, 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. So in this article we’re going to discuss this skin care ingredient in detail, including what it is, how it benefits the skin and who should use it...

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 to help keep them well hydrated and lubricated.

In the joints, hyaluronic acid is found in the liquid in the spaces between the bones, such as within the knee joint, helping to prevent the bones painfully rubbing against each other when we move. Hyaluronic plays a similar lubricating role in the yes, where it helps to prevent uncomfortable dry eyes.

As we age however, we tend to lose our natural levels of hyaluronic acid 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 to help improve their quality of life.

What does hyaluronic acid do for your skin?

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. This ability to retain moisture is what makes hyaluronic acid so amazing, as it keeps the skin looking youthful and plump.

However, hyaluronic acid isn’t a moisturiser, it’s a hydrator (but an excellent one at that). Moisturisers tend to work by adding oils back into the skin to keep the skin moisturised. Hydrating ingredients work by adding hydration (or water) back into the skin. Hydrating ingredients benefit everyone and can be especially beneficial for those with oily skin whose skin doesn’t react well to oily moisturisers.

But, 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.

Are there different types of hyaluronic acid?

Like many different types of skin care ingredients, there are different types of products that contain hyaluronic acid, as well as different types 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. 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?

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.

One way around this, is to turn it into hydrolysed hyaluronic acid by breaking it down with water, via chemical processes. This hydrolysed version of hyaluronic acid is often found in serums and moisturisers and helps the surface of the 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 to extract its sodium salt, to form a derivative called sodium hyaluronate.

Sodium hyaluronate has a lower molecular weight than hydrolysed 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.

Our Strength Training Serum contains sodium hyaluronate to hydrate, support the skins regeneration process, reduce fine lines and restore elasticity, and is well loved by our fans!

What are the benefits of hyaluronic acid?

So it’s plain to see, adding hyaluronic acid, especially in its sodium hyaluronate form, is very beneficial to the skin, helping to replenish hydration and improve its tone, texture and appearance.

How do I use hyaluronic acid?

Our Strength Training Serum is designed to 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.

What skin types should avoid hyaluronic acid?

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!




Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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