All you need to know about Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid - not an acid as you may think of but a wonder skincare ingredient, a must-have in your skincare routine and THE wrinkle-plumping savior and hydration booster we just can't get enough.
Let's deep dive into this star skincare ingredient.
Humectants - hydrating agents
Hydrating skin-care ingredients, such as Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, honey, colloidal oatmeal ... are 'humectants', or substances that attract water to the skin and hydrate it by drawing moisture from the environment (if humid enough). The star of humectants and smart skincare ingredients is definitively Hyaluronic acid, not only because it's a naturally-occurring substance in our body (found mainly in our Dermis) but also because it is essential in keeping the skin elastic, hydrated and healthy (aka young).
What is Hyaluronic acid?
It's a sugar molecule that occurs naturally in the skin. It has the ability to penetrate the Epidermis and bind water to skin cells. Hyaluronic acid or HA is able to hold up to 1,000 times its molecular weight in water.
Is Sodium hyaluronate the same as Hyaluronic acid?
Sodium hyaluronate is a salt derived from Hyaluronic acid. Sodium hyaluronate has the same function and benefits of Hyaluronic acid, but with one extra advantage— the skin absorbs it more easily than it does Hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is typically labeled as sodium Hyaluronate (INCI = Sodium Hyaluronate).
Is Hyaluronic acid used in skincare natural?
Yes, it can be extracted from mushrooms or made by bacteria in the laboratory. Synthetic Hyaluronic acid is way cheaper than its natural version.
How does Hyaluronic acid work?
The key to keeping healthy, plump and young skin is to be well hydrated and HA is the perfect skincare ingredient for the job. HA does its magic by pulling water from the environment, holding it up and redistribute it to the upper layer of your skin, the Epidermis. Topically applied HA can penetrate the Epidermis but it won't penetrate all the way to the Dermis due to its molecular size.
HA naturally occurs in our body but as we age, and it gradually tends to deplete itself. That's why applying it topically, it will plump our skin, smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and fight inflammation, or to put it simply, skin cells will age slowly if they are kept constantly hydrated.
HA molecular size really matters
HA is available in different molecular sizes or weights proportional to its ability to penetrate to different levels of the Epidermin, or upper skin. Molecules with lower molecular weight are smaller and can bypass the stratum corneum, the top layer of the skin, which is hydrophobic (doesn't like water).
HA with high molecular weight remains closer to the surface of the skin (Stratum corneum), where it can deliver the most visible and immediate results but without long-lasting results. Smaller molecular size HA is effective for longer because it can penetrate deeper, reaching the Stratum basale, boundary with the Dermis, where Collagen, Elastin, and naturally occurring Hyaluronic acid are.
Is HA indicated for all skin types?
Most definitively HA is the best hydrating booster for all skin types, including sensitive and delicate.
Sorry - HA can't do its magic in a dry environment
If you live in a very dry area then HA may actually dry up your skin even more! This is because, without enough humidity in the air, topically applied HA will pull moisture from your skin, thus drying you up further. One solution is to apply a product with HA and seal it with an oil-rich moisturizer or face oil.
Soooo... why is HA this good? Check out its benefits:
- Hydration booster
- Skin barrier enhancer
- Skin texture smoother
- Skin plumper
- Fine lines and wrinkles minimizer
- Stimulates skin cell regeneration