What is the purpose of hyaluronic acid in the realm of skincare?
First of all, what is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a glycosaminoglycan, a sugar molecule which is produced naturally within our bodies and could be found in places such as the joints and the lips.
They function as a humectant, capable of drawing water to the skin and boosting moisture levels.
It could be found in toners, essences, serums and moisturisers, as well as in supplements or an injectable gel form used as dermal fillers.
As one ages, the amount of naturally occurring hyaluronic acid within our skin gradually decreases, resulting in the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
HA’s ability of holding 1000 times its weight in water makes it an optimum ingredient in the assistance of the improvement of skin hydration, thereby plumping up the skin and reducing the appearance of aging.
Furthermore, a major cause of skin aging is due to prolonged sun exposure, wherein UVB rays damage the cells in the skin responsible for producing hyaluronic acid.
Using products replete with hyaluronic acid can thus aid in tissue repair and wound healing, as well as reduce signs of inflammation (i.e. redness).
Hyaluronic acid’s ability of holding 1000 times its weight in water makes it an optimum ingredient in the assistance of the improvement of skin hydration, thereby plumping up the skin and reducing the appearance of aging.
Does your skin need hyaluronic acid?
All skin types could benefit from the use of hyaluronic acid. If you have dry skin, hyaluronic acid could assist in hydrating the surface level of the skin, aiding in the youthful appearance of one’s skin.
With regards to oily skin types, hyaluronic acid could prove beneficial in regulating sebum production. Oily skin produces an excess of sebum in order to compensate for the lack of hydration and moisture, or to keep it from drying up. As such, hyaluronic acid could be used as a lightweight moisturiser in order to control the production of sebum in oily skin.
People with acne-prone skin could find uses with hyaluronic acid. As mentioned earlier, HA could be used to assist in reducing inflammation within the skin, which is one of the factors contributing in the cause of acne.
This potent ingredient can lessen the appearance of acne and redness in the skin, along with serving as a protective shield, as acne-prone skin types do not possess a strong moisture barrier.
When to use hyaluronic acid?
Maximising the usage of HA greatly depends on your environment. It is best to utilise hyaluronic acid products within a humid environment.
HA’s function as a humectant works well in such surroundings, as the high moisture content allows continuous drawing and biding of water molecules to keep the skin hydrated. Bathrooms post-shower also creates a humid environment, which is ideal for the use of hyaluronic acid.
However, it is not recommended to apply hyaluronic acid in dry atmospheres. This is because HA’s humectant properties backfire in drier environments, as the low moisture content would cause it to draw moisture from within the skin instead, thus exacerbating dryness and accentuating fine lines and wrinkles.
If deciding to use hyaluronic acid in the dry surroundings, it is pivotal to lock it in with moisturiser.
HA would then draw moisture from the latter instead of depleting the skin’s hydration levels.
The difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin
Similar to normal and oily skin types, dry skin is considered a skin type. Dry skin has trouble with maintaining oil and lipid production, making them prone to developing skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Signs of dry skin could be said to include:
- Cracked and peeling skin
- Issues with flaking
On the other hand, dehydrated skin is categorised as a skin condition instead of a type. Dehydration has nothing to do with oils and more to do with a dearth of water within the skin. This skin condition not only affects dry skin types, but those with oily skin as well. Symptoms of dehydration could be said to include:
- Fine lines
- Darker under-eyes
- Skin dullness
How does HA help dehydrated skin?
It exists in different molecular sizes.
Larger hyaluronic acid molecules remain on the surface level of the skin and is unable to penetrate deeper, thus applying it topically would only help bind water to the skin’s surface.
In that sense, it is recommended to find products which contain hyaluronic acid in different molecular sizes, as smaller HA molecules can do the job of sending hydration below the dermis, which can assist in dehydrated skin conditions.
Those with dry skin needs both hydration and moisture, whilst dehydrated skin requires hydration alone.
HA is able to be paired with skincare ingredients such as retinol and exfoliating acids; but when paired with panthenol (Vitamin B5), it can deliver a highly concentrated boost of hydration and moisture.
This is largely due to panthenol’s function as both a humectant and an emollient, sealing in hydration and preventing trans-epidermal water loss.
PCA Skin’s Hydrating Mask combines both hyaluronic acid and panthenol, perfect for both dry and dehydrated skin.
Hyaluronic Acid when paired with panthenol (Vitamin B5), it can deliver a highly concentrated boost of hydration and moisture.
Does hyaluronic acid serum really work?
As mentioned previously, since HA is too large to penetrate the dermis, it is best to look for HA products that contain different molecular sizes of the aforementioned substance.
The most highly concentrated and powerful form of topical hyaluronic acid is in a serum.
Applying a HA serum onto cleansed, damp skin—and in an ideally humid environment—will allow the attraction and locking of water to hydrate the skin.
“Think of it as giving your skin a big glass of water.”
Strengthening our skin’s barrier allows more protection against environmental stressors as well as slow down the process of aging.
Applying a hyaluronic acid serum onto cleansed, damp skin—and in an ideally humid environment—will allow the attraction and locking of water to hydrate the skin.
The 3 best hyaluronic acid serums of 2021:
- PCA Skin’s Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum
This highly advanced serum is suitable for dry and dehydrated skin, in addition to those with concerns over aging.
This serum contains three types of HA, one being the latter whilst the other two are sodium hyaluronate (a salt drawn HA) and hydrolysed HA.
They are all of different molecular sizes, with HA and sodium hyaluronate capable of hydrating only the surface of the skin, whilst hydrolysed HA allows for deeper infiltration due to its small size.
What’s more, the inclusion of PCA Skin’s very own Pro Complex, an ingredient which is able to incite the production of HA within one’s skin. All in all, a well-rounded HA product.
iS Clinical’s Hydra-Cool Serum
This serum contains not only sodium hyaluronate, but it also uses panthenol in its formulation.
Although sodium hyaluronate only binds water to the surface of the skin, the addition of panthenol and its anti-inflammatory and moisturising properties helps shield the skin as well as promote wound healing.
This serum could be used for all skin types, but would particularly benefit those with acne-prone skin and sunburned skin, as it can assist in the alleviation of redness and irritation within the skin.
3. Jan Marini’s Transformation Face Serum
Despite being marketed as an anti-aging serum, it has a high concentration of sodium hyaluronate.
Combined with pentapeptides—which is intended to increase the skin’s moisture levels—this serum helps to plump and hydrate the skin without a slippery feel.
It is also oil-free and non-comedogenic, thus making it suitable for oily skin types as well.
The large boost of hydration from this serum reduces signs of aging, along with shielding the skin from UVB rays and healing sun spots.
Author: Charlene M. Teressa