In this blog about skincare you will be able to find out what hyaluronic acid is, whether it is suitable for you or not, how and how often it should be used as well as whether hyaluronic acid can be used instead of a regular moisturiser and whether it has any side effects that you should be concerned about.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Even though we are used to acids being used mainly for exfoliating and peeling properties, hyaluronic acid is as far from an exfoliator as it could be. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which naturally occurs in the body and, particularly, in the skin, which works by helping your cells retain moisture and ensuring deep hydration of the skin, soothing and nourishing your skin and promoting healthier, more supple skin. According to experts, hyaluronic acid that is stored in our bodies, is able to hold up to a a thousand times its weight in water and does not only help retain all the water in your skin and joints, but more importantly, it helps to prevent all the moisture from evaporating into the air. Unfortunately, just like the two most important for the structure of the skin proteins – elastin and collagen, the amounts of hyaluronic acid that would naturally occur in the body will begin to reduce in quantities and quality. Hereby, depletion of hyaluronic acid can lead to such skin problems as dehydration, damage to the moisture barrier, deepening of wrinkles and fine lines, which would inevitably become more visible as we age. Luckily, there are ways to ensure your body has just enough hyaluronic acid that it needs and guess what? It is suitable for all skin types and will deliver the desired results no matter whether your skin is sensitive, acne-prone or oily. As we have mentioned, hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant, which is why it is widely used and added in the formulas of different creams, moisturisers and serums. Skin that is sufficiently hydrated does not only feel great, but also looks great – appearing more plump, radiant and firm. Likewise, hyaluronic acid is highly valued for it’s outstanding anti-ageing properties. When applied regularly, hyaluronic acid is able to substantially improve skin’s hydration and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and even the deeper wrinkles. Modern research shows that hyaluronic acid also has antioxidant properties, which means it can act like a shield against free radicals we aren’t in control of, like pollution and other aggressors.
Likewise, hyaluronic acid has been seen to be instrumental in promoting quicker wound healing. As we have outlined above, hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in the body and skin skin, however, interestingly enough, research shows that the concentrations of hyaluronic acid increase in the skin areas suffering from damage to the skin. Hereby, hyaluronic acid has been seen to regulate the inflammation in the lesioned areas and alarming the body of the need to build more blood vessels in the damaged area, which helps speed up the process of wound healing. Moreover, research from the PubMed library shows that hyaluronic acid can be applied to skin wounds and scar tissue in order to reduce the size of the wounds and decrease wound pain.
Who should not take hyaluronic acid? Who is hyaluronic acid for?
While there are some instances wherein the customers report having some individual sensitivity to hyaluronic acid, it is generally considered one of the most safe and gentle moisturizing agents on the skincare market, which is why it is so often added to a variety of different products and can be seen added in small quantities to other treatments in order to lower the concentration and allow the skin to get used to the new product. For example, hyaluronic acid infusions can be often met in the formulas of exfoliating and peeling acids or simply mixed together with other serums and acids. While hyaluronic acids will be able to yield different positive outcomes for different types of skin depending on your skin’s individual needs and hydration levels, dermatology professionals note that the most benefits would be seen after regular use for people who tend to have dull, overly dry and dehydrated skin. Nevertheless, if you are already aware that you are an allergic or tend to have frequent allergic reactions to cosmetic treatments and skincare products, then it might be a good idea to consult with a specialist before beginning to administer hyaluronic acid daily, which would allow to avoid the unlikely, but possible allergic reaction. Likewise, if you don’t know whether your skin is likely to act out, there is a simple step you can take before administering not only hyaluronic acid based treatments, but other products as well. The simple step of patch testing can save you a lot of time and effort. Simply apply a little portion of the new product you’d like to start using on the skin area in your forearm and wait for 24 to pass. After the time has passed, look at the skin area where the patch testing was performed and assess the skin for any unusual skin irregularities, peeling, redness or itching sensations. If, however, after 24 hours of patch testing your skin area seems unchanged, then you may begin using the product knowing that you are unlikely to get a bad reaction.
Can hyaluronic acid be harmful? Is it bad to use hyaluronic acid every day?
As we have mentioned above, hyaluronic acid is a substance, which naturally occurs in the body and found in the top layer of your skin as well as it can be found in larger quantities around wounded or lesioned skin areas. The skin contains somewhere around a half of all supplies of hyaluronic acid in the whole body. Hyaluronic acid binds to water molecules, which helps keep the skin hydrated and supple. The fact that hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in the body can often be mistreated for a guarantee that hyaluronic acid is all natural and thus can be applied in large amounts and with substantial frequency. Unfortunately, anything can be potentially dangerous or simply unadvisable, when used without any concern for moderation, which is why it is so important to ensure you are using your skincare products correctly.
If you are wondering whether you can use hyaluronic acid regularly, as a part of your regular morning and evening skin care routine, the simple answer is yes. However, there are a couple things to consider. Since hyaluronic acid has been shown to have a number of desirable appearance and health benefits for your skin, it has been widely added into the various skincare products that often perform different functions. Hereby, if you are using a hyaluronic acid serum and then layer a number of other creams, moisturisers and toners, which have a very high chance of containing hyaluronic acid as well, then you might be at risk for overdoing it. When applied too much or applied under many layers of subsequent skincare products, hyaluronic acid may tend to, almost magnetically, attract the moisture to the top layer of your skin and simply sit on top of your skin, whilst making your skin have temporary plump appearance, but potentially leading your skin to even more dehydration. Are you feeling confused yet? No need to worry. This can happen only if you are putting all your hopes in topical treatments and quite literally abandon such simple, yet effective practices as drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day to ensure internal hydration and sticking to an overall healthy diet, rich in water-containing vegetables and fruits, that add to the hydration levels in your body. However, if you have dehydrated or dry skin and you are not a fan of drinking water, hyaluronic acid may retain the existing moisture in your skin only within the upper layer of your skin, where the product was applied, and not let any moisture get to the deeper layers of the skin. In order to avoid such unfortunate turn of events, ensure that you are drinking enough water daily and wait for some time to pass between the applications of the different skincare products to allow the skin to absorb the treatment better. Another simple step that you can take is check the ingredients in all of your skincare products for the presence of hyaluronic acid. If you find that all or most of your skincare products of choice contain hyaluronic acid it might be a good idea to opt for different moisturizing agents in order to allow your skin to have multiple sources of hydration. Likewise, if you notice that you have been using a product containing hyaluronic acid for a very long time it could be good for you to take a little break and then resume the use of hyaluronic acid.
These helpful practices are instrumental for all active ingredients, not only hyaluronic acid. In itself, it is a very safe and reliable source of daily hydration, but as with any other active ingredient, it should be used with caution.
What are the side effects of using hyaluronic acid?
Research shows that when used correctly and in accordance with your skin’s individual needs and products’ instructions hyaluronic acid supplements and topical treatments tend to be very safe even with regular use. The potential side effects of hyaluronic acid that you might or might not experience will also depend on the specific method of administration that the person has opted for. While some people choose to opt only for hyaluronic acid topical treatment or supplements, others might choose injections of hyaluronic acid. Hereby, people who receive injections of hyaluronic acid might sometimes experience such side effects as painful sensations in the area of the injection, redness, itching sensations, as well as swelling of the skin and bruising. However, experts note, that it is important to remember that all side effects associated with such invasive treatments as skin injections, can occur precisely as a result of the injection process itself rather then the hyaluronic acid solution. Likewise, according to experts, if you have a history of severe allergic reactions, and specifically anaphylaxis you should be cautious and may be even avoid hyaluronic acid. Another reason to avoid taking hyaluronic acid supplements or topical treatments is if you are currently breastfeeding or are pregnant, as the effects of hyaluronic acid during pregnancy remain unknown and require more research.
Can I use Hyaluronic Acid without moisturiser?
If you are wondering whether it is okay to use hyaluronic acid serums and negate use of any additional moisturisers in your routine, the answer is no. It is a common rookie mistake to start using hyaluronic acid serums and disregarding to moisturize thinking that clear hyaluronic acid would be enough. As we know, in order to work properly and ensure complete hydration among various levels of the skin, hyaluronic acid requires access to moisture and if you don’t apply an additional moisturising step in your skincare routine, you won’t be able to seize the full potential of hyaluronic acid as it will simply resurface existing supplies of moisture to the top layer of the skin and will eventually evaporate. Likewise, dermatologists and clinical aestheticians suggest that you consider adding an auxiliary step in your skincare routine – “locking” in the moisture and the healthy nutrients that you get from the different products of your skincare by applying hyaluronic acid as a final step in your routine.
Moreover, if you want to ensure that you are seizing the full potential of hyaluronic acid there are a couple guidelines that dermatologists suggest you consider when choosing your products. Experts note, that for hyaluronic acid topical solution to be able to fully penetrate the skin’s surface it requires to be designed to have a very low molecular weight. Look for the products that utilise various sizes of hyaluronic acid molecules in the formula and are able to achieve quick absorption.
Our favourite hyaluronic acid serum is The Ordinary’ Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, which is a potent hydration support formula, which combines molecules of different sizes and uses hyaluronic acid of low, medium and high molecular weight, while utilising the amazing benefits of Vitamin B5 in order to ensure extreme hydration and supple appearance of the skin.
Author: Maria Ageeva