Hyaluronic acid is the darling of the skincare industry but did you know it is not actually an acid? In this post we’ll be revealing some of the science behind how it works, its skin benefits and how you can make sure you’re getting the best from it…
SO WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
Produced naturally in the body, hyaluronic acid is basically made up of two sugars – D-glucuronic and N-acetyl glucosamine – which are joined together and transformed into a glycosaminoglycan (another name for hyaluronic acid). It benefits our eyes and connective soft tissue function within the body by lubricating and cushioning joints but the highest concentrations of hyaluronic acid are found in the skin.
It is present in all layers of the skin but the majority is within the deeper layers of the dermis and its purpose is to hydrate the skin by binding and retaining water molecules in the cells by forming a transparent gel. It acts as a sponge, helping to maintain the skin’s moisture balance. The hyaluronic acid molecule can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water and we have around 10-20 grams of hyaluronic acid in us at any one time to maintain healthy skin growth and development.
This natural source provides us with the following benefits:
- Helps with skin cell regeneration
- Maintains moisture levels so improves the skin’s hydration and texture of the skin by softening and smoothing it
- Plumps up the skin, making it more supple and helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles
- Increases the skin’s antioxidant defense to protect against free radicals so therefore is strengthening the skin’s protective barrier
- Aids wound healing; concentrations increase when there is damage in need of repair
You might also like to read: The Skin Microbiome – What Is It And How To Support
HOW TO USE HYALURONIC ACID FOR THE BIGGEST IMPACT
Hyaluronic acid levels naturally decline with age resulting in our skin drying out, losing its glow and losing its elasticity. The hormonal changes in the whole process of perimenopause and menopause can also have this effect so we recommend supplementing with skincare products containing hyaluronic acid. This is also beneficial when you naturally have dry skin, during seasonal changes and when your skin has been exposed to the sun. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what your skin tone or skin type is, by incorporating these hyaluronic-rich, yet lightweight products into your skincare routine, you can help restore the skin’s plumpness and radiance, minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and provide the moisture your skin needs.
You might also like to read: Could Your Dry Skin Be Caused By Hormonal Changes?
Serums contain smaller molecules of hyaluronic acid so can penetrate into the skin more deeply but it is also found in cleansers, micellar water and moisturisers. You can buy serums which consist of just purely hyaluronic acid but there are others with other ingredients in them which complement the hyaluronic acid, such as vitamin C (a potent antioxidant which aids the skin’s natural regeneration process) and vitamin B5 (which helps keep skin smooth, soft and healthy).
If you are new to using hyaluronic acid products, start off by doing a patch test (especially if you experience eczema or rosacea). As the body produces it naturally, it is unlikely to lead to irritation, however we would always recommend trying all new skincare products on a small area first. Once you are sure it does not cause a reaction, you can begin to incorporate it into your current routine and apply it once in the morning and then at night. Cleanse your face, use a toner if you so choose (we love to make our own using floral water), layer with the serum and then seal with moisturiser in the morning and with a face oil (such as ours) at night. An oil will create a barrier, sealing in the hyaluronic acid and preventing moisture loss. Our uplifting and luxurious face oil is designed to hydrate, nourish, and support the regeneration of skin so is just perfect for this!
If dryness occurs around the eyes, again, hyaluronic acid is just what you need. Seal it in with some oil such as our eye oil, tapping the area gently as you do. If you want to pamper yourself a little more, try an at-home eye massage; work from the inner to outer areas along the socket bone under the eyes and then along the top from outer to inner along the socket / brow bone above the eyes, using either fingers (ring fingers for gentleness) or the small end of a face roller.
A NOTE ON ALPHA HYDROXY ACIDS (AHAs)
You may have heard of AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) peels. These peels have similarities to products with hyaluronic acid in, in that they rejuvenate the skin, which results in a refreshed, brighter, smoother, more even skin tone and texture. They also boost collagen production for firmer skin. The difference is that they act as an exfoliator – loosening and removing dead skin cells, and can irritate sensitive skin.
AHAs are a group of organic carboxylic compounds which include glycolic acid, lactic acid and malic acid. These acids are sourced primarily from apples and slow down visible signs of ageing which are accelerated by lifestyle and environmental factors:
- Glycolic acid is one of the mildest acids that can be used on the skin. It dissolves the ‘cement’ holding the cells together in order to exfoliate. At-home peels have a lower glycolic acid concentration/strength PH formulation than that of the treatment received but may have less benefit. We would recommend a patch test to check sensitivity to the product. Lactic acid peels can help keep moisture in and irritants out. They are not as strong as peels with glycolic acid; malic acid is even milder.
- Malic acid aids gentle exfoliation and ceramide stimulation when added to lactic or glycolic acid.
We’ll delve more into this in a future post, but now you know the difference between AHAs and hyaluronic acid, and can make an informed choice when picking your next serum.
DO YOU USE HYALURONIC ACID?
We’d love for you to tell us in a comment below.
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