Hy-uh-la-ron-ik acid. The skincare product with the long, complicated, kinda hard-to-pronounce name. And also the one that’s popped up just about everywhere in the beauty world - it’s even made its way onto the ingredients lists of some lipsticks! But, um… What is hyaluronic acid, exactly? Let me tell you everything you need to know about this magic molecule.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid (often shortened to HA) is a lightweight, gel-like sugar molecule that’s made naturally in our bodies. It’s found in various places like connective tissue and the eyes, but it’s most abundant in the skin. And whilst it’s got a whole host of functions, the one that matters most to us skin care obsessees is its primary one: expertly hydrating the skin. In fact, it’s the main molecule for skin moisturisation and its hydrophilic (water-loving) nature means it binds to and retains water in skin cells.
But, like with most things that keep our skin looking young (collagen and elastin, I’m looking at you), our natural supply of HA dwindles as we age. Add environmental stressors to the picture and it really doesn’t stand a chance. And this is where hyaluronic acid-enriched skincare products come into play (note: a synthetic form of HA is used in cosmetics). So, what are the benefits of hyaluronic acid for skin?
The hyaluronic acid benefits for skin
So, like I mentioned above, the biggest benefit of hyaluronic acid for skin is that it’s a fab hydrator. And this comes down to the fact that it’s a humectant, a type of moisturising ingredient that draws water from the atmosphere, brings it to the skin, and keeps it there. And when I say HA has great hydrating abilities, I mean really great. So great that it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water (*mouth drops*). And not only is this great for keeping skin soft, smooth and plump, but making sure your skin is moisturised is the key to reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles and slowing down the formation of new ones - let me just go and stock up!
But, the hyaluronic acid benefits don’t end there. Applying it topically also strengthens and repairs the skin’s barrier, making it more difficult for water to escape and for irritants to get in. Coupled with its antioxidant properties, HA helps to protect us from all the nasty things that threaten our skin - yes, I’m talking about free radicals - and make it age quicker. Oh, and did I mention it’s got great anti-inflammatory properties, too?
But, here’s the best bit: HA is suitable for all skin types - yes, all. It’s a non-irritating ingredient, meaning the risk of it upsetting the skin is low. So, whilst it’s particularly good for improving dry skin, everyone can grab a bottle and see the benefits - even if you’re acne-prone, oily or sensitive.
How to use hyaluronic acid in your skincare routine
When it comes to choosing HA skincare products, serums are the ones to beat. They’re usually super concentrated and can penetrate the skin well which, of course, means better results. And it’s best to apply your hyaluronic acid serum straight after cleansing your face (morning and night) to slightly damp skin. Then, it’s really important to top it all off with a moisturiser, to help trap the HA and maintain its moisturising effects.
Tip: HA works well with vitamin C and AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids, a.k.a. exfoliating liquids).
Hyaluronic acid and aesthetic treatments
Sometimes, though, the HA molecules can be too large to easily wriggle themselves deep into the skin - so, whilst they can still provide great moisturisation, they don’t always make much of a difference to lines and wrinkles. But, there is a treatment that allows us to reap all the rewards of hyaluronic acid…
Hyaluronic acid: Profhilo
Thanks to Profhilo, hyaluronic acid can be injected directly into the skin, so you’ll get all of its great benefits and a rejuvenated complexion. And, trust me, your skin will love it.
If you like the sound of this, our trusty Profhilo treatment guide has got all the info.
Hyaluronic acid: Dermal fillers
And for those of you who are already well-versed in injectables, you probably recognise hyaluronic acid as the popular ingredient in fillers. Replacing the old (and slightly questionable) go-to filler, collagen, HA is now the common favourite for plumping out lines and wrinkles (and for loads of other things you can read about here).
Well, there you go! Everything you need to know about how hyaluronic acid benefits skin. Get ready for a fabulously moisturised face!
Profhilo is a registered trademark