I’ve been using hyaluronic acid as part of skincare regime for years. It’s a hero ingredient in many of our favourite beauty buys, but how many of us really know how it works? Or, what it is for that matter. I’ve often found myself promoting its benefits – softer, more supple, younger-looking skin – without really understanding the science behind it.
So I started reading up, and what I found was fascinating. Hyaluronic acid’s effects on my complexion suddenly made total sense. And if you’ve never dabbled in its magic before, don’t let the word ‘acid’ put you off.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring molecule in our bodies. It’s a lubricating fluid that keeps our skin, eyes, joints and connective tissue supple. The average human body contains 15 grams of hyaluronic acid, one third of which is renewed every day. It also helps with the production of collagen, which as we all know is vital for maintaining healthy skin.
Perhaps most notably, hyaluronic acid increases moisture in our skin. Having always looked for products that promote a radiant, healthy glow, moisture increasing ingredients are a must in my books. As babies, we’re born with high levels of hyaluronic acid, which decreases as the years pass by. This is key to understanding why, as we get older, our bodies struggle to hold on to moisture. In fact, by the time we reach our 40s, we have less than the half the recommended amount in our systems.
And it’s not just skincare that hyaluronic acid is used for. Given that it benefits our soft tissue function, it is also found in eye drops and treatments for joints. Its anti-inflammatory properties help support cartilage, and promote the skin’s natural healing process.
The use of hyaluronic acid in serums and creams and injectables has dramatically increased, and can also be found in supplements, too. For those of us wary when it comes to injectables, an oral remedy seems like the perfect solution. However, it must be said that many sources question the efficacy of these. Due to hyaluronic acid’s heavy molecular structure, our stomachs’ have a hard time absorbing it.
But I’m here to talk skincare, and the many products boasting the benefits of this ingredient. As younger-looking skin contains much higher levels of hyaluronic acid in its dermis, treatments aim to boost its presence in tired, dehydrated complexions. It is often disputed whether topical applications can penetrate the top level of our skin – the higher the concentration the better – though one things for certain: hyaluronic acid grabs and locks in moisture from the air, forming a protective barrier against the elements.
And given that it’s naturally occurring in our bodies, hyaluronic acid is suitable for all skin types. When shopping around for a product, look for formulas without any nasties such as alcohols and parabens. I’ve compiled my three favourite buys to suit every budget.
SAVE: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (£5.90 for 30ml, available at cultbeauty.co.uk). At just over a fiver, this is a complete beauty bargain. Containing three different types of hyaluronic acid, it delivers maximum hydration at an affordable price tag. Also packed full of vitamin B5 – to increase the formula’s absorbency – this is oil free and leaves my skin feeling super moisturised. Use a few drops morning and night before moisturising.
SPEND: Pestle and Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum (£36 for 30ml, available at lookfantastic.com). I recently gave this to my cousin as a gift, and it’s the perfect for solution for moisture-zapped skin. I love its lightweight formula – also containing vitamin E – as it is easily absorbed and makes my face feel firm and hydrated. I recommend using this under make-up as a primer to smooth away any fine lines.
SPLURGE: Dr Sebagh Serum Repair (£69 for 20ml, available at spacenk.com). Spoil yourself with this hyaluronic hero. Its super high concentrate also contains micro molecular collagen that increases the formula’s absorbency. Immediately after applying, my face feels firm and dewy. I like to apply a generous measure of this before leaving it to work its magic for 10 minutes – followed by my usual moisturiser. Given its luxurious consistency, it works best overnight to kick-start your skin’s natural rejuvenation process.
So there you have it – my guide to the science behind hyaluronic acid. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these products in the comments box below.