Another Skincare ABC’s post, another acid being discussed. Before you roll your eyes and think this post is another shameless plug for routine exfoliation, let me assure you that this is not the case.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is produced naturally by your skin cells in an effort to maintain the skins natural moisture levels. Think of it as a sponge that can help hold water in the skin. Just think about this- one gram of HA can retain up to 6 liters of water. Crazy, right?
So if HA is produced naturally by your skin, why would you add it into your routine? Great question. As your skin is exposed to UV radiation, or other environmental stressors, HA can become degraded, meaning your skin will not hold water as well, leaving it dehydrated, dull, and less plump. Adding HA topically allows it to act as a humectant (trapping moisture inside your skin and preventing it from evaporating).
Why should you use HA?
HA has several benefits that can reward people of all skin types. Worried about anti-aging? HA can restore the plump/fullness to the skin that helps blur fine lines and wrinkles. Dry skin? HA provides a moisture barrier to retain skin hydration levels. Oily skin? HA is a non-greasy, non-oily molecule that can help keep your skin hydrated without clogging your pores.
HA is arguably one of the safest, most studied, staple ingredients due to the fact that it can benefit literally anyone and everyone who uses it.
What products contain HA?
SO MANY PRODUCTS. This should come as no surprise, really. In fact, if you are using a moisturizer or serum, there’s a good chance you are already using it. The two main forms you will see HA in are 1) hyaluronic acid (sometimes listed as HA in formulations) or 2) sodium hyaluronate. The latter is just the salt derivative of HA. Its a little cheaper to make, so you will find that type more frequently than HA. The skin also tends to absorb sodium hyaluronate a little easier that HA.
You will typically find HA in moisturizers, serums and masks. I personally don’t see the point in adding it to a cleanser since you will end up washing the good stuff down the drain before your skin has the chance to absorb it.
Some products I enjoy that contain HA are:
Drunk Elephant – Protini Polypeptide Cream ($68)
An excellent moisturizer that absorbs quickly into the skin and wears well under makeup throughout the day.
Drunk Elephant – B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum ($52)
This can be used in addition to moisturizer if you need extra hydration, or alone as a moisturizer during those warmer months when you want something much lighter on the skin. I love mixing this with the DE Vitamin C Serum.
Paula’s Choice – Hyaluronic Acid Booster ($36)
Another great extra step if your skin is feeling parched and just needs a little extra hydration.
The Ordinary – Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($6.80)
To be honest, this is not my favorite formula. This is more of a syrupy texture which I don’t love for a booster. But at this price point… I would be doing you a major disservice if I didn’t at least mention it. I wouldn’t apply this under makeup, as it tends to pill up on the skin when you try to blend foundation. However, it would be a great inexpensive option to add into your nightly routine for extra hydration.
Hope you learned a little something new today about a fantastic skincare ingredient you are probably already using! I’ve also attached a link to a scientific (peer-reviewed) journal article with TONS more information about HA if you want further info!
Until next time,
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