Hyaluronic Acid (Hyaluronic Acid, HA), is a humectant — a substance that retains moisture. It has many benefits and is one of the most interesting ingredients in skin care.
First of all, hyaluronic acid is already in our bodies naturally. It’s widely distributed through our connective tissue, skin, joints, brain, and other organs, and it gives our skin its natural plumpness. HA secures moisture and creates fullness — youthful skin naturally abounds with hyaluronic acid.
Essentially, hyaluronic acid acts as a cushion in our bodies and is necessary for skin to stay young and supple. Unfortunately, we slowly lose naturally-occurring hyaluronic acid over time due to ageing and sun exposure (*shouting*: use sunscreen). In women aged 19 to 47 years it still is 0.03 %; in over 60‐year‐olds, only 0.015 %; and in 70‐year‐olds even only 0.007 %
As we age, skin moisture can drop significantly, which makes the skin lose elasticity and expose the signs of ageing on the skin. Hyaluronic acid plays a critical role in skin health with its unique ability to hold in moisture (1000 ml of water per gram of hyaluronic acid). It thus is responsible for hydration of the skin and increases its moisture content.
Hyaluronic acid keeps collagen synthesis up, as well as retaining skin moisture, contributing to the anti-aging benefits to the skin. Higher levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid are related to skin that is more supple and resistant to wrinkles and fine lines. In skin care, you can find hyaluronic acid creams, serums, and hyaluronic acid supplements.
HA has been used for several years to help the skin to regain elasticity, turgor and moisture. When applied topically, HA can restore lost plumpness. It does this by drawing water into the epidermis. A further major function of HA is to protect the cell from damage by free radicals that play a large role in skin ageing.
Topical HA has many positive attributes: it is an oil-free ingredient that works to replenish the skin’s moisture as well as plumps and smooths the appearance of fine lines. While you’re shopping, look for products that have a one percent concentration of hyaluronic acid, as higher levels can cause skin irritation. And choose serums that have natural hyaluronic acid, plus vitamin C, without irritating ingredients, such as alcohol, sulphates, and parabens. It is safe to use on the skin during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
For individuals with dry skin, or for those who crave a more dewy, moisturized feel to their skin during the cooler months, a serum or moisturizer containing HA can be a great choice.Hyaluronic acid comes in many forms – cleanser, moisturisers, masks, creams, gels, and serums. Keep in mind that topical HA will provide hydration on a surface level, not deep within the skin.
Ready to try it out? Here are the best hyaluronic acid serums for the face—with options for oily, ageing, and dry skin—all recommended by board-certified dermatologists.