When it comes to the different skin care ingredients out there, hyaluronic acid is one that you have likely heard quite a bit about.
What exactly is hyaluronic acid?
It is a polysaccharide, which means that it is a large sugar. It also occurs naturally in the human body, and is found in your connective tissues, with 50% of the hyaluronic acid in your body contained in your skin.
As you can imagine, this means that hyaluronic acid has a huge impact on the health and appearance of your skin, and plays a number of important roles when it comes to this.
From helping your skin to retain moisture to reducing the appearance of wrinkles, here are 12 benefits that hyaluronic acid can have on your skin.
It Retains Moisture and Strengthens the Skin’s Barrier
One of the main benefits of hyaluronic acid is the fact that this ingredient is a powerful humectant.
What is a humectant?
It is a molecule that draws in moisture from the air and holds on to it.
You are probably thinking…
Aren’t there many other skin care ingredients that do this?
Yes, but hyaluronic acid is one of the most effective, and is able to hold up to 1000 times its weight in water.
This makes it fantastic for those who have dry or sensitive skin, as these skin types have a skin barrier that is lacking in moisture. By applying hyaluronic acid topically to your skin, you will end up increasing the amount of moisture that is not only within your skin, but also on the surface.
It Reduces Fine Lines and Wrinkles
If your skin is dry, then wrinkles become so much more visible, whereas if your skin is oily, this keeps it moister and plumper, minimizing the appearance of wrinkles.
Since hyaluronic acid helps the skin to retain moisture, this therefore reduces the appearance of any lines and wrinkles.
It Improves Skin Texture
Need an ingredient to help improve the texture of your skin?
Hyaluronic acid could be key here.
Again, the way in which it does this is down to its humectant properties, with all of the extra moisture it brings being fantastic for the skin.
How long does it take for hyaluronic acid to make a difference?
One study found that an improvement in skin texture could be noticed in just two weeks, with eight weeks bringing about even more significant results.
It Has Antioxidant Properties
One of the important benefits of hyaluronic acid is actually one that is not widely known, and this is because it has only recently been discovered…
Hyaluronic acid has been shown to have antioxidant properties, and this is something that can really give your skin that extra boost that it needs.
Why are antioxidants so important for your skin?
For so many different reasons, such as:
- Reduces inflammation
- Firms and tightens the skin
- Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by plumping up the skin
- Minimizes the appearance of scars by increasing blood flow to scar tissue
- Treats sun damage by encouraging the growth of new cells
It Can Speed Up Wound Healing
It is always important for a wound to heal quickly and safely, because this not only reduces the chance of infection, but also scarring.
When it comes to speeding up the wound healing process, hyaluronic acid can really help.
Thanks to the way in which it regulates the amount of inflammation within the body, which would otherwise have slowed the process down. It also stimulates the body into creating more blood vessels in the damaged area, while decreasing the amount of pain that is felt during the healing process.
If all of that was not enough…
Hyaluronic acid also contains antibacterial properties. This means that it can help to prevent infection, especially when it has been directly applied to the wound itself.
It Can Be Used On All Skin Types
There aren’t many ingredients out there that can be used on every skin type, as each skin type requires something quite different.
However, this is just another one of the benefits of hyaluronic acid…
Since hyaluronic acid already occurs naturally within the body, this ingredient can be used by all skin types, even sensitive skin, and will not cause any reactions.
Of course, you do still need to pay attention to the other ingredients formulated into a product along with the hyaluronic acid, and make sure that these are suitable for your skin type too. Just to be safe, always perform a 24-hour patch test on your skin before using a new product, to make sure that your skin does not react to it.
It Can Help With Acne
As mentioned above, hyaluronic acid can be used by all skin types, including oily and acne-prone. In fact, it can actually benefit oily skin in a surprising way.
Thanks to its moisturizing and hydrating properties.
Even though acne-prone skin may seem oily and moist, this moisture is down to the excess oil, not water. As you know, oil and water are completely different, but, when the skin feels dry, it can sometimes produce more oil in order to compensate for this.
By providing the skin with extra moisture and hydration, hyaluronic acid can help to reduce excess oil production, which will therefore prevent breakouts from occurring.
It Comes in Different Forms
Unlike many other skin care ingredients out there, hyaluronic acid does not actually penetrate into the skin, and this is because its molecules are too large. Instead, it works all of its magic from the surface of the skin, which is why it is so effective at boosting the skin’s natural barrier and absorbing moisture from the air.
Still, being able to experience these benefits from deeper within your skin’s layers would definitely be a bonus…
This is where sodium hyaluronate comes in.
Wondering what this is?
Sodium hyaluronate is a water-soluble salt form of hyaluronic acid, and is actually a more stable form of the original ingredient, meaning that it is much less likely to degrade and oxidize over time.
Although sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid are often referred to interchangeably, there is one huge difference between the two that you should be aware of…
The molecules of sodium hyaluronate are much smaller than those that make up hyaluronic acid, meaning that they can actually penetrate into the dermis. Once they are there, they combine with the existing moisture to maintain, and increase, these levels.
Not only that, but the smaller molecules of sodium hyaluronate will also stimulate blood microcirculation in your skin, increasing the rate at which your skin absorbs nutrients.
Wondering if there are any other forms of hyaluronic acid you should know about?
Hydrolysed hyaluronic acid, as well as sodium acetyl hyaluronate, are also effective.
You may also notice the term ‘low molecular weight hyaluronic acid’ on ingredient lists. This simply means that it contains hyaluronic acid, but in a form that features smaller molecules than regular hyaluronic acid. As mentioned above, this means that the ingredient will be able to better penetrate the skin, making it more effective.
Of course, if you can find a product that makes use of multiple forms of hyaluronic acid, then this would be most beneficial, as each one will work at a different level of your skin.
It Can Be Used in Multiple Ways
One of the easiest ways in which to use hyaluronic acid is by applying it topically to the skin, which is why the ingredient is so commonly found in skin care products.
However, there is another way in which hyaluronic acid can be used that is extremely effective…
These are dermal fillers, which are usually made from hyaluronic acid.
How do these work?
They are injected into the dermis layer of the skin, and work by filling in wrinkles and sagging skin while plumping up the overall complexion.
Dermal fillers often have a longer lasting effect than hyaluronic acid that has been applied topically.
Because they contain a cross-linked form of hyaluronic acid, known as hydrogel, which is able to hold up much more against degradation.
In fact, hyaluronic acid injections are not only used on the skin. They are also commonly used to treat knee pain that has been caused by osteoarthritis, and this is because hyaluronic acid is natural lubricant within the body, providing cushioning around major joints.
Not only that, but hyaluronic acid is sometimes used during eye surgeries, injected into the eye to replace natural fluids being lost.
It is Used in Many Skincare Products
Thanks to its wide range of benefits and the fact that it can be used by all skin types, hyaluronic acid is incorporated into such a wide range of different skin care products, giving you so much choice when it comes to deciding how you would prefer to use this ingredient.
From serums and creams to cleansers and masks, you are likely to see hyaluronic acid in all of these products and more on store shelves.
So, which is the best?
One of the best ways to make use of hyaluronic acid is with a serum.
Because serums are incredibly lightweight, meaning that they can quickly and easily penetrate into the top layer of your skin. Their lightweight properties all come down to the smaller molecules of the active ingredients used, and studies have shown that this is key when it comes to increasing skin penetration and hydration.
They are also usually packed with high doses of active ingredients, making them relatively more powerful in comparison to other types of products.
Facial masks that contain hyaluronic acid are also extremely effective…
Since face masks are designed to sit on the skin for an extended period of time, this gives their ingredients even more of a chance to properly soak into the skin and really work wonders.
There is nothing wrong with using multiple products that contain hyaluronic acid. In fact, this would only increase the benefits that you would experience.
It Also Comes in Oral Supplements
It goes without saying that the best way to really care for your skin is by nourishing it from both the inside and the outside.
While many skin care ingredients cannot be taken orally, hyaluronic acid can.
Not only will this boost your skin, but it will also protect you from osteoporosis, a condition that is becoming increasingly common.
While this may seem fantastic, it is important to keep in mind that there is a limited amount of research available on just how effective oral supplements of hyaluronic acid are. Nevertheless, they do still boost the amount of hyaluronic acid in the body, which would bring you nothing but benefits.
Wondering what dosage you should be taking?
This is something that you would need to speak to your doctor about, as it depends on a number of different factors, from your weight to the specific issues you are trying to treat.
There are Vegan Sources of Hyaluronic Acid Too
Currently, the majority of hyaluronic acid used in dermal fillers and other products is derived from avian sources.
However, for those who would prefer a vegan source of the ingredient, this is also becoming extremely common. These are created through the fermentation of certain microbes, and more and more bacterial strains are now being discovered to have the ability to produce hyaluronic acid, meaning that there is so much more potential out there.
Hyaluronic acid is such an effective all-round skin care ingredient, and is one that would benefit just about everybody. No matter the skin issues you may be dealing with, give hyaluronic acid a try, because it will likely make quite a bit of difference.