Its probably the beauty world's worst kept secret and has gone from being a cult staple to widely available over the last couple of years. The claims about the benefits of hyaluronic acid are hard to ignore. Its reported abilities include plumping skin, increasing hydration and improving laxity as well as radiance. As we know in beauty, there are no simple answers. So we put our scientist hats on and set out to take a closer look at Hyaluronic acid. In this post, we investigate claims about its skin rejuvenating properties, what Hyaluronic acid based skincare treatments are available and of course how you can incorporate it into a fuss-free beauty routine.
What Is Hyaluronic Acid & How Does It Work?
Hyaluronic acid (also known as hyaluronan or hyaluronate) is a carbohydrate that is found throughout the human body. In the skin, it is a chief extracellular component of the epidermis. As such, it has has a role maintaining the structure, hydration and volume of the skin. Due to this, Hyaluronic acid's main uses in beauty have been as a humectant and skin plumper.
How To Integrate Hyaluronic Acid Into Your Beauty Regime
So the main uses of hyaluronic acid are for hydration as well as resurfacing skin. As such its great if you're suffering from dry, dull or ageing skin. There is a big elephant in the room which not many people in beauty are willing to talk about. Whilst its skin rejuvenating properties have been proven, Hyaluronic acid is too large a molecule to be absorbed into the skin if applied on the surface. This means that you can only achieve some of its benefits (namely hydration) by applying it directly. Its benefits to skin structuring (increasing firmness, plumping and lifting up wrinkles) can only be achieved through injections of hyaluronic acid into the skin. It's super important to keep this in mind when deciding on how much to spend on products and in terms of what to expect.
Hyaluronic Acid Skincare Products
Hyaluronic acid holds 1000 times its own weight in water. So obviously its great for boosting skin's moisture and keep it hydrated throughout the day. Through using hyaluronic acid as a moisturiser, you get even hydration throughout the face which is non-greasy and not oily. It will also keep your skin moisturised for longer and boost its radiance to even out the appearance of your complexion. It helps smoothe the look of fine lines and wrinkles but this effect is due to its effectiveness as a moisturiser and not because of the Hyaluronic acid itself.
The best way to use hyaluronic acid is either a serum or cream. Serums like The Ordinary's Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 provides a multi-depth hydration for use underneath creams and makeup. If you want a cream, then the Medik8 C-Tetra Vitamin C Day Cream Moisturizer is a great all rounder which contains Hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
Do use Hyaluronic acid skincare products because it is, without doubt, the best moisturising agent ever. It is lightweight, non-greasy and can be used as a serum or cream.
Don't use if you are wanting a topical product that promises to permanently plump up skin (or lips), reduce wrinkles or slow down the ageing of the skin. Whilst it will help with these things, it will be doing so as a moisturiser and not because of the Hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic Acid Professional Injectable Treatments
By far one of the most popular and in demand ways to use Hyaluronic acid has been in the form of dermal fillers. These treatments involve a professional injection of Hyaluronic acid fillers like Teosyal, Restylane and Juvederm into or under the skin. The type of filler and depth of injection depends on the intended outcome. The great thing about hyaluronic acid dermal fillers is they're temporary and can be easily dissolved. They're also a safe and effective treatment if performed by a qualified and experienced doctor in a suitable setting.
Injecting Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers under the skin can help lift up wrinkles and lines in order to smooth them out. Facial fillers can also be used to restore lost volume and lift sagging skin when injected into the cheeks or jawline. Injecting fillers into the chin, nose or lips can reshape and redefine these. Dermal fillers can also be used to reduce the appearance of hollowing and shadowing when injected into the tear trough area (that's under eye area to you and me). One area that's rapidly gaining popularity is using hyaluronic acid as injectable "skin boosters" to refresh skin. These are superficial injections of Hyaluronic acid into the skin which improve hydration, elasticity and firmness. They're often administered as a course of treatments over 3-4 months with maintenance on a yearly basis.
So what's our verdict? Well, Hyaluronic acid is most definitely deserving of a place in all of our beauty routines. What's not to love about it? As a moisturiser, it hydrates skin and gives it a dewy-looking and even glow. As a dermal filler, it smoothes out wrinkles, plumps up the skin and volumises face, hand and lips to name a few uses. The secret is to get to know your skin well and have aimed for what you want to get out of it. If you're just looking for something to perk up your skin on a day to day basis then a Hyaluronic acid based moisturiser can help revive your skin. If you want to target specific problems with the skin and achieve more dramatic results then think about adding dermal fillers to your skincare routine. Regardless of what you decide, it's important to do your research and to also have realistic expectations from treatments and products. No matter how good the treatment or product, beautiful skin starts with a good and personalised daily routine.
Feeling a bit bummed out about winter? See our survival guide to winter skincare.
Don't miss our earlier guide and introduction to Hyaluronic acid.