What is hyaluronic acid, and why is it good for your skin?

There’s an ingredient that you’ll find in practically every skincare product category – cleansers, serums, moisturizers, and more. We’re talking about hyaluronic acid, an all-star skincare ingredient that has been scientifically proven to help your skin retain moisture and fight the signs of aging.

But what is this substance, and why is it everywhere, including in our skincare products?

What is hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid (or HA) is a natural compound that is found in abundant quantities in the body’s connective tissues. Like the essential skin proteins collagen and elastin, hyaluronic acid is present in the extracellular matrix (the three-dimensional supportive network of tissues located outside the cells). Tissues such as the joints, eyes, and skin contain especially high amounts of hyaluronic acid.

What is hyaluronic acid

What does hyaluronic acid do for the skin?

Hyaluronic acid is one of the main components of skin structure. It gives the skin a plump, dewy, and hydrated appearance. This is because hyaluronic acid is hydrophilic (it attracts water) and can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in moisture.

By retaining moisture in the skin, hyaluronic acid helps to keep the skin lubricated and moist and, therefore, softer, smoother, and younger-looking with fewer fine lines and wrinkles. HA is present in injectable fillers that are used to give the skin a firmer, more lifted, and youthful appearance.

Hyaluronic acid has also been found to reduce inflammation and aid in wound healing. By keeping the skin moisturized, hyaluronic acid protects against infections, dermatitis, rosacea, and acne. When applied to the skin surface, it can reduce redness, eczema, and dryness.

Clinical studies have shown that hyaluronic acid promotes the skin’s natural barrier function. It makes the skin more elastic and less prone to sun damage and aging. Experts say hyaluronic acid has immediate and long-term effects on the skin.

If my skin already contains hyaluronic acid, why do I need to apply it in skincare products?

Here’s the thing… as we age, the body makes less and less hyaluronic acid. In fact, a person in their 40s has about half the hyaluronic acid in their body as a person in their 20s. Exposure to environmental toxins such as air pollutants and cigarette smoke can accelerate this process of HA loss. Therefore, hyaluronic acid is included in skincare products to help rebuild depleted stores.

Hyaluronic acid and the skin barrier

Hyaluronic acid helps support an effective skin barrier. A healthy skin barrier is an important component of healthy skin as this keeps environmental pollutants out of the skin, which can contribute to a host of unwanted skin reactions, including acne, irritation, and dry skin, just to name a few.

Is hyaluronic acid in skincare products right for me?

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the body. It is not dangerous or harmful in any way. HA is very unlikely to cause allergic reactions since the body makes it too.

Generally speaking, hyaluronic acid is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. However, people with highly sensitive skin should do a patch test with any new hyaluronic acid product before including it in their skincare routine.

What are the best hyaluronic acid skincare products?

As mentioned, hyaluronic acid is a super-star ingredient that is present in many categories of skincare products.

You can choose a hyaluronic acid toner to soothe and rejuvenate your skin as well as tighten pores. A hyaluronic acid moisturizer provides instant hydration and will keep the skin moisturized without feeling too heavy or greasy on the skin.

One of the best HA products on the market today is SkinMedica’s HA5. This product contains 5 different types of hyaluronic acid to help support the skin with the hydration it needs.

SkinMedica HA5

5 Different Types of HA in SkinMedica’s HA5

1. A time-released (or sustained release) form of SkinMedica’s own proprietary ingredients to help hydrate the skin.
2. Sodium Hyaluronate, which penetrates deep into the skin for amazing hydration.
3. Uncross-linked HA, which provides immediate hydration.
4. Nano HA (smaller molecules), which soothes the skin and provides hydration
5. Cross-Linked HA, which provides long-lasting hydration for up to 8 hours

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Wrapping Up: Why hyaluronic acid is good for your skin

When your skin doesn’t have enough moisture, it can appear dry, flaky, and rough. The main benefit of hyaluronic acid is that it provides hydration. This keeps your skin looking soft and supple with a healthy glow. The water-pulling qualities of hyaluronic acid have an age-defying effect. HA helps plump up the skin and fill in fine lines and wrinkles.

Remember, HA is not just for looks. Dry skin can be a less effective skin barrier, leaving you vulnerable to damage from the sun’s harmful rays and environmental toxins. Hyaluronic acid is, therefore, an essential ingredient in your skincare routine. Our dermatologists recommend a hyaluronic-acid serum or moisturizer for people of all ages. After all, it’s never too early to give your skin a boost.

As always, if you have any questions about HA products or any skincare regimen, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Skincare Specialists in the Skin for Life Boutique.