Like ceramides, hyaluranic acid (or “HA” for you skin care aficionados out there) is a great ingredient for your skin. It’s not a new ingredient but it’s one that we make sure to seek out year round and especially during the winter months when the air can be so dry. The exact opposite of its name, the “acid” is not stripping or harsh to your skin. On the contrary, it’s a really strong humectant that can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. It draws and keeps moisture in your skin which means plump, hydrated and supple skin.
WHAT DOES HYALURONIC ACID DO FOR SKIN?
Hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in our bodies (just like ceramides). It’s a polysaccharide (carbohydrate) and is found in the spaces between our skin cells where it works to keep our skin from being dried out. HA creates a barrier on your skin to keep moisture trapped underneath which gives your skin a softer feel. It’s also found in our eyes, skin, nerves and joints. It’s one of the things along with our production of collagen and ceramides that helps to give a plump and healthy texture to our skin. As we age, like most things in our bodies, we lose levels of hyaluronic acid. We’re born with lots of it, which is why a baby’s skin is so beautiful, but by the time we’re middle aged our levels drop significantly.
The easiest way to restore your levels of hyaluronic acid is by using a moisturizer that contains the acid or simply using it alone. By using an HA cream, over time, you’ll notice that your skin has a more plump texture and does not feel so dried out. When you use a lotion, cream or serum with hyaluronic acid it helps to draw hydration and keep hydration in your skin which prevents your skin from looking so tight and dried out. Keep in mind though that topical HA does not enter your body however because hyaluronic acid molecules are too large to pass through your epidermis which is fine enough for those of us who are under the age of about 40. For those with more mature skin, and those looking for a facial wrinkle filler, you can also opt to get hyaluronic acid filler injections like Restylane or Juvéderm at your doctor’s office, but if you’re looking for a less intrusive method, a cream or lotion is the fastest and easiest way to go. You can also take hyaluronic acid supplements if you have problems with your joints or have dry eyes. NeoCell Hyaluronic Acid Blueberry Liquid has always come highly recommended to us as a good tasting liquid HA supplement as well as Fountain The Hyaluronic Molecule, another liquid supplement.
HOW TO USE HYALURONIC ACID FOR SKIN
Every skin type can benefit from HA, even those with eczema. The consistency as very watery so even those with oily or acne prone skin can benefit from its light finish. You can wear HA alone or underneath your moisturizer and makeup. After washing your face, simply apply it onto your damp skin before your moisturizer or use it alone as your moisturizer and continue with your skin care routine as normal. HA can be applied morning and night, but we recommend that you start by patch testing first and then using it once per day or every other day until you know how your skin reacts to it. You only need a really thin layer and follow that up with your moisturizer.
THE BEST PRODUCTS WITH HYALURONIC ACID
If you would like to use it as a stand-alone product which is great for dull or mature skin, we recommend going with the most potent form of HA which would be a serum. OZ Naturals Hyaluronic Acid Plus Vitamin C Serum is a clinical strength anti-aging serum that is a vegan, alcohol, parabens and sulfate free serum that’s safe for all skin types. Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel is another great choice as is Peter Thomas Roth 75 percent Hyaluronic Acid Complex. It’s fragrance-free and comes in a super concentrated 75 percent hyaluronic acid formula. For an organic choice, we really like Michael Todd True Organics Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C Serum which is fortified with Vitamins A, Pro-vitamin B5, C, E and Co-Enzyme Q-10.
To specifically treat and minimize wrinkles around your eyes, crow’s-feet, frown lines, and smile lines try the Acute Care patch from Rodan + Fields. They are formulated with hyaluronic acid and peptides to plump face lines. You can also try our current personal favorite thing–Koren face masks. We’re using The Face Shop Hyaluronic Acid Essential Mask Sheet as well as The Face Shop Hyaluronic Acid And Colostrum 3D Ampoule Mask Sheet a few times per month at night and they really work to make your face feel supple. We’re also big fans of The Face Shop Baby Face Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogel Mask.
Some really good facial moisturizers with hyaluronic acid that we recommend are CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM, White Egret Hyaluronic Acid Day Serum and Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Anti-Wrinkle Deep Wrinkle Night Moisturizer. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel is formulated for dry skin and has water, silicone and olive extracts. It has a smaller amount of hyaluronic acid and the finish is very light.
There are also plenty of body lotions formulated with hyaluronic acid that help to keep your body smoothe which you can check out in our epic run down of the best body lotions in Head, Shoulders, Knees And Toes: The Best Lotions For Extremely Dry Skin.
HYALURONIC ACID FOR HAIR AND DRY SCALP
If you have a dry scalp as well as brittle hair trying a product like John Masters Organics Honey and Hibiscus Hair Reconstructor could possibly help since it’s formulated with: honey (moisturizer and humectant) hibiscus (moisturizer and helps to maintain a healthy scalp), linolenic and hyaluronic acid (same acids found in all hair), soy protein (strengthens hair follicles, makes hair look thicker and fuller and improves shine), wheat protein (helps with comb-through and shine) and bergamot (treats dry scalp and hair).
A WORD OF CAUTION ON HOW HYALURONIC ACID CAN DRY SKIN
Like all humectants, including glycerin, hyaluronic acid can actually dry out your skin depending on your skin type, when you use it (season and temperature) and where you live (humid versus dry climates). Since a humectants job is to bind water, if there is no moisture in the air then it will take it from the next available place which will be your skin. HA still has its skin benefits so if you have dry skin, be sure to use HA with a moisturizer or just use a moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid to reap the benefits. If you have oily skin, you should be able to use HA alone but be sure to test out what your skin likes best.