A skin care superstar, hyaluronic acid is a must have ingredient for any dry skinned girl, or even combination or oily gals. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, meaning it works to draw water from the air into your skin. What does that mean? It means dryer skin types will be more hydrated, and if you have oily or combination skin, your skin will remain hydrated, and that in turn will help to normalize oil production levels.
We all naturally have hyaluronic acid – it’s produced by our bodies, and is a key player in tissue health, including that of our skin. However, as we age, our hyaluronic acid production slows down, and it can show. Proven to be a “perfect” ingredient, hyaluronic acid applied topically helps to plump fine lines and give a bouncy, firm texture to the skin. A third of the hyaluronic acid is degraded and synthesized every day, posing the question of whether applying it topically really makes a difference. Of course, new skin care technology is making this an irrelevant problem. Cosmetic scientists and researchers are developing “precursors,” such as peptides, which can be applied topically, and stimulate the creation of hyaluronic acid in the body.
However, hyaluronic acid is environment dependent. If you live in a humid location where there’s lots of moisture and water in the air, hyaluronic acid has the resources to pull all that moisture into the skin. In dryer climates, hyaluronic acid starts to lose its efficiency. In the driest, desert-like climates, it can actually pull water from your skin, into the air. For maximum efficiency, it’s always best to have a humidifier on while using hyaluronic acid or to apply it after a hot and steamy shower. Another tip for those of us living in a drier climate is to use hyaluronic acid products while the skin is still wet, to maximize the amount of water the molecules are holding.
Another thing to watch out for is the molecular weight of the hyaluronic acid. In this case, size does matter! A higher molecular weight means a larger article, which can’t penetrate into the deepest layers of the skin. While this isn’t a bad thing, it’s something to be aware of. Lower molecular weights can penetrate the deepest layers of the skin, meaning more hydration. However, some studies have shown that it can cause irritation because of its ability to penetrate, and may not be the best product to use for all skin types.
So what should we look for in a hyaluronic acid product? One thing is to look for a product with various molecular weights. Larger weight hydrates the surface of the skin, while lower weights help the skin to better retain moisture. For longer term effects, it’s also good to find a product that uses newer precursor technology to stimulate hyaluronic acid production by the body naturally. Finally, make sure to keep your environment hydrated! While humidifier improves your skin’s moisture levels even without using hyaluronic acid, the effects will be significantly increased when used in combination.