Ever feel like there’s a new beauty ingredient you can’t stop seeing and hearing about? That all of the sudden, it’s in every product and all over your Instagram feed? This is what our Beauty Buzzwords series is all about – helping you learn more about these mysterious ingredients and why everyone is raving about them.
For the second installment of Beauty Buzzwords, we’re diving into a powerful hydrating ingredient – hyaluronic acid.
What is it?
The word acid can definitely be a bit concerning when you’re talking about skin care, but hyaluronic acid (HA) is actually very gentle on skin and quite different from other skin care acids such are salicylic or lactic acid, which be harsh and drying.
HA is a sugar molecule that is naturally occurring in our bodies. Its role is to bind water and to lubricate flexible parts of the body, like joints and muscles. It has the incredible power to draw in and hold more than 1,000 times its own weight in moisture, thus making it an amazing hydrator and overall skin-health supporting ingredient.
The Science Behind HA
Here’s where things get a bit science-y; Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant, which means it attracts moisture from the air and preserves it in the skin, keeping things plump and hydrated. Because HA is a large sized molecule, it is too big to penetrate the skin and instead sits on top of the surface, where it binds to water to maintain moisture. What this means is that HA itself does not add hydration, but is very effective when paired with water or other ingredients at retaining moisture.
Some lab-made HA has been altered to include low-, medium- and high-molecular weights of HA and is therefore said to achieve “multi-depth hydration.” There are several kinds of HA:
- Synthetic, which is produced in a lab by scientists
- Natural, often extracted from rooster combs, and
- Botanical (my personal favourite), also known as Cassia Angustifolia, which is found in Indian Senna Seeds
What are the benefits?
The main attraction of hyaluronic acid is of course its ability to lock in moisture by holding onto water so our skin can absorb it, but it also has amazing anti-aging benefits. Our ability to naturally create HA in our bodies declines with age, causing dryness and wrinkles, which HA can help to combat. Finally, HA support skin repair through its skin-calming and anti-inflammatory abilities, providing defense from UV damage.
Who should be using it?
I recommend hyaluronic acid for all skin types (dry to oily), and those who are looking to start adding some anti-aging products to their skin care routine. Bonus tip: Vitamin C and HA pair very well together and will pack a powerful punch when it comes to improving plumpness and fine lines.
How can you use it?
Although hyaluronic acid can be found in all types of skin care and beauty products, serums are one of the best methods to add HA to your routine. Apply as the first step after cleansing to damp skin, and follow up with an additional moisturizer.
My Favourite Products:
- NOW Solutions Hyaluronic Acid Firming Serum: This high potency Hyaluronic Acid Serum naturally fills in fine lines, and smooths the skin’s surface to protect delicate tissue
- ANDALOU Naturals Luminous Eye Serum boosts collagen and elastin to smooth fine lines and firm dermal structure, while caffeine from green coffee stimulates circulation, reduces puffiness and helps diminish dark circles
- The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5: This formulation combines low-, medium- and high-molecular weight HA, as well as a next-generation HA crosspolymer at a combined concentration of 2% for multi-depth hydration in an oil-free formula
Let me know if you have any questions about using hyaluronic acid, and stay tuned for our next edition of Beauty Buzzwords!
Eve is a photographer and writer from Toronto, Canada with a passion for natural beauty and healthy eating. She loves green products, yoga, big salads and even bigger cups of tea.