What Is Hyaluronic Acid?
What is this ish?There’s a lot of buzz around hyaluronic acid in the skincare industry. And no, it is not an acid in the same sense as lactic or glycolic acid, which exfoliate away dead skin cells. Let us break it down for you. For starters, hyaluronic acid (or HA) is a molecule that’s naturally found in your body, and acts as a cushioning agent for our joints, nerves, hair, skin and eyes. A large concentration of HA is actually located in your skin, where the jelly-like substance helps to keep it plump.
Is it worth it?
As we age, our ability to produce hyaluronic acid declines. Less hyaluronic acid can mean increased dryness, fine lines, wrinkles, and a loss of skin elasticity. Ouch. So, one of the benefits of using synthetically-derived hyaluronic acid touted by cosmetic manufacturers is to restore your skin’s levels of hyaluronic acid. On top of that, Hyaluronic acid can retain close to 1000 times its weight in water - making it a star ingredient for hydrating serums and lotions. After observing women who used hyaluronic acid for 8 weeks, researchers found dramatic improvements in the participant's’ skin hydration levels, skin firmness, and depth of wrinkles.
Is sodium hyaluronate the same as hyaluronic acid? Help!Both sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid are used in beauty products, and marketers refer to both as “hyaluronic acid,” even though there are some key differences. Sodium hyaluronate is a salt derived from hyaluronic acid, and has all the benefits of hyaluronic acid, but with one extra advantage—it’s more easily absorbed by the skin. That’s because it has a lower molecule size, which allows for better skin penetration. For hyaluronic acid to really penetrate the skin’s surface, it actually has to be bioengineered to have a much lower molecular weight. That feature doesn’t make one better than the other— it’s actually great if a product contains both, so your skin can reap the benefits on multiple levels.
What about the use of HA in injections?We won’t dive too much into fillers, but in case you’re curious, hyaluronic acid is one of the most popular dermal fillers used by dermatologists and plastic surgeons (popular brand names include Juvederm and Restylane). The injections can be used to improve the skin’s contour and reduce depressions in the skin from scars, injury, or fine lines.
Our Favorite Products, You Ask?
Youth to the People Age Prevention Superfood Cream
Basically, this face cream is like green juice for your face. It’s loaded with superfoods—kale, spinach, and green tea—and hyaluronic acid to moisturize skin. It’s packed with antioxidants that protect your skin against free radicals and environmental stresses, and the super lightweight formula makes it perfect for those with oily or combination skin moods. The cream is also the perfect makeup primer to give your skin some hydration before you apply foundation.
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
This simple serum is perfect for getting in your dose of hyaluronic acid. The Ordinary has also added in some vitamin B5 (“hydrating panthenol”) and in addition to other plant extracts for some added hydration. Why love love this formula? It’s cheap, it’s effective, it’s to the point. If you’re curious about hyaluronic acid, it’s worth giving this a try.
Glossier Super Bounce
Super Bounce is a straightforward, hyaluronic acid serum that sinks seamlessly into skin without feeling sticky. The ingredients are simple: It features skin-plumping sodium hyaluronate and hydrating panthenol (vitamin B5) to help feel smoother and more hydrated while remaining fragrance-free.
Eminence Organic Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum
The ingredient list for this serum has us drooling. Not only does it contain botanical hyaluronic acid (from marshmallow plant extract), but it also contains superfoods like strawberry, honey, aloe vera, and rhubarb to support the skin. On top of that, the serum also contains salicylic acid which gently exfoliates and removes impurities to brighten skin and minimize the appearance of pores.