Ah, yes, the rise and rise of another miracle ingredient. This time it’s hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic acid has been trending for quite some time, and if you believe the hype, your skincare routine would be incomplete without it.
It seems I’m in disagreement with every brand on the planet.
It’s not the most critical product in your skincare routine. Sure, it’s nice to have if you use it correctly for a special event, but it’s hardly a deal-breaker.
So why all the hype?
Many celebrities and influencers deciding it’s time to launch a skincare brand will spruik the virtues of hyaluronic acid, telling you it’s a must-have.
I recently watched a “well-meaning” celebrity extol the virtues of her multi-complex hyaluronic acid formulation. No less than five forms of hyaluronic acid are what the skin needs as it pushes its way past the skin barrier to hydrate to plump up your skin.
Okidokes. We need to unpack that one. Because when a celebrity makes such a claim, you’ll tend to buy into the narrative and purchase the product because it sounds so good.
Why is hyaluronic acid so essential for the skin?
The three biological components that provide strength, elasticity and hydration to the skin are collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan (GAGs), which provides the dermal layer of the skin with structural support, cushioning and plumpness, giving the skin its bounce.
Hyaluronic acid is a natural lubricant that allows communication between cells to promote wound healing, cellular renewal, and repair.
So from this, we know hyaluronic acid is a crucial component for many cells in the body which is why the body produces so much of it until the day it doesn’t.
For the skin to remain healthy, it continuously produces hyaluronic acid within the dermis to keep it bouncy and hydrated.
When production slows down as we age, our skin loses its bounce, joints begin to creak, and our eyes can become dry and uncomfortable due to decreased natural lubrication.
So what’s it doing in your skincare?
One of the reasons hyaluronic acid is so prevalent in skincare is due to its well-known reputation for attracting water molecules and binding 1000 times its weight in water to plump itself up.
Applying a hyaluronic acid serum provides temporary comfort, and the instant hit will make the skin look more hydrated.
Howeverrrrrrr… for hyaluronic acid to plump up your skin cells with water, it needs to draw moisture to itself.
But from where? Well, from your skin.
Let me explain. Your skin is constantly losing water, called transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and it’s happening right now while you’re reading this. Once drawn up to the surface of your skin, it evaporates. A good skincare routine aims to retain moisture within the skin with an occlusive moisturiser and stop the natural occurrence of TEWL.
So, unless you live in a super humid environment, hyaluronic acid will draw moisture from the epidermis, the uppermost layer of the skin, where it will be lost to the atmosphere. Rather than moisturising your skin, HA will dehydrate it.
Furthermore, the serum you’ve been applying to your skin will not penetrate beyond the epidermis. It just won’t. So, it’s just sitting there drawing moisture from all the wrong places and not much else.
If you want to prevent moisture loss and maintain skin volume, there are better ways to do this than adding a super multi-hyaluronic acid formula that might not be as beneficial to your skin as you’ve been told.
But how do we boost hydration from within?
- Bio-remodelling injectables – If you want hyaluronic acid to go beyond the epidermis, consider a bio-remodelling injectable known as Profhilo that evenly distributes hyaluronic acid. Once injected, it will provide the plumpness your skin is missing and will signal activities in the dermis; you’ll find, over time, your collagen has increased. What a bonus!
- Support the dermal layer of your skin by drinking more water.
- Strive for a healthy, nutrient-dense diet.
- Omega 3 is essential in providing your skin cells with what they need to proliferate and form a robust skin barrier function allowing the skin to retain moisture. Food sources rich in omega-3 are fish, flaxseed or algae. If you think your diet is deficient, you may want to take an oral supplement.
- Limit any lifestyle activity that robs the body of water and nutrients, such as alcohol and cigarette smoke.
- Regularly use an alpha hydroxy cream or serum to gently exfoliate the skin while activating hyaluronic acid in the dermis. Alpha Hydroxy acids have been shown to increase epidermal thickness and dermal glycosaminoglycans in the skin. Another bonus!
- Swap your hydrating serum for skincare with vitamins A, C and E. Feeding your skin with topical nutrients allows your skin to do the rest.
A better way to hydrate your skin.
If you have a special occasion and want an instant hydration boost. Go for it. However, always follow your hyaluronic serum with an occlusive moisturiser to help keep moisture in your skin and not evaporate into the atmosphere.
Choose a moisturiser with glycerin instead to assist the skin in retaining its natural moisture.
Give your skin an instant glow and a dewy finish to your makeup with a well-formulated facial oil.
Incorporate an alpha hydroxy acid liquid or cream serum into your weekly routine.
Lastly, do not use hyaluronic acid as a regular product in your beauty routine, hoping it will eliminate dehydration and prevent your skin from ageing. Sorry, it just won’t.
Alternatives to hyaluronic acid
These products can be applied under your usual moisturiser to support skin health, restore barrier function and minimise moisture loss.
And now you.
Do you have a question or a product you’d like to know more about? You can email me here.
See you next time,