Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid for Your Skin
What do we want? Soft, supple, glowing skin. When do we want it? Every single day of our lives, thank you! How do we get it? Well, that’s a little more complicated.
You know the expression “skin soft as a baby’s bottom”? When we’re born, our skin is at its absolute peak. But as we go on in life, we’re exposed to the sun, to pollutants in the air, and to our bodies’ own cycles. For our teenage selves, this means pimples. For our older selves, it’s developing wrinkles and losing elasticity and brightness.
But there’s a solution out there that is gaining some traction and notoriety in the beauty industry. And we think everyone needs to know about it: hyaluronic acid. Let’s dive in!
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) isn’t an acid in the way you might be picturing—it’s not here to break things down. HA is actually a type of sugar (or polysaccharide) that is produced by the body and found in connective tissue, including the skin. It enhances the sliding between adjacent tissue layers, works to bind collagen with elastin, and maintains the extracellular space to provide an open and hydrated structure for the passage of nutrients in the epidermis. HA is also involved in tissue repair in the skin.
How does it do all that? Well, each hyaluronic acid molecule is basically a tiny sponge for moisture that can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water. The acid acts as a humectant, meaning it attracts and retains the moisture in the air nearby by absorbing it, drawing the water vapor into or beneath the surface of the humectant object.
The average person has around 15 grams of hyaluronic acid in the body, one third of which is turned over (meaning it degrades and is synthesized) every day.
What does hyaluronic acid do for the skin?
We all know the benefits of hydrated skin: it’s plumper, firmer, and has a natural glow of health and wellness. It also looks more youthful, since older skin tends to be dryer and more slack. So that ability for hyaluronic acid to hold in moisture makes it hugely beneficial for our skin. As Beauty by the Geeks noted to The Telegraph, “In a sense, hyaluronic acid acts like a sponge holding vast amounts of water in the skin, effectively plumping out the skin and by doing so it can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as improving the skin’s hydration and texture of the skin.” Basically, it gives us the skin of our baby soft dreams.
The acid can also help protect our skin against the UVB rays of the sun, which can cause a lot of damage to our skin, including dark spotting.
Unfortunately, our body’s natural production of hyaluronic acid slows down as we age. A lack of hyaluronic acid leads to less lubrication and less elasticity in the skin. This in turn leads to sagging and wrinkles. If we don’t want those things (and who does, really?) we need to look to other sources of HA to keep the skin looking plump and smooth.
How is hyaluronic acid used?
Hyaluronic acid is a very versatile and useful tool in all areas related to healing and rejuvenating tissue. It’s gaining popularity as a biomaterial scaffold in tissue engineering research, and has been used in eye surgery, including cataract surgery, glaucoma surgery, and surgery to repair retinal detachment, since the 1970’s.
In the world of skin, the FDA has approved the use of hyaluronic acid as an ingredient in dermal fillers, which are a naturally-derived or synthetic material that is directly injected into the skin in order to plump the area to the point where the wrinkle, depression, or fold is gone. Depending on the type of filler, effects can last from six months to two years. In the case of hyaluronic acid, the effects last about six to 12 months. In fillers, the acid is combined with water to form a gel, which causes the smoothing and filling effect when injected.
Sounds great…where can I get it?
Derma fillers not for you? Don’t worry, there are some more low key options. For a long time, hyaluronic acid molecules were too big to be as effective when applied to the surface of the face. Rather than actually filling in wrinkles, the acid would sit on top of the skin and mostly just act as a great moisturizer by drawing in water from the air around you. Happily, science has now advanced to the point where there are now offerings with lower molecular weights. As cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson told Allure, “Small molecules that can penetrate between skin cells to draw in moisture at a deeper level to hydrate better.” So we have a growing range of serums and lotions that offer real results.
Make sure to check the product’s ingredients list for the following: hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, hydrolysed hyaluronic acid and sodium acetyl hyaluronate. Different brands will use different forms of the acid or combine the various forms, but they all work in a similar way. Sodium hyaluronate is particularly exciting because it can be quickly absorbed by the skin, even in a serum.
Start repairing your skin now!
Our favourite product? The brand new Beauty on Contact from Responsive Skin Care, which uses sodium hyaluronate for its quick absorption. Another major ingredient is vitamin B3, also known as niacin, which boosts blood circulation and accelerates and enhances tissue repair.
Learn more about Beauty on Contact at the link below, and start reaping the benefits of repaired and revitalized skin.
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