Hyaluronic acid is the ingredient on every skin care expert’s lips - but how does it work to help protect our skin? We take a look at all the benefits that this hydrating ingredient can offer tired, dull-looking complexions.
What Is Hyaluronic Acid?
Also known as HA, this sugary molecule (described by scientists as “goo” up until the late 1970s - yep, we’re serious!) is loved by dermatologists for its moisturizing properties - in fact, just one molecule of hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. These impressive hydrating abilities have made hyaluronic acid one of the leading ingredients in the formulas of all types of skin care products, from serums to boosters to anti-aging complexes.
So, how does hyaluronic acid work on the cellular level? It all has to do with molecule size. There are different derivatives of hyaluronic acid and not all derivatives are identical, so it is important to know a little more about what the various derivatives can do for the appearance of your skin. High molecular weight hyaluronic acid is larger than small molecular weight HA, making it ideal for smoothing and plumping the surface of the skin. Smaller molecules can penetrate into the upper most layers of the skin, making them appropriate for formulation in more specialized or targeted skin care products.
Where Does Hyaluronic Acid Come From?
There’s vegan, natural, naturally-derived, synthetic…the Hyaluronic Acid in skincare comes from a range of sources. When natural, it’s typically sourced from plant and wheat fermentation. Plants are fermented with certain bacteria, then purified to extract the Hyaluronic Acid within, for a naturally-derived Hyaluronic Acid. The Hyaluronic Acid used in Vichy products is naturally-derived from wheat.
Is Hyaluronic Acid Safe?
Since hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring molecule found in the skin, it is safe to use skin care products formulated with it to help skin appear plump with moisture. Products formulated with hyaluronic acid are known to be gentle on the skin making it appropriate to use on a variety of skin types.
What Has Hyaluronic Acid In It?
When it comes to helping address the visible signs of skin aging, hyaluronic acid has arguably taken the top spot in the list of hot ingredients to look out for in the formulas of your skin care products. For day-to-day use, hyaluronic acid is one of the most common ingredients found in serums, boosters, facial masks and moisturizers, like Vichy’s Minéral 89 Face Moisturizer.
How Does Hyaluronic Acid Benefit The Appearance of Skin?
It’s all a question of hydration. First, it is important to know why hydration is so important for healthy-looking, fresh skin. As the largest organ of the human body, our skin’s job is to act as a barrier, protecting us from harmful external elements that can damage our other organs. As the first line of defense for our bodies, our skin needs to be prepared to handle these harmful external elements, collectively known as exposomes, which can include everything from sun damage and lack of sleep to smoking and pollution. The skin’s natural barrier function requires moisture to work, so introducing products that can help provide moisture to your surface skin can help support your skin’s ability to defend against external stressors.
How Does Hyaluronic Acid Hydrate Skin?
Hyaluronic acid can work to help fill the spaces between the cells of the epidermis - as a rough analogy, imagine pouring water into an empty swimming pool filled with tennis balls. This addition to surface skin’s water levels can lead to the appearance of plumper looking skin. Unfortunately, hyaluronic acid molecules have a relatively short half-life (less than a day) when applied topically to skin. In other words, daily application of your products formulated with this hydrating ingredient is key to receiving its benefits!