Hyaluronic acid (HA) is one of the great skin heroes. As a natural cosmetic formulator, it's one of the ingredients I always look to when needing to support the foundation of skin hydration. HA is an amazing ingredient but as with everything not all Hyaluronic acids are produced the same there for not all offer you the same outcome. to get the most out of this super nutrient its best to gain some insight into what it does for the skin and the benefits of using it.
What is Hyaluronic acid (HA)
Hyaluronic acid or HA keeps the skin supple & plump in fact more than 50% of the bodies naturally produced HA can be found in the skin dermis as its plays an integral part in supporting skin structure and hydration. Over time the body's natural production of this decreases which is why it's such a beloved skincare ingredient as it can reduce wrinkle depth, combat redness and inflammation while aiding in the healing of abrasions & wounds. Found in the fluids in the eyes, joints and skin, it acts as a cushion and a lubricant, as it helps the body respond to injury & decrease swelling. For the skin It also acts as an osmotic pump, pulling other powerful nutrients into the deep epidermal layers.
HA is known as a “smart nutrient” as it can adjust its moisture absorption rate based on the humidity—relative to the season and climate. Unlike collagen, HA is able to penetrate the skin’s upper layers to improve the skin when applied topically. It can also bind up to one thousand times its weight in water, so it functions as a humectant holding water molecules onto the surface of the skin to keep it super-hydrated and slows the rate which water evaporates from your skin referred to as TEWL (trans epidermal water loss).
On a chemical level, hyaluronic acid is an anionic, non-sulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAGs), distributed widely throughout connective, epithelial and neural tissues. The key molecule involved in skin moisture is Hyaluronan (aka the body's naturally produced form of the skincare ingredient HA). This glycosaminoglycan has a unique capacity to bind & retain water molecules. Hyaluronic acid is a smaller molecular size allowing it to readily be absorbed by the skin & penetrate to the layers of the epidermis where it works its skin hydration magic.
Where does HA come from?
Hyaluronic Acid is a natural glycosaminoglycan (polysaccharides that are an important component of connective tissue) it can be derived from multiple sources - foods, supplements, and HA powders. There are two main sources of HA: animal extraction (from Rooster Combs typically) or via bacterial fermentation. At Intentionally Natural you will only find that our products only contain HA from bacterial fermentation using corn-derived glucose to create the Hyaluronic Acid in a bio-fermentation process.
What H/A dose for the skin
HA has a multitude of benefits for your skin. It is incredibly good at bonding with water molecules, which makes it a powerful anti-aging ingredient because a lack of moisture is one of the main culprits in the aging process. It is also a powerful repairer: medical studies have shown that it helps skin to heal more quickly. HA helps replenish cell moisture which in turn reduces the appearance of wrinkles & fine lines. It is fast absorbing which means less mess, but also less lost product & it is safe & well tolerated by almost all skin types, including sensitive skin. It is also available in a variety of forms from topical products to supplements (always consult your GP before adding new supplements).
Anti- wrinkle effects
As mentioned, water is an important component required for collagen production, which is one of the key building blocks of the skin that is lost during the aging process. Hydrated skin looks plumper than dry or dehydrated skin. Skin aging & damage is associated with this loss of moisture, this is where HA is valuable as part of your skincare regime. Because the HA has extremely small molecules, it is able to penetrate the skin making it perfect for targeting lines and wrinkles. Ha has been shown to effectively reduce the depth of wrinkles, increased moisture in the skin cells, increased elasticity in the fragile skin around the eye and absorbed into the skin better than ingredients with larger molecules. It can also act as a penetration enhancer allowing other ingredients to be carried deeper into the epidermal layers, so is not only valuable on its own, but can partner with other active ingredients to further benefit skin health & function.
It is important to understand what is causing your skin’s redness before you decide if HA is the answer. Some redness may be sun damage, inflammation associated with acne or blemishes, or it could be irritation, eczema or rosacea. It is important, when your skin is inflamed & red, to only use very natural, very gentle ingredients to soothe it. HA helps to prevent and treat redness by dealing with one of the main reasons behind it: a damaged skin barrier. Poorly hydrated skin is compromised & vulnerable to damage from the environment. It can let bacteria in, which can lead to infection. HA fortifies the skin’s natural lipid barrier (the fatty acids that prevent irritants entering the skin) making the skin better able to defend itself against pollutants & environmental damage. This not only allows redness & inflammation to heal but makes it less likely to occur in the future. It is wise to try a small amount of HA on redness to see if it does soothe and strengthen your skin. Sometimes inflamed skin needs time to calm before it is ready for HA.Hydration
HA is all about hydration! Holding up to one thousand times its molecular weight in water, which means that when it penetrates the skin, it binds water to the skin cells providing extra moisture to all the layers of the skin. Hydrated skin looks plumper and is less likely to sag or “crepe”. A 2016 study found that HA decreased the depth of wrinkles around the lips and eyes by between ten and twenty percent and overall skin tightness by up to thirty percent. HA is also a humectant, which means that it not only provides water to the lower layers of the skin & strengthens the lipid barrier on top of the skin, it also continues to draw moisture from the surrounding environment, providing long lasting hydration for the skin.
How to use Hyaluronic acid
It is very easy to work HA into your skincare routine. It needs to be applied to clean skin for ultimate penetration so always cleanse your skin well before application. While your skin is still slightly damp, apply the HA serum to your face. This provides the HA serum with water to bind with & deliver to your skin cells. Follow the serum with your usual moisturizer, don't forget a daily sunscreen as well. The instant plumping effect also makes HA the perfect primer before makeup. You can use a HA serum both in the morning and at night on clean skin.
Hyaluronic acid is an incredibly valuable addition to your skincare regime, particularly if aging or dryness are issues you are dealing with. It will hydrate your skin cells from within, fortify your skin from without & encourage other ingredients to work more effectively as well. Make sure that you always use it with other products that are completely natural – you don’t want your HA pulling toxic ingredients into your skin cells.
Shop our range of natural skincare + wellness products containing H/A: