Hyaluronic Acid benefits for the skin have been studied extensively and the results propelled this skincare ingredient to the top tier.
Extensive range of skincare products, from Hyaluronic Acid serums to creams, and especially Hyaluronic Acid for the face, lists Hyaluronic Acid as the star ingredient.
Well, as it turns out, Hyaluronic Acid benefits the skin in a refreshing way.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic Acid has an awkward sounding name that “feels” like it belongs in a science experiment, not in skincare products applied to our skin.
Surprisingly, you can find Hyaluronic Acid molecules right in your skin!
[Hyaluronic Acid] is most abundant in the skin, accounting for 50% of the total body [Hyaluronic Acid]..but it is also present in all tissues and fluids of the body.Papakonstantinou, Roth & Karakiulakis, 2012
Now pay attention to the following as it will be important a bit later.
The skin has many layers, the outermost layer (which you can physically see and touch) called epidermis and the layer right under named dermis.
The dermis has the majority of Hyaluronic Acid found in the skin.
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Within the body, Hyaluronic Acid actively:
- Create structured passages in the skin for cells, water and ion to travel and interact with its environment.
- Balance water levels and osmotic pressure of cells.
- Lubricate joints.
The first point is especially important for skincare products.
Hyaluronic acid is said to be an ultimate solution for moisture retention of the skin.Jegasothy, Zabolotniaia & Bielfeldt, 2014
In other words, this molecule attracts and holds on to a lot of water.
Substances with this water attracting ability is known as a humectant.
(Another popular humectant is glycerin)
Genetic Skin Aging
Therefore, this connection makes Hyaluronic Acid a prime ingredient in skincare products targeting wrinkles and lines.
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The problem with Hyaluronic Acid.
How Hyaluronic Acid benefits the skin has been well studied by scientists.
But when it comes to Hyaluronic Acid in skincare products, researchers discovered something interesting.
Remember that the skin has layers and the majority of Hyaluronic Acid is found in the dermis?
However, getting Hyaluronic Acid down into the right layer to receive the maximum hydrating benefit isn’t easy.
[Hyaluronic Acid] lacks the ability to permeate the skin, and when topical [Hyaluronic Acid] is applied to the skin, it remains on the skin’s surface and functions as a skin-surface moisturizer.Lubart, Yariv, Fixler & Lipovsky, 2019
Hyaluronic Acid Molecule: 3,000nm
Intracellular Space: 15 – 50nm
That’s a huge size difference.
The Future of Hyaluronic Acid Benefits.
Smaller is better when it comes to Hyaluronic Acid.
Scientists have already “reduce the size of [Hyaluronic Acid] molecules without disturbing their constituent subunit structure to a nano size (5nm), enabling the [Hyaluronic Acid] to cross the skin barrier deep into the dermal level.”Jegasothy, Zabolotniaia & Bielfeldt, 2014
Independent research found the “application of low-molecular-weight (LMW) [Hyaluronic Acid] was associated with significant reduction of wrinkle depth, which may be due to better penetration abilities of LMW [Hyaluronic Acid].”
Similarly, another group found that with the smaller Hyaluronic Acid:
- 40% reduction in wrinkle depth
- 96% improved hydration
- 55% increased elasticity & firmness
The Wrong Way to use Hyaluronic Acid
Be aware that Hyaluronic Acids amazing ability to attract water can actually dry out the skin.
Humectants are a double-edged weapon … by enhancing water absorption from the dermis into the epidermis where it is easily lost to the environment.Sethi, Kaur, Malhotra &Gambhir, 2016
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Simply put, if the environment is dry, and no moisturizer/occlusive is applied in addition to Hyaluronic Acid, a water loss cycle starts:
- Hyaluronic Acid in the dermis attracts water molecules
- The dry environment causes the water molecules to evaporate through the epidermis.
- Which frees up Hyaluronic Acid to attract new water molecules, repeating the cycle.
Hyaluronic Acid + Dry Conditions – Moisturizers or Occlusives = DRY SKIN
In conclusion, Hyaluronic Acid benefits are undeniable and only going to get better.
This skincare ingredient will continue to be a popular addition to many skincare routines!
The EASY (and cheap) guide to a solid skincare routine.
Keyword is simplicity.
- Papakonstantinou, E., Roth, M., Karakiulakis, G. (2012). Hyaluronic Acid: A key molecule in skin aging
- Jegasothy, S., Zabolotniaia, V., Bielfeldt, S. (2014). Efficacy of a New Topical Nano-hyaluronic Acid in Humans
- Pavicic, T., Gauglitz, G., Schwach-Abdellaoui, K., Malle, B., Korting, H., Farwick, M. (2011). Efficacy of Cream-Based Novel Formulations of Hyaluronic Acid of Different Molecular Weights in Anti-Wrinkle Treatment
- Lubart, R., Yariv, I., Fixler, D., Lipovsky, A. (2019). Topical Hyaluronic Acid Facial Cream with New Micronized Molecule Technology Effectively Penetrates and Improves Facial Skin Quality: Results from In-vitro, Ex-vivo, and In-vivo (Open-label) Studies
- Sethi, A., Kaur, T., Malhotra, S., Gambhir, M. (2016). Moisturizers: The Slippery Road