Hyaluronic Acid for Skin
Whether or not you consider yourself a skin care junkie, you’ve probably seen the words “hyaluronic acid” printed on an ingredient list or touted on a skin care product’s packaging. Lots of skin care products boast that they are infused with hyaluronic acid or will give your skin a hyaluronic acid boost. Sometimes, hyaluronic acid is even abbreviated as “HA” in phrases like “HA formula” or “Now with HA.” But why is hyaluronic acid such a popular ingredient, and what are hyaluronic acid benefits for skin? Should you search out hyaluronic acid products and incorporate the ingredient into your skin care routine? (Spoiler alert: Yes!). Discover why this ingredient seems to be everywhere, and all the benefits that make hyaluronic acid one of the most popular skin care ingredients. Ahead, we’ll learn about the definition and uses of hyaluronic acid and how best to incorporate it into your skin care routine. Get ready for some essential skin care knowledge—and for seriously moisturized skin.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is what’s known as a humectant. “Humectant” simply means it’s an ingredient substance that can help your skin retain moisture. Hyaluronic acid is a carbohydrate that already occurs naturally in the human body—it exists naturally in the spaces in between skin cells. It may contain “acid” in the name, but hyaluronic acid isn’t irritating or harsh. In fact, hyaluronic acid can help your skin appear healthy-looking and plump with moisture.
Humans are born with a certain amount of hyaluronic acid, and that number decreases with age. Products with hyaluronic acid can help us get steps closer to the appearance of that deliciously plump, hydrated skin. We may never completely get back to the smooth, round cheeks we were born with, but products with hyaluronic acid can certainly help improve the visible signs of aging and help keep skin looking supple and plump with hydration.
Hyaluronic acid may also sometimes appear on ingredient labels as “sodium hyaluronate.” You may notice that some skin care products contain both versions of HA. Each of the two versions can work in a similar way to help enrich your skin and amp up its moisture levels.
Now that you know the basic science behind hyaluronic acid, let’s learn how this incredibly popular ingredient is harnessed in key skin care products.
What is Hyaluronic Acid Used For?
Hyaluronic acid can be used to help increase surface skin hydration and help maintain healthy-looking skin. “Hyaluronic acid is one of my favorite ingredients,” says Shani Darden, Garnier consultant and celebrity esthetician. “Formulas with hyaluronic acid can help hydrate skin and make skin appear smoother and softer,” says Darden.
Because hyaluronic acid retains moisture so well, it’s often used in anti-aging products to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The younger we are, the more naturally-occurring hyaluronic acid can be found in our skin. As this quantity diminishes over time, products formulated with hyaluronic acid can help moisturize and hydrate skin, which in turn helps it look supple and youthful.
Since hyaluronic acid is a humectant, it is also used in many moisturizers to help maintain the skin’s moisture barrier and help keep skin nourished with hydration. Ultimately, hyaluronic acid is only one of the building blocks of a great skin care product, but it’s a good one. That means you should try to work skin care products with hyaluronic acid into your skin care routine!
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get the benefits of hyaluronic acid. That’s where topical products and a well thought-out skin care routine comes in.
How to Use Hyaluronic Acid in Your Skin Care Routine
Now that hyaluronic acid is on your radar, you’ll begin to notice it in the formulas of many of your skin care products. But if you’re looking to build a routine, it helps to know where to look for hyaluronic acid skin care. “Hyaluronic acid is often found in a variety of products from makeup to skincare, but it is most commonly found in serums, sheet masks, and moisturizers,” says Darden. That’s because face serums, sheet masks and moisturizers can help keep your skin nourished with hydration. Whether it’s in the formula of a moisturizer or a face mask, hyaluronic acid works the same way.
If you are looking to increase surface skin moisture levels, look for skin care products formulated with “hyaluronic acid” or “HA” on the label. First, start with a moisturizer. Moisturizer is one of the most essential products in a skin care regimen. Even if you have oily skin, it’s fundamental to help keep skin nourished through a topical moisture application. Opt for a moisturizer formulated with broad-spectrum sun production and hyaluronic acid and you’re well on your way to skin that looks youthful and feels smooth and nourished. Moisturizer should be typically applied twice daily; once after cleansing your face in the morning and another (again, after cleansing) before going to bed in the evening., Applying your moisturizer immediately after washing your face can help seal in moisture, and be sure to pat skin dry instead of rubbing. For best results, follow the directions printed on your product’s packaging.
Face moisturizers with hyaluronic acid aren’t the only way to incorporate this ingredient into your skin care routine. You know the thin skin under your eyes that may occasionally look saggy? An eye cream with hyaluronic acid can help plump the area with hydration. Bonus: eye creams can feel cooling on the skin and help reduce the swelling and puffiness that can be so common under the eyes.
Before bed every night, you should be following up your cleansing with a night cream. Often thicker in texture than a daily moisturizer, a night cream can help nourish your skin while you sleep. Look for a night cream formulated with hyaluronic acid to help your skin look refreshed and soothed when you wake up.
Hyaluronic acid-infused sheet masks can help give your skin the appearance of plumpness. Generally, to use a sheet mask, cleanse your face as normal and pat dry. Then fit the sheet mask to the contours of your face and wait for the amount of time that it states on your product packaging—generally about ten to fifteen minutes—allowing the hyaluronic acid serum time to be absorbed into your skin. (This is a great time to transform your home into a mini-spa and take the few minutes to yourself to paint your nails or read a magazine!) When time is up, remove the face mask and gently pat the remaining serum into your skin. You can look for a face mask that contains hyaluronic acid among other ingredients beneficial for your skin type.
Even some makeup may contain hyaluronic acid to help benefit the skin even while it’s working to help cover up skin imperfections. BB cream is known for being a marriage of skin care and makeup; it’s a tinted product that works to help smooth the look of your skin.
It may seem like it’s possible to use hyaluronic acid in every single one of the products in your skin care routine. That’s because it is! Skin care products with ingredients like green tea and charcoal are more recently trending additions to the skin care market. Hyaluronic acid may not be as eye-catching an ingredient as charcoal, but it has proven itself to be beneficial to skin time and time again—and unlike trending skin care ingredients, it isn’t going away anytime soon. Darden echoes this same sentiment by boasting that “It can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water” and that “Hyaluronic acid is one of the most popular ingredients in skincare.”
Can All Skin Types Use Products With Hyaluronic Acid?
With so many skin care products boasting hyaluronic acid in their formulas, it’s easy to wonder if your skin can suffer from too much hyaluronic acid. Is it a bad idea to incorporate hyaluronic acid into multiple skin care products in your routine? Also, you may be wondering whether or not products with hyaluronic acid will be beneficial for your specific skin type.
“It doesn’t matter the skin type as anyone with dry to oily skin can benefit from this ingredient. Just be sure you’re using skin care products that are suited for your skin type so they won’t cause congestion,” says Darden. Unlike some products and ingredients that are only beneficial for a specific skin type, hyaluronic acid can be helpful to all skin types. If you’re a dry skin type, a moisturizing product infused with hyaluronic acid can help with dryness. According to the American Academy for Dermatology (AAD), hyaluronic acid is one of the top ingredients dry skin sufferers should turn to. (Others include mineral oil, glycerin, and lanolin.) Hyaluronic acid is known to be gentle, so even sensitive and easily irritated skin types can use it. To be extra careful though, always refer to your skin care product’s packaging before trying a new product and consult with your dermatologist.
Now that you know what this key skin care ingredient means, you’re well on your way to becoming a label-scouring ingredient pro. Get ready to start the skin care routine that’s perfectly formulated to you with your newfound skin care knowledge.