Hi! Today I am going to talk to you in depth about hyaluronic acid. I frequently receive messages and comments in which you ask me about the best way to use it, my favorite products, etc. and, although in my guide on acids in skincare I talk about it, I think it deserves a proper, detailed article so that you know it better.
Specifically, the topics I will discuss in this post are the following:
- What is hyaluronic acid?
- What are the functions of hyaluronic acid?
- What products can hyaluronic acid be combined with?
1. WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID?
Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan. A what? A type of molecule found naturally in our skin. In fact, 50% of our body’s hyaluronic acid is found in our skin, mainly helping it maintain its structure (it is one of the main components of that structure) and, therefore, remain elastic, firm and smooth.
Hyaluronic acid is characterized by its ability to retain water, in fact you may have read that it is capable of supporting up to 1000 times its own weight in water.
Hydrated skin is healthy skin. The outermost layer of the skin (the hydrolipidic barrier, which I discussed in more depth in this other article) is made up of water and oil emulsion. Occasionally, this hydrolipidic barrier gets unbalanced, either due to lack of water or lack of oil, which can lead to increased dryness or acne breakouts. With an effective beauty routine, we help maintain that balance and keep the skin barrier healthy.
Precisely, one of the main factors in skin aging is the loss of hydration due, among other causes to the degradation of hyaluronic acid that naturally occurs in our skin. Therefore, over the years, our skin has a greater tendency to dehydration and dryness, which makes it appear more aged. A possible solution is simple: if we provide an extra dose of hyaluronic acid (in our beauty routine, for instance), we help our skin retain its hydration and, therefore, delay its premature aging.
2. WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF HYALURONIC ACID?
As I mentioned before, one of the main functions of hyaluronic acid in the skin is the structural one. However, it has many other functions in our body, since it helps the proper functioning of the joints and even participates in tissue repair. In any case, in this article I want to focus on the usefulness of hyaluronic acid to help us maintain a healthy and hydrated skin.
When I talk about the structural function of hyaluronic acid, I mean that it helps our skin stay in place. On the one hand, it serves as a union between other types of molecules. In addition, being a humectant ingredient, its water retention capacity allows our skin to remain hydrated and, therefore, elastic and firm.
As we age, the hyaluronic acid present in our epidermis decays, while that of the dermis remains basically the same. Thus, the most superficial layer of our skin begins to degrade and lose the structure and its ability to retain water, but the deeper layers remain stable. At the same time that the hyaluronic acid of our epidermis is degraded, the same thing happens with collagen, which is another of the molecules responsible for maintaining the firmness and elasticity of our skin. This degradation of the hyaluronic acid and collagen molecules is due to internal changes (mainly at the hormonal level), but we must bear in mind that these processes are drastically accelerated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
I know that everything I just told you about skin aging sounds dramatic, but I assure you that everything can be prevented by giving our skin the care it requires. First of all, as I have repeated so many times, the best thing you can do to have a healthy, young skin is to use a good sunscreen every day. If you haven’t found yours yet, here you can take a look at my comparison on sunscreens. On the other hand, we can give our skin a good help, delaying the degradation of hyaluronic acid and collagen through the products we use in our beauty routine. Properly moisturizing our skin and providing it with actives with a well-proven effectiveness (such as hyaluronic acid itself, peptides, vitamin C or acids) we can prevent aging and ensure that our skin remains healthy for a long time.
As you can see, hyaluronic acid has a key function in skin aging. We must bear in mind that aging is something natural, we all go through it, it is inevitable. However, as I mentioned before, a hydrated skin is a healthy skin, and a healthy skin maintains its firmness for a longer time, so we can have healthier skin by providing what it needs through our skincare routines.
Finding the best hyaluronic acid serum is not always easy. There are many in the market and finding the one that best suits what you are looking for can take a long time, that’s why I shared this comparison with my favorite hyaluronic acid serums. For me, one of the best hyaluronic acid serums is this one from Hadalabo, (which you can also find on Amazon and on Olive Young) it is very effective, it has a fantastic texture and its quality-price is great. On the other hand, The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (of which you can read my full review here), which you can find on DECIEM and on Amazon, gives us a double hydration at surface and depth level that makes it very, very practical. Another good alternative is this serum from The Inkey List, which you can find on Feelunique and on Cult Beauty, and which has a wonderful, super light texture.
3. WHAT PRODUCTS CAN HYALURONIC ACID BE COMBINED WITH?
One of the questions I receive most frequently is with what other products can hyaluronic acid be combined. I understand that, at first sight, its own name may cause some doubts, since we are used to reading that certain ingredients should not be combined with acids. However, hyaluronic acid is not a common acid. It is not comparable with other ingredients such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C), glycolic acid, lactic acid or salicylic acid.
When I say that hyaluronic acid is special, I mean it can be combined with any other product. Yes, you read well, with any one. Hyaluronic acid is a very harmless ingredient, so when its combined with more problematic ingredients it will not cause unwanted reactions. For me, this is one of its main advantages, since we can incorporate it into any skincare routine, easily improving the hydration of our skin. I try to use one of the hyaluronic acid serums I previously mentioned at least once a day, making sure to help my skin retain water and, therefore, keeping it well maintained and hydrated.
As I mentioned before, hyaluronic acid is a humectant ingredient, so it helps retain the water found at an environmental level. This implies that, if our skin is especially dehydrated, certain products can cause our skin to become dehydrated when applied. One of my favorite tricks to enhance its effects is to apply it on wet skin (after a good moisturizing toner such as this Pyunkang Yul one) or to use it immediately after a good mist (like Hyggee’s), thus helping the hyaluronic acid to absorb that extra water.
I hope this article has helped you to better understand the functions of hyaluronic acid and how you can get the most out of it. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave me a comment and I will answer you as soon as possible.
If you liked reading this article and want to continue learning about your skin, you will surely like to read these other articles:
Do you want to learn to take better care of your skin? You can see an index of all my informative posts here.