What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Search for skincare advice and you’ll quickly stumble onto hyaluronic acid, a naturally-occurring substance that’s used by your body for everything from wound and skin healing to inflammation. It’s abundant in your body as it repairs inflamed tissue and regrows skin. An average 154-pound person has around 15 grams of hyaluronic acid in them at any one time for healthy skin growth and development. It’s one of the most important components of healthy skin, and hyaluronic acid for skin care is a hot topic right now.
Over the last decade, hyaluronic acid has made its way from cosmetic clinics into the world of mainstream skincare, becoming one of the most popular ingredients in everything from facial creams and masks, to serums and even hyaluronic acid moisturizer.
As strange as it might seem to apply an acid to your face, there’s some scientific evidence that hyaluronic acid for skin care is legit. Most of this evidence is for hyaluronic acid as an injectable filler. There’s also some evidence that topical hyaluronic acid has benefits for your skin.
Unfortunately, like many other popular skincare ingredients, separating the reality of hyaluronic acid from the hype can be tough. Many skincare brands make misleading claims about how and why hyaluronic acid works, as well as the type of results you can expect from it.
As a consumer, knowing what’s legitimate and what isn’t can help you get the best results from hyaluronic acid, all while avoiding costly but ineffective treatments.
Below, we’ve covered everything you need to know about using hyaluronic acid for skin care; everything from the benefits and results you should expect, to side effects, dubious marketing claims and more.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Technically speaking, hyaluronic acid is an anionic, non-sulfated glycosaminoglycan. Woof, that’s a mouthful. In simpler terms, hyaluronic acid is a substance your body uses to keep your skin and connective tissue lubricated, strong and healthy.
Hyaluronic acid is naturally present inside your body, typically in quantities of approximately 10 to 20 grams, about half of which is stored inside your skin.
You can think of hyaluronic acid as an essential tool for your skin. Biologically, hyaluronic acid plays a major role in helping your skin retain moisture, making it essential for keeping your skin moisturized, strong and capable of shielding your body’s organs from the outside world. This is why many people opt for a hyaluronic acid moisturizer.
From a skincare perspective, hyaluronic acid plays several important role. By keeping your skin hydrated, it contributes to a smooth, firm and plump look. Skin that’s dehydrated and lacking in hyaluronic acid can often look washed out and less elastic.
Cosmetically, hyaluronic acid is used in two different ways. It’s an extremely popular and highly effective dermal filler, making it a mainstay of modern anti-aging treatment. But it’s also widely used as an ingredient in topical skincare products such as creams, masks and serums.
What Does Hyaluronic Acid Do?
Before we answer this question, it’s important to separate injectable hyaluronic acid (something that’s only available from a cosmetic surgeon) from topical hyaluronic acid (something you can buy at your local pharmacy or department store).
It’s also important to separate artificial hyaluronic acid (the type you’ll find in dermal fillers and topical creams) from the natural hyaluronic acid that’s produced and used by your body.
Natural hyaluronic acid is always present within your body. Within your skin, it binds to water, helping your skin to stay moist, elastic and healthy. It also plays a major role in the health of your joints, stomach and eyes.
There’s also some scientific proof that your body’s natural hyaluronic acid helps to keep your bones strong and healthy. Studies show that hyaluronic acid could potentially play a key role in helping the body produce new bone tissue.
Around half of your body’s hyaluronic acid is found in the skin. Over time, factors such as sun exposure and normal aging can reduce the amount of hyaluronic acid found within your skin, often by a significant amount.
In short, the natural hyaluronic acid produced by your body plays an important role in a wide range of different processes, from maintaining your skin to keeping your entire body working efficiently.
Is Hyaluronic Acid Worth Using?
There’s no question that hyaluronic acid is one of the latest skincare ingredient trends. It’s a popular ingredient in almost everything, from anti-aging creams, masks and serums to acne prevention washes, sunscreen and more.
Like with other scientifically-proven skincare ingredients, hyaluronic acid is worth using when it’s used right. If your goal is to reduce the visibility of facial wrinkles and moisturize your skin, using a skincare cream that contains hyaluronic acid can be a great idea.
Likewise, if you have specific lines or wrinkles that you’d like to make less obvious, hyaluronic acid-based fillers can also be a good option.
However, if your goal is to prevent acne, even out patches of skin hyperpigmentation or solve other skincare problems, there are more effective options out there. Our guide to using tretinoin for anti-aging treatment is probably a good place to start. While hyaluronic acid works well as an anti-aging treatment, it isn’t designed to solve every skincare problem.
Content from forhims Skincare Blog