Back when I was taking my esthetics course, or beauty school as some may recognize it, we had a department open house in which people were welcome to stop by and learn about the services we provided. We conducted a complimentary skin analysis and invited them to come back and experience a facial that would suit their skin needs. I remember one lady who asked me what I recommended for her combination skin to which I suggested a moisturizer or serum that contained hyaluronic acid.
The look of sheer horror she expressed followed by, “You want me to use an acid on my face?” is something I won’t forget. I quickly explained that this ingredient was nothing like the battery acid found in a car or those in chemical peels but rather an excellent way to introduce hydration into the skin- she looked relieved. Nevertheless, perhaps you’ve heard about this ingredient and thought the same thing so here’s the scoop on what makes this ingredient so coveted.
Who: Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
What it is: A glycosaminoglycan (GAG)/humectant that attracts moisture to your skin cells. It increases the water content in the epidermis by drawing moisture from surrounding air.
Where it’s found: HA is a substance that is naturally found in our bodies. It cushions and lubricates our joints, eyes and connective tissues.
Look for hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate in skincare ingredients. Popular fillers like Juvederm, Restylane and Perlane utilize HA as well.
Why it’s important: As we age, our natural production of HA declines. HA serves an important role in cell protection, lubrication and maintenance of connective tissue. It also helps retain moisture in skin since it can hold 1000 times its weight in water. Think of it like a drink of water for your skin. When your skin is dehydrated or dry, our complexion can look aged and feel tight.
How it affects the skin: HA gives turgor and elasticity to the skin. Increased water in the skin is the easiest way to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, by plumping up fine lines and wrinkles. This leads to a more youthful appearance, making it a great anti-aging treatment. Because it is not an oil, it is virtually ideal f for all skin types, including acne.
Hyaluronic acid doesn’t sound that bad now after all, right?