What is Hyaluronic Acid? All your questions answered

Le Dew Hyaluronic Acid Serum Pumps
image by @ledew via instagram

We’ve all heard about the big hype of Hyaluronic Acid in makeup and skincare. The reality is that a lot of people have no clue what Hyaluronic (hahy-uh-loo-ron-ik) Acid is or what it does to your skin. Some people get scared when they hear the word acid especially if they’re going to be applying it to their face. Fear not, once I finish explaining what this is you’re all going to want to start using it immediately.

In fact, we all have Hyaluronic Acid with in us. It’s found naturally in our joints, eyes and skin. Our skin cells naturally produce hyaluronic acid which helps keep our skin moisturized. How you say? Think of Hyaluronic acid as a magnet that attracts water to your skin cells. Thanks to HA, our cells are able to retain as much moisture as possible which helps our skin look healthy, hydrated and plumped.

According to an article written by the Elle Beauty Team about Hyaluronic Acid, one gram of HA has the ability to hold up to six liters of water and is able to regulate moisture within the cells. That’s pretty incredible!

image by @ledew @instagram

At this point you might be asking yourself, well if this substance is already inside me and does this amazing job at keeping my skin looking fabulous, then why should I use an HA serum? Well, like all good things, nothing last forever. As we get older, the amount of hyaluronic acid our body creates depletes, which is one of the reasons our skin gets dry as we mature. And we all know how our skin looks when it’s dry…..no bueno. So now that you have an idea of what HA is, let me go into more detail and answer some general questions you might have.

  Can anyone use Hyaluronic Acid? 

Yes! Hyaluronic Acid works beautifully for any skin type, not just for people with dry skin. Even if you have oily skin, sensitive or are prone to breakouts, you can still use HA.

How will my skin benefit from using Hyaluronic Acid? 

Great question! Using HA will make your skin super hydrated which in return your skin will look more radiant, plump and super soft! It also helps diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and has antioxidant properties which helps protect your skin from pollution.

Are Hyaluronic Acid Injectables good for lip fillers ?

Yup! A lot of popular derma fillers such as Belotero, Juvederm and Restylane to name a few are HA injectables that are used to make your lips look fuller. They are also used under the eyes, the fine lines around the mouth, chin augmentation, and wrinkles.

Is Hyaluronic Acid safe to use while pregnant?

YES! You can even use it while you’re breastfeeding. Though you can’t use Hyaluronic Acid injectables, you can definitely use it in a topical form such as a serum, cream or face mask.

via GIPHY

What percentage of Hyaluronic Acid should my skincare products have to be effective?

1% is the standard, but ideally you want it to be between 1%-4%. There is no such thing as 100% pure Hyaluronic Acid (if so, it would be a powder if that were the case or really dense).

What is the difference between Hyaluronic Acid and  Sodium Hyaluronate? 

This is a very important question, I hope everyone reads this carefully. Sodium Hyaluronate is a salt that’s acquired from Hyaluronic Acid. They both help your skin the same way, except Sodium Hyaluronate has one great advantage. Because it has a much lower molecular size, your skin absorbs it more easily and is able to penetrate deeper layers. Does this mean that Sodium Hyaluronate is better than Hyaluronic Acid? Not necessarily.

According to Paula Begoun (creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare) it’s best to use moisturizers and creams that contain both Hyaluronic Acid AND Sodium Hyaluronate, that way your skin benefits on multiple levels. There are some products that contain both ingredients but since Hyaluronic Acid is more expensive, you tend to see Sodium Hyaluronate more on skincare products. She also recommends using “low molecular weight” Hyaluronic Acid. She mentions “Molecules of “regular” hyaluronic acid are larger, which explains why they remain on skin’s surface. Making hyaluronic acid smaller means it can reach a bit farther into skin’s uppermost layers for visibly enhanced results.” So make sure you read the ingredients list carefully and look for those key-words, low molecular weight, Sodium Hyaluronate and 1% to 4%.

Recommended Products?

There are a lot of great products out there. Serums are preferable and is said are absorbed better by the skin than creams. However, I love using Clinique’s Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator which has Sodium Hyaluronate to really penetrate the skin. If you’re looking for a medically graded serum that contains BOTH Hyaluronic Acid and Sodium Hyaluronate then I recommend these two products:

  • SKINMEDICA Hydrating Complex $88
SkinMedica Hyaluronic Acid Serum
  • NEOCUTIS Hyalis Hydrating Serum $70
Hyalis Hyaluronic Acid Serum


Are there any affordable Hyaluronic Acid serums that are worth trying?

Of course! I have tried some great HA serums that don’t break the bank and are super hydrating. If you’re not wanting all the bells and whistles like the ones above or might want to start with something more gentle to ease your skin to, then I recommend the follow:

  • Le Dew Baby Smooth Hyaluronic Acid Serum $24
Hyaluronic Acid Serum
*Gluten, Phthlate, and Paraben Free. Vegan Friendly*
*Cruelty Free and Vegan Friendly*
  • The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 $6.80

How do you apply Hyaluronic Acid?

It is recommended to apply any HA product on damp skin. You want to make sure you put on the serum after toner or spot treatment if you’re using one. Wait 15 minutes and then apply your eye cream, moisturizer and sunblock.

Can you use Hyaluronic Acid as a moisturizer?

This comes up alot. I don’t recommend using a serum as a moisturizer. I always suggest getting a moisturizer that has Sodium Hyaluronate in it so you can get the best use of it and let your skin fully absorb all that hydration. As I mentioned earlier, I love the Clinique Moisture Surge but there are others that are great and more affordable!

  • Clinique Moisture Surge™ 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator (75ml) $52.50
Clinique Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid
  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel $19.99
Neutrogena Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid
  • CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion $17
Drugstore Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid

Can you use a Hyaluronic Acid serum everyday?

I recommend starting to use it once a day to see how your skin is reacting to it. If after a few days you notice a good response then you can switch it to to twice a day, morning and night.

Can it be used all over your body?

If some areas in your body are in need of some hydration then go for it!

Are there any side effects to using a HA serum?

Nothing is perfect out there and some people can experience a side effect from the HA serum. The main side effect that can occur is inflammation. Please make sure you ease into it and see how your skin response to it first.

A WORD OF CAUTION! 

According to Kirbie Johnson from THE MAKEUP Youtube Show by Popsugar, if you live in a dry climate, using HA can actually dry out your skin more because if there isn’t enough humidity in the air for the hyaluronic acid to pull from, it might instead pull moisture from your skin, thus drying you out. So if you do happen to live in a dry area, I recommend not using HA serum on it’s own but instead mixed in with other ingredients like in a moisturizer.

I hope this was helpful to a lot of you. If you have more questions about HA or any other topics, leave a comment below and I’ll be more than happy to answer it to the best of my ability. Remember one size does NOT fit all so make sure you test any new skincare product you buy on the back of your hand to see if you skin likes it or not. Stay hydrated.

xo,

Pamela

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