We all know it's not about using more products, but about selecting those that our skin needs according to our skin type (normal, dry, oily or combination) and its nature (acne-prone, sensitive, dehydrated...). Therefore, we want to give you this month-by-month guide where you can learn all about what makes the beauty world tick.
This month, let us introduce you to the most widely known and loved ingredient, hyaluronic acid! We bet that once you learn everything you need to know, it will also become one of your favourite ingredients and a must-have in your beauty bag. Want to know more? Read on...
What is hyaluronic acid or HA?
It is a component naturally found in large quantities in your body that provides lubrication and keeps skin hydrated. The aim of this ingredient is to retain moisture, as it is able to attract more than a thousand times its weight in water, yes you read that right, more than a thousand times! In our skin, HA has been shown to play a key role in cell growth, which boosts its healing and regenerative properties.
When we talk about the benefits of hyaluronic acid, we are in awe; and it is no wonder that this ingredient is one of our favourites to promote healthy looking skin.
Retains moisture: Up to 1,000 times its weight in water.
Anti-aging: One of the main causes of premature aging and loss of skin elasticity is lack of hydration, which means hyaluronic acid will help prevent the appearance of these small signs and reduce them over time.
Multiformat: It can be applied in many ways: topically, as a supplement and even injected.
Injectable in aesthetic medicine: It can be used to combat the signs of aging, giving volume to specific areas through injections. (Always by professionals!)
Compatible with you: As we naturally produce it, hyaluronic acid is compatible with our bodies and does not cause any allergic or rejection reactions, and if it is injected it dissolves over time, so no new intervention is needed to remove it.
Fast absorption: You will both need and waste less product.
Helps regeneration: Sounds good, doesn't it? We already warned you that it would become your favourite ingredient. But there's more: hyaluronic acid is also** regenerative**.
Benefits are observed in products with concentrations higher than 1% or 2%.
Is it for your skin type?
If you are looking to find out if hyaluronic acid is for you, we can tell you that there are currently no restrictions on its use.
For all ages
In addition, there is no age limit, so whether you are 20 or 50 years old, or older, hyaluronic acid will be your ally against aging and dehydration of your skin. If you are over 25 and still have no obvious signs of aging, using hyaluronic acid will help you delay the arrival of visible lines and wrinkles on your skin.
And if you have already started to notice any of the signs of aging, HA will not only smooth your complexion, but will delay skin thinning, sensitivity and help the overall appearance of your face.
For all skin types and conditions
Whether your skin type is oily, combination or dry, HA is for you! If you have sensitive skin, it does not generate intolerance, or if your skin is acne-prone, you will be able to benefit from its regenerative properties in the treatment of scars.
Recommendations: In dry environments or if you have dry skin you should apply an occlusive (moisture retaining) cream or lotion, after using the hyaluronic acid, it will act as a barrier sealing the ingredients in your skin. If you have oily skin, your skin will have enough sebum to provide this occlusive effect on its own.
Why does it work?
The benefits are unquestionably attractive, but we want you to understand why this component works.
When applied topically to the skin, it attracts water from the environment and brings it to the surface of the dermis. The moisture it attracts can come from the surrounding air or even from deeper layers of your skin. This is why hyaluronic acid is an excellent moisturiser.
HA acts at the surface level due to its molecular size (which is large), however smaller sizes also exist. These smaller sizes are able to penetrate your skin better, although they are not able to absorb as much water.
Even though the smaller HA molecules attract less water volume, they have been shown to be more effective in treating wrinkles. If this is what you’re targeting, our suggestion is to go for a product that combines both types of HA rather than one that contains only one of the two variables.
A little bit of science: Types of hyaluronic acid
In this section we want to explain in a little more detail what the sizes of hyaluronic acid molecules are, and how to identify them. So when you go to choose your HA cream, serum or toner, you will know what you are choosing for your skin.
There are 3 types of hyaluronic acid and each one is differentiated by the size of its molecules, and consequently how deeply it will penetrate our skin.
- type=waveHigh molecular weight (INCI: Sodium Hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid):
This type of hyaluronic acid is the one with the largest molecules, and therefore will penetrate your skin the least. This type of HA has mainly moisturising and protective functions against external agents.
- type=waveLow to Medium Molecular Weight (INCI: Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Sodium Butyryl Hyaluronates):
This type of HA is smaller and therefore able to penetrate into the middle layers of your skin. In this case, its main function is to promote cell regeneration, thus helping with the signs of aging.
- type=waveVery Low Molecular Weight (INCI: Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate):
This type is fragmented, i.e. it is the smallest of all, and the one that can penetrate deeper into your skin. Its function is anti-aging and is the least invasive alternative in aesthetic medicine treatments.
How to find it on beauty labels
In cosmetics, ingredient names are standardised internationally, known as INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients), to make them easily recognizable on labels.
If you look on the labels of your beauty products, you will find hyaluronic acid as:
-Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate
-Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid
-Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate
-Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer
-Sodium Butyryl Hyaluronates
What products HA can be in and how to use it
Topically, hyaluronic acid is found in many products:
-Makeup bases (for a plump effect on the skin, it will prevent makeup from cracking).
How to incorporate it into your routine:
The way you can use HA will be different depending on the type of product it is present in, and how it fits into your routine, but we have a couple of tips for you:
-Day and night: Since it has no contraindications with other products, you can use it at both times of the day.
-Best on damp skin: If it's a serum or toner (one of the first steps in your facial routine), it's best if your skin is freshly washed and somewhat damp (or even wet), so the hyaluronic acid will have water to bind to and won't need to pick it up from deeper layers of your skin. Complete your routine with your favourite moisturiser to lock in hydration.
Works well with...
-Vitamin C: an antioxidant that helps reduce dryness in your skin and protect against environmental damage.
-Vitamin B5: used to further soften and smooth the skin.
-Occlusive ingredients (so that moisture does not evaporate from the skin, in the case of dry skin) such as: