Hyaluronic Acid 101: Everything You Need to Know About This Hydration Powerhouse
With an uncanny ability to hold 1000 times its weight in water, hyaluronic acid has become one of the most buzzed about ingredients in skin care. This hydration powerhouse is showing up in everything from serums to face masks to our favorite day creams and moisturizers, and by the looks of it, its popularity shows no signs of dying down. To learn more about this popular and hydrating ingredient, we turned to Dr. Lisa Ginn, board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant. Have questions about hyaluronic acid? Allow us to answer them.
THE BENEFITS OF HYALURONIC ACID
BENEFIT #1: IT ADDS MOISTURE TO THE SKIN
“Everyone needs moisture,” Ginn says. “There are two ways of moisturizing your skin. Occlusive moisturizers pull in hydration and don’t let it out. But the newer trend in moisturizers are preparations that contain humectants. These molecules act like sponges that pull water in, in order to pull moisture over your skin like a blanket.” Our humectant of choice? Hyaluronic acid. “I love hyaluronic acid,” Ginn says. “It’s soothing to the skin, even if it’s sensitive. This potent humectant holds 1000 times its weight in water.” Ah yes, acid in the case of hyaluronic, is a misnomer. While most acids found in skin care are used as exfoliants, hyaluronic acid is a moisture-binding power player. When bound to water, hyaluronic acid takes on a viscous quality that gives many formulas a pleasing, gel-like texture. And, while most skin care products are formulated with the largest weight of hyaluronic acid, there are, in fact, three molecular weights that can be found in skin care—ranging from low to medium to large.
There are two ways of moisturizing your skin. Occlusive moisturizers pull in hydration and don’t let it out. But the newer trend in moisturizers are preparations that contain humectants. These molecules act like sponges that pull water in, in order to pull moisture over your skin like a blanket.
BENEFIT #2: IT PLUMPS THE SKIN'S APPEARANCE
Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in our skin but, as we age, it slows down its production. If you’re looking to address the signs of aging skin, moisture is key and hyaluronic acid helps to provide it in spades. What’s more, using products that are formulated with the molecule can not only help to hydrate, but also plump the appearance of our skin. According to Ginn, formulas with hyaluronic acid give you more bang for your buck when it comes to anti-aging benefits. She advises for an anti-aging skin care routine to look for creams and serums with hyaluronic acid and to use them twice a day as part of your AM and PM routines.
BENEFIT #3: IT'S SUITABLE FOR USE ON ALL SKIN TYPES
The hydrating power of hyaluronic acid can benefit all skin types…even oily. There is a misconception that oily skin types need to steer clear of moisturizers, but in fact, by doing so they can create a much greasier situation. “The more you hydrate your skin, the less oily it will be,” Ginn explains. “If you dry out your skin [by skipping moisturizers] it will just produce more oil.” Hyaluronic acid formulas are typically more lightweight and gel- or water-based, making them perfect for oily skin.
Looking to incorporate hyaluronic acid into your skin care routine? Here’s a great way to start.
SKIN CARE PRODUCTS FORMULATED WITH HYALURONIC ACID
Now that you know the benefits of hyaluronic acid, it wouldn’t surprise us if you were eager to try out products formulated with the ingredient! Below, we share a handful of our favorite products formulated with hyaluronic acid from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands.
VICHY MINERAL 89
This beloved moisturizer and daily skin booster can make the skin more resistant to environmental aggressors, including pollution and cold weather. And while the formula is rich in hyaluronic acid, it’s NOT formulated with potential irritants like parabens, silicones, fragrances, colorants, and alcohol.
Vichy Mineral 89, $29.50 MSRP
SKINCEUTICALS H.A. INTENSIFIER
Help amplify your skin’s hyaluronic acid levels with SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier. In addition to hyaluronic acid, the formula also boasts Pro-Xylane and purple rice extract, and can help renew skin plumpness, elasticity and firmness.
SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier, $98 MSRP
LA ROCHE-POSAY HYALU B5 SERUM
If wrinkles, fine lines, loss of volume and elasticity, and tired-looking skin are top concerns of yours, reach for La Roche-Posay’s Hyalu B5 Serum. The name gives it away but the formula is rich in hyaluronic acids, as well as vitamin B5 and madecassoside. As for what it can do, expect it to help plump the look of skin and replenish the skin’s moisture barrier. Upon application, the skin immediately recovers its bounce, suppleness, and healthy-fresh look.
La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Serum, $29.50 MSRP
KIEHL’S POWERFUL-STRENGTH LINE-REDUCING CONCENTRATE
This line-reducing concentrate is not only formulated with hyaluronic acid but vitamin C as well. With continued use, expect to see a visible reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, as well as a boost in skin radiance and improved texture.
VICHY LIFTACTIV VITAMIN C SERUM
Striving for skin that feels tighter and looks brighter? Vichy’s LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum is formulated with vitamin C, pine polyphenols, vitamin E, and fragmented hyaluronic acid, and can deliver a slew of results, including smoother and softer skin and a complexion that looks more even.
Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum + Hyaluronic Acid, $28.50 MSRP
L’OREAL PARIS HYDRA GENIUS DAILY LIQUID CARE –– NORMAL TO OILY SKIN
The key to healthy-looking, beautiful skin? Hydration! That’s why we encourage you to reach for this moisturizer that’s powered by aloe water and three types of hyaluronic acid. What does it do, exactly? The formula quenches the skin with moisture and locks it in. In terms of results, the skin appears radiant and luminous, in addition to feeling softer and more supple. With continued use, the skin’s texture appears smoother, fresher, healthier, and more beautiful.
Try out the rest of the Hydra Genius range, too, but first check out our full product reviews here!
SKINCEUTICALS HYDRATING B5 GEL
Formulated with vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid, SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel helps maximize the benefits of your daily moisturizer. To use, place 3 or 5 drops into the palm of your hand and apply to the face once or twice per day. Feel free to use it on areas of the skin that appear dehydrated.
SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, $82 MSRP