Hyaluronic Acid Ampoules vs. Hyaluronic Acid Serum — What’s the Difference? A Chemist Weighs In
Our skin-care routine is no stranger to hyaluronic acid (H.A.). This hydrating ingredient is known for holding one thousand times its weight in water, which can help quench parched skin no matter , whether you’re dry, oily or somewhere in between. “Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring molecule, and as we age, the levels drop down, resulting as one of the culprits of wrinkles and aging skin,” says L’Oréal Paris Scientific Communications Vice President, Rocio Rivera, PhD. “The good news is that you can apply it topically.” (to read about all the hyaluronic acid serums we’ve gotten hooked on over the past few years.) But a new hyaluronic acid format recently hit our radars: the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.9% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Replumping Ampoules, and because we love the ingredient so much, we knew we needed to learn more. Ahead, we chatted with Rivera to find out what these ampoules are and how they compare to their H.A. serum counterparts.
What Does It Take to Create a Potent H.A. Formula?
Before we delve into the ampoules specifically, Rivera breaks down what it takes to create a hyaluronic acid formula to begin with. She explains that hyaluronic acid is a very large molecule, so it’s important that H.A. formulas are not only strong enough to work on the outer layer texture of the skin, but that they have the ability to penetrate deeply as well. “While you want this big molecule because it has an immediate effect on the outermost layers of skin (of plumping and hydration), you also want that molecule to be able to go inside the skin.” Achieving that feat is one of the reasons the L’Oréal Paris 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum has been so popular, and the same principles guided the development of the ampoules.
Rivera notes that ampoules are an easy way to apply hyaluronic acid in one shot, without having to worry about applying too much or too little product. “Ampoules are new in the U.S., but this is a format that’s always been used in Europe,” says Rivera. “They’re premeasured, which is beneficial because if you use too much hyaluronic acid, it can peel on the skin and that’s not a pleasurable experience.”
The method of using the H.A. ampoule is unique. “You crack open the top, use half of it in the morning and invert the top to close the ampoule, and then you can use the rest at night,” Rivera explains. The set, which retails for $24.99 (MSRP) comes with seven individual ampoules, intended to be used 14 times over a full week period.
What Makes the L’Oréal Paris Hyaluronic Acid Ampoules Different From the L’Oréal Paris Hyaluronic Acid Serum?
As far as what really makes H.A ampoules different from the serum, Rivera says it all comes down to the percentage of hyaluronic acid in each one and the method of use. “The threshold for H.A skin absorption is about 2%, so we created the serum with 1.5%, and the ampoules have 1.9%,” she says. L’Oreal chemists worked to get the ampoule formula as close to the 2% threshold as possible in order for them to show the greatest results after the seven-day usage period.
As far as the possibility of using both the H.A ampoules and an H.A serum in tandem, Rivera says you can — but with a caveat. “Sometimes people substitute the ampoules for the serum,” she says. “They use the ampoules for a while and then use the serum, but it is possible to use both, as long as you’re not surpassing that threshold of 2%.”
To ensure you’re getting the maximum benefit without overdoing it, Rivera suggests applying the ampoules and serum at different times throughout the day, but never together. “I like to apply the serum in the morning and the ampoules at night, especially because I use a retinol at night. This helps my skin from getting flakey or irritated. When I wake up, I notice radiant looking skin.”
Whether you’re just beginning to incorporate hyaluronic acid into your routine for the first time, or you’re an H.A serum junkie, the ampoules are one way to provide your skin with next-level hydration.
Photo Credit: Chaunte Vaughn