Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient in lots of skincare products – but what is it and why do so many skincare experts think it’s so bloomin’ wonderful?

In this article we’re going to tell you all you need to know about this super substance and explore whether there are any downsides you should know about.

What is hyaluronic acid?

The first thing to say is, don’t let the word ‘acid’ put you off; it’s actually a sugar that occurs naturally in our skin.

Your next question might be, ‘How do you pronounce it?’

The answer to that is higher-loo-ron-ick. Let’s just call it HA for short in the rest of this article, shall we?

So, the HA in our bodies is amazing stuff. It can hold a thousand times its own weight in water, which means that it can stop the moisture in our skins evaporating into the air and leaving us with dehydrated skin.

The HA you find in skincare serums, face masks, creams and even injectables is a synthetic version but still effective at keeping skin plump, soft and hydrated when used correctly.

Why do we need HA if it’s naturally in our skin?

Well, sadly, as we get older, the natural level of HA in our skin reduces, as does collagen and elastin. The result is that skin gets more parched and lines start to form.

Technically speaking, ‘dry’ skin is skin that’s lacking in natural oils. Skin that’s lacking in moisture is called ‘dehydrated’, and that’s where HA helps. Our skin is made up of a whopping 64% water and that’s one of the reasons why we’re always being told to drink lots of water every day. It can really help our skin to stay well-hydrated, especially if we’re spending time in rooms with lots of air conditioning or heating and drinking a bit too much caffeine. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and veggies, which are rich in water, will also help your natural hydration levels.

What does HA in skincare products do to our skins?

When you put HA on your skin, it brings moisture to the surface – so that’s why it’s important to drink lots of water so that there are reserves for it to draw on. It can make your skin look younger and ‘dewy’ because it improves the skins’ elasticity; its ability to bounce back.

Are there any drawbacks to HA skin products?

The best results can usually be achieved by applying HA serum and following it straight up with a moisturiser to keep the hydration locked in. Without this, there is a danger that HA can actually make your skin drier by drawing up the water from the deeper layers of your skin.

The molecule size of the HA is important. In its natural form, our HA has big molecules and it’s concentrated in the lower layers of the skin. When it’s manufactured, it’s possible to alter the size of the molecules.

The smaller the molecule size, the more easily it is absorbed by the skin.

Firstly, high molecular weight HA hydrates the surface and the upper layers of the skin, retaining moisture, stopping dehydration and making skin look fresher.

Next, medium molecular weight HA works in the top three layers of skin, called the epidermis, and it can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making skin look smoother.

Finally, low molecular weight HA is absorbed by the skin the best of all allowing it to rehydrate the lower layers of skin, making skin firm and more elastic.

So, when you’re choosing a serum, look for one that has a mixture of high and low molecular weight HAs.

DON’T mix and match multiple products containing HA or you will run the risk of getting dry, irritated and red skin.

How can Avance Clinic help?

The key to having the best complexion possible, is to get a tailored regime that suits your unique skin. No two people are alike and neither is their skin. A consultation with one of our AlumierMD skincare professionals will help you find the best, high-quality HA products for you. We can also advise you how to use them correctly for the best results.​