I’m glad to have discovered this unicorn magical ingredient a while back, it’s known as ‘Hyaluronic Acid’. Luckily enough, it caters towards people with dry or dehydrated skin, and oily or combination skin too. All skin types can benefit from this well marketed ingredient.
What is Hyaluronic Acid (HA)?
Hyaluronic Acid is naturally found within our bodies, especially the skin. It retains moisture and hence is termed as a humectant in the beauty industry. It does not exfoliate like other acids (salicylic), in fact it behaves like a soft cushioning for the skin.
How does it help the skin?
So many people rave about how it keeps the skin supple and soft with a minor plump effect (improved elasticity), without the feeling of grease or oily film. I’ve watched esthetician product break-down videos where they talk about HA being a great anti-aging or even moist-fully tightening ingredient. Not to mention that a lot of people have experienced an improvement in the skin’s healing and protective barrier functions! But remember, there are different formulations out there; some might have more HA, whilst other products might have barely enough of the ingredient to nourish your skin. Look out for the detailed list behind boxes, the usual case it that primary ingredients are in the highest quantity within a particular product.
To sum it all up, Hyaluronic Acid keeps the skin hydrated and diminishes fine lines/wrinkles (but it does not counter them like Retinoid, it is not strong and sensitizing like Retin-A), most importantly it helps strengthen the moisture barrier. Plus it gives the skin a healthy appearance and is a great ingredient for dry or aging skin that lacks that lustrous moisture or needs a plump effect. Overall it caters to health, hydration and might even help with anti-aging (there is controversy with this one, because many experts claim it only reduces the appearance of fine lines if topically applied, to get the true anti-aging effect it must be injected in the skin through dermal fillers).
You can find numerous varieties of products that label themselves as ‘hydrating’ wizards with HA being their key ingredient. It’s easy to figure out the concentration because it is usually written out in percentage, for instance 1% or 2%. Otherwise you can always look for the word ‘hyaluronate’ in the ingredients list. I have a personal liking for korean sheet-masks that include sodium hyaluronate because they’re very hydrating and soothing.
The other side ‘not so magical’ side of Hyaluronic Acid
As discussed previously, HA locks in moisture or draws moisture from the environment to keep the skin moist, however it has been known to tighten or even dry out skin sometimes. Either, because there is no moisture in the environment (weather/season/surroundings), or also because it’s drawing moisture from within the skin to maintain the upper layer with hydration. To be really honest, I’ve read so many different views on this particular ingredient that it can boil down to mixed feedback from people. It works for some, but it doesn’t really help others. It’s best to ask a dermatologist or skincare expert about the inner working of this ingredient and how it reacts in different atmospheres. I’m still in the learning process of understanding how HA functions and which products work well for me and which don’t, so bear with me if some of this sounds off.
My two cents on products with Hyaluronic Acid
Lots of Korean sheet-masks that claim to have hyaluronic acid work wonderfully, and I’ve also grown fond of ‘The Saem Power Ampoule Hyaluronic Acid 5′. The latter product has been amazing in retaining moisture, keeping the skin soothed and plump.
I bought it from a Pakistani page that sells Korean brands, known as ‘@theskinmasquerade’, you can find it on Facebook and Instagram. I first fell in love with HA when I bought the Japanese ‘Hadalobo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Lotion’, it has a watery consistency and does a great job at hydrating the skin temporarily. I use it as a toner due to dry and sensitive skin, and I diligently used this past the age of twenty five since I noticed that certain products didn’t suit my skin or made it react.
Luckily, Hadalobo was a soothing and hydrating product which I stick by. These products with HA worked out for me, however others weren’t as effective, for instance the Deciem ‘The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid + B5’. Europe and the rest of the world has been going nuts over Deciem but this particular product just didn’t do it for me, and left my skin feeling tight and dry.
Skincare is a gradual journey. It’s like spiritual and mental awakening; we learn something new each day. Every time something goes wrong or doesn’t suit my skin, I find out more about skincare, aging and how the skin differently reacts as we age. It’s always a work in progress. Good luck in finding your holy grail product with Hyaluronic Acid!
Houda is a skincare junkie who spends her time reading up on ingredients and upcoming products. She shares her reviews on Instagram and this blog. You might come across occasional pictures of her ‘dog’ best friend posing alongside human skincare products, because why not!