Hyaluronic acid is one of the buzziest words in skincare right now – and rightfully so. In fact, it’s the kind of product that your dermatologist is probably already using themselves.
Even if you’re already using a hyaluronic acid skin care product, you may not fully understand what this “miracle” acid is actually doing for your skin. So, let’s take a look…
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a substance that occurs naturally in your body. It’s predominantly found in your skin – where around half of your total-body hyaluronic acid lives. But it’s also found in such places as your joints, eyes, lungs, and heart.1
So what does it do for these organs?
Well, it’s mostly about hydration, lubrication, and space-filling.
Hyaluronic acid has the ability to moisturize and act like a cushion – two significant reasons why everyone is so “gaga” over it.
The skincare industry, in particular, has latched onto what HA could mean for the health of your skin, especially as you age. And research shows that they are definitely onto something.
Hyaluronic Acid For Skin Health
1. It’s a Super-Moisturizer
HA has become a popular ingredient in skincare because it’s an extremely effective humectant – or moisture-binding – ingredient.
To break it down, HA can retain more than 1,000 times its weight in water. And that means that it’s not only super-hydrating, but it’s also able to “plump up” your skin.2
Everyone starts off with significant amounts of hyaluronic acid in our bodies, which deeply moisturizes skin cells and helps give skin a firmer, more luminous look.
But here’s the bad news: As you age, your natural production of HA slows down. So while you had HA to thank for that radiant skin of your youth, you can no longer rely on it. And as aging skin becomes more dehydrated, it starts to appear more lackluster.
Thankfully, hyaluronic acid is now found in a wide range of topical skincare products aimed at delivering moisture back into your skin – no matter your age. HA does this by acting like a sponge and holding onto that water.
And taking oral HA supplements may also help. In one study, researchers found that taking HA supplements effectively increased skin moisture as well as applying it topically.3
2. It Combats the Visible Signs of Aging
When your skin holds onto more moisture, it will naturally appear plumper. And plumper skin naturally reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
In fact, one study on the effects of topical hyaluronic acid showed a significant increase in skin moisture (up to 96 percent). In addition, participants in the eight-week trial also showed a reduction in skin roughness, a decrease in the depth of wrinkles, and enhanced skin firmness and elasticity.4
Hyaluronic acid has also become a popular filler ingredient for injecting into particularly stubborn wrinkles and fine lines, and is approved by the FDA for use in a wide variety of filler products.5
3. It Can Help Repair Tissue
Because of its role in the skin matrix, HA may also help speed up the wound healing process. This is because studies have observed that the natural concentrations of HA in the body actually increase around a wound.
So when your skin is wounded, hyaluronic acid steps in to calm irritation and signal to your body that it needs help. That’s some skincare!6
Even more impressive? Studies show that using topical HA on skin wounds can significantly reduce wound size.7,8
What is Sodium Hyaluronate?
If you see the words “sodium hyaluronate” printed on a skincare product, don’t worry – it’s still the real deal. Sodium hyaluronate is simply the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, and it’s more commonly used in this form in beauty products.
Does Hyaluronic Acid Have Any Side Effects?
Hyaluronic acid doesn’t have any major side effects. In fact, it rarely causes allergic reactions.9
However, if you follow a vegan lifestyle, you may wish to dig a little deeper. Hyaluronic acid is often derived from animals – but there are a few vegan alternatives on the market.10
As you can see, hyaluronic acid should really be called “nature’s moisturizer.” And today, there are so many products on the market that incorporate this wonderfully hydrating ingredient.
So if you’re looking to boost your skin health – and add some much-needed moisture and luminosity back into your skin – hyaluronic acid may just be a great place to start.
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