Skincare Active Ingredients

Hyaluronic acid – Complete Guide

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies. It is located in the dermis of our skin, which is responsible for aging, fine lines, wrinkles, and volume loss. The dermis consists of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid and it is located just below the epidermis. HA is produced by cells called a fibroblast.

So as time passes by, the hyaluronic acid in our skin decreases because of sun damage and smoking. So it is essential to replenish it in our skin.

Benefits of hyaluronic acid for skin:

  • It enhances the lipid barrier: Hyaluronic acid can improve the skin barrier of your skin and also repair it.
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles: Because of its moisturizing and hydrating properties, it has the ability to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Improves skin texture: Hyaluronic acid helps to improve the skin texture, tone and volume.
  • It helps to hydrate the skin: Hyaluronic acid is a humectant ( it draws moisture from the surrounding areas into your skin). Now using hyaluronic acid can be very tricky, if your living in a humid environment, hyaluronic acid can be used on the skin without applying a moisturizer.
  • If you live in a low-humidity environment, hyaluronic acid should be applied after a bath, and then apply a moisturizer of your choice. This is to prevent the dehydration of the skin because if there is no moisture in the air then it will take the moisture from the deeper layers of your skin. So it’s important to moisturize.
  • It reduces enlarged pores: Hyaluronic acid can shrink the pore size and keep it in place, doing so will result in fewer clogs and few breakouts.
  • Stimulates cell turnover: As the collagen in our body decreases, adding HA can increase and stimulate collagen.
  • It enhances other active products: HA can help the actives (Retinol, retinoic acid, Niacinamide, etc) to penetrate deeper into the epidermis.

Hyaluronic acid in the form of creams, serums, and dermal fillers.

  • HA (Hyaluronic acid) creams: The main function of hyaluronic acid is to moisturize the skin. Different companies have different formulations of their own hyaluronic acid. Most manufacturers now provide poly molecular weight ( these molecules penetrate to different depths, so the low molecular weights going to deeper layers of the epidermis and high molecular weight going to the upper part of the dermis) hyaluronic acid creams.
  • Therefore these molecules hydrate the entire part of the skin. The problem is that it cannot penetrate the dermis, the epidermis is far as it goes. It just sits on the top layer of the skin.
  • HA serums: HA serums is simply just hyaluronic acid. Companies tend to use the word serum in their product so it can be very effective and expensive too. If you have sensitive skin better to opt for a cream rather than a serum.
  • HA dermal fillers or injectables: It’s better to spend your money on dermal fillers rather than buying creams because hyaluronic acid is degraded within 24 to 36 hours. Dermal fillers will last from 6 to 24 months depending on the brand and cross-linking.  Hyaluronic acid applied to the skin will degrade within a day or two.
  • There are many types of dermal fillers consisting of hyaluronic acid.

Different weights of Hyaluronic acid:

1. High molecular weight (1000 kDa – 1500 kDa): These HA’s are instant and temporary, they are moisturizing on the superficial layer of our skin. It also reduces transepidermal water loss.

2. Low molecular weight (800 kDa – 1000 kDa): These HA’s provide hydration, wound healing abilities, reduce redness, and improve fine lines.

3. Extra-low molecular weight (80 kDa – 100 kDa): These provide more absorption into the skin with more hydrating effects. It also improves skin texture and fine lines.

4. Super-low and Ultra-low molecular weights: These provide more absorption and hydration. It may cause irritation.

The hyaluronic you want to use should be between 80,000 to 1,000,000 daltons (80 – 1,000 kDa).

Note: low molecular weight HA goes more deeper into the skin than high molecular weight HA.

Types of Hyaluronic acid:

1. Hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid: This is a low molecular weight HA. Hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid works at the surface level to smooth and hydrate.

2. Sodium hyaluronate: Sodium hyaluronate has a lower molecular weight than HA and hydrolyzed HA, so it’s more easily absorbed into pores. This helps to smooth and hydrate the deeper levels of the skin. This can make the skin look younger.

3. Sodium Acetylated hyaluronate: Sodium acetylated hyaluronate has a non-sticky feeling that can provide superb moisturizing, repair the skin barrier, improve skin elasticity, and leave skin smooth.

What can you combine HA with?

1. AHA/BHA/PHA + HA: You can combine all the hydroxy acids with hyaluronic acid. Using hydroxy acids can dry out your face and using HA can moisturize your face.

2. Vitamin C + HA: Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to fight signs of aging and it can be used to combine with HA.

3. Retinol + HA: Retinoids are also anti-aging ingredients and they can also dry out your skin. Using HA can moisturize your skin.

4. Niacinamide + HA: This is a really good combination if you have sensitive skin because of niacinamide, it has anti-inflammatory properties making it good for every skin type.

Frequently asked questions

Is Hyaluronic acid safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Hyaluronic acid is perfectly safe to use for pregnancy and breastfeeding as its naturally found in our body, just make sure to avoid applying it on the nipple area or other part of the body that can be ingested by the baby.

2. Is hyaluronic acid safe for all skin types?

Yes, hyaluronic acid is safe for all skin types including the skin of color, combination, and sensitive skin as it’s naturally found in our body. The thing with sensitive skin is to use products that are naturally formed in our body and hyaluronic acid is perfect for the skin.

3. Is hyaluronic acid vegan and cruelty-free?

There is no plant-based hyaluronic acid, but there are many companies out there making cruelty-free hyaluronic acid products like Dear, Klairs.

4. Is hyaluronic acid good for acne scars?

Yes, hyaluronic acid can help with acne scars as well as chick pox scars. These acne scars are treated with Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers (HA dermal fillers or injectables), which helps to increase collagen and elastin production.

5. Is hyaluronic acid good for pigmentation?

Hyaluronic acid does help to reduce pigmentation but only to a minimum, it needs to be combined with other actives such as retinol, niacinamide, and vitamin C as these actives are more effective at reducing pigmentation.

6. How to make Hyaluronic acid more effective?

  1. Applying hyaluronic acid to damp skin can make HA more effective. HA can absorb more on moist skin rather than dry skin.
  2. You can layer it with an occlusive moisturizer when needed.
  3. Using a humidifier at home can make HA more effective.

7. Can Hyaluronic acid be used with Rosehip oil?

Yes, hyaluronic acid can be used with rosehip oil. After you apply your hyaluronic acid, wait for 30 mins, and then apply rosehip oil.

8. Can I use hyaluronic acid with clindamycin?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to use hyaluronic acid with clindamycin as it is a humectant and a moisturizer. Clindamycin is a medical prescription that is used to treat acne and pairing it with a moisturizer like hyaluronic acid can reduce the purging effects of clindamycin.

Night routine:

  • Use a gentle cleanser
  • Apply your clindamycin gel and wash it off (depending on the instruction specified on the back of the product or consult your doctor).
  • You can then use a hyaluronic acid serum or a moisturizer containing it.

9. Can I use hyaluronic acid with epiduo?

Yes, it should be safe to use hyaluronic acid with epidou as it can act as a moisturizer and helps to reduce the purging effects of adapalene and benzoyl peroxide.

10. Can I use hyaluronic acid with duac?

Yes, it should be safe to use hyaluronic acid with duac as it is a humectant and a moisturizer. It can also help to reduce the drying and purging effects of adapalene and benzoyl peroxide.

11. Is hyaluronic acid good for perioral dermatitis?

Yes, hyaluronic acid is good for treating perioral dermatitis because of its moisturizing and hydrating properties. It can also improve and repair your skin barrier.

12. Does hyaluronic acid cause perioral dermatitis?

No, hyaluronic acid does not cause perioral dermatitis but some have said that it caused flare-ups on their skin or triggered their PD.