There's a bunch of ingredients in the skincare space that have garnered a lot of attention recently and wormed their way into every skincare junkie's vocabulary. And then there's hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid for skin isn't a new phenomenon, but people have just started taking note of it — and you best believe that it's here to say. I too, personally, have been an ardent user of hyaluronic acid for skin. I stumbled across the ingredient when I was doing my monthly skincare purchases (read: when my paycheque had freshly been deposited), and having read about it on skincare blogs, I was definitely intrigued.
And live up to the hype, it did! There's really no better way to put it, but with regular use, my skin started looking more glowy and plumper than it normally would, which was a miracle considering the fact that I spend most of my day in an air-conditioned space, and in front of a screen. However, a few questions started going around in my head — was it just me, or did everyone believe the hype? Were there more benefits that I wasn't aware of? Were there any negatives to it? And what is hyaluronic acid, anyway? I reached out to Dr. Monisha Aravind, a renowned aesthetic dermatologist and cosmetologist, and did a little digging of my own to figure out a complete guide to hyaluronic acid for skin.
- What is hyaluronic acid?
- Benefits of hyaluronic acid for skin
- 1. It promotes skin hydration
- 2. It works as a humectant
- 3. It enhances the skin barrier
- 4. It smoothens the skin texture
- 5. It reduces the visibility of wrinkles
- 6. It speeds up wound repair
- Any disadvantages to using hyaluronic acid
- Is hyaluronic acid worth to use for skin
What is hyaluronic acid?
First off, let's understand what hyaluronic acid actually is. Also known as hyaluronan, it's a clear, gooey substance that's naturally produced by the body. As Dr. Monisha Aravind puts it, "Hyaluronic acid is a component that's actually found within the skin, in the extracellular matrix which is the deep dermal layer. It gives you good hydration, is a fantastic antioxidant, and also takes care of ageing." Hyaluronic acid isn't an acid either, contrary to popular belief. It's a sugar molecule that naturally occurs in the skin and helps bind water to collagen, trapping it in the skin in the process. This makes the skin look dewier, plumper, and more hydrated.
Plus, it's been around in skincare for decades! "Hyaluronic acid has existed for a really long time in skincare, but it's been hyped recently because everyone has been talking about active ingredients, and that's where the buzz is coming from," elaborates Dr. Aravind. And you best believe that hyaluronic acid for skin is chock-full of benefits and goodness, which has made it such a superhero ingredient. Read on for the benefits of hyaluronic acid for skin.
Benefits of hyaluronic acid for skin
1. It promotes skin hydration
By penetrating the skin and binding water to skin cells, even topically applying hyaluronic acid is like taking a big gulp of water for your skin. The ingredient manages to infuse all layers of the skin with rejuvenating moisture, since it can hold upto 1000 times its weight in water. And this works really well for drier, more mature skin too! As we age, our bodies produce less hyaluronic acid, so adding it topically can make a huge impact on older skin.
2. It works as a humectant
ICYDK, hyaluronic acid is a humectant ingredient. What humectants do, is that they draw external moisture into the skin when applied and absorbed by the skin. This allows a hyaluronic acid moisturiser, for instance, to penetrate into the skin properly and boost the natural moisture content. Plus, this means it retains the moisture too! This is the easiest way to cop glowing skin.
3. It enhances the skin barrier
Annoying fact about everyday life — just casually going about your day can destroy your skin barrier, thanks to external environmental factors. And as we age, the lipid barrier of our skin slows down, and everything from UV rays to environmental pollution can cause damage. Thankfully, hyaluronic acid fortifies the skin's natural barrier, and over time, can help slow down the deterioration of the skin barrier.
4. It smoothens the skin texture
Have you ever dreamt of having perfect, almost untextured skin that looks airbrushed? Join the club! Hyaluronic acid's here to save the day; hyaluronic acid can make the skin appear tighter and smoother by filling the skin with moisture. While it won't replace the elastin in your skin, it can definitely make the face feel firmer with younger, plumper-looking skin.
5. It reduces the visibility of wrinkles
Did we mention the anti-ageing benefits of hyaluronic acid? Since the skin isn't busy fighting for more hydration, it can focus on producing more skin cells that contribute to reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Dr. Aravind explains, "Hyaluronic acid not only protects your skin from external factors, but internal factors like ageing too. It's a beautiful ingredient for repairing the skin and keeping it looking youthful."
Hyaluronic acid manages to plump up the skin by promoting cell generation, and you'll be sure to have wrinkle-free skin in no time if you use it regularly. It truly is the ingredient for all ages!
6. It speeds up wound repair
If you've scratched that pimple on your face to no end, or have random wounds that refuse to leave, hyaluronic acid has got you covered. By regulating inflammation levels and signalling the body to build more blood vessels in the damaged area, hyaluronic acid is a miracle ingredient that speeds up wound healing. Plus, it's got antibacterial properties that reduce the risk of infection when directly applied to open wounds. We call this one a total win!
Any disadvantages to using hyaluronic acid
With so many pros, though, we're left to wonder — are there any disadvantages to hyaluronic acid? The good news is, no! "Since it's a component that's found in your skin, there aren't really any disadvantages to hyaluronic acid," adds Dr. Aravind, "It can be used by anyone who wants plumper, healthier skin that glows." The only rule here that you need to be sure of is that your hyaluronic acid product contains a concentration lesser than 2%. This is because anything more than that can carry other unwanted ingredients, chemicals and bacteria into the skin, and if your skin is compromised in any way, this might mean bad news.
Thankfully, though, most (if not all) hyaluronic acid products for skin contain less than that concentration, so as long as you're not experimenting with creating hyaluronic acid for skin by yourself (which, please don't) you're good to go!
Is hyaluronic acid worth to use for skin
So, finally, is hyaluronic acid for skin worth the hype? The answer to this is a vehement yes! Hyaluronic acid is a lightweight, watery ingredient that fully hydrates the skin, plumps up the skin, and easily penetrates the skin when applied topically. Says Dr. Aravind,
"Hyaluronic acid for skin is definitely worth the hype. Anyone starting from the age of twenty can use it, and it's a beautiful ingredient that will maintain your skin for a really long time. And the best part is — you don't have to remove it from your routine at all!"