What Is Hyaluronic Acid and How Can It Help Your Skin?

What Is Hyaluronic Acid and How Can It Help Your Skin?

You’ve probably seen hyaluronic acid advertised as a skincare staple. Ads promise that it will beautify your skin and give you a smoother complexion.

Hyaluronic acid, or HA, can help moisturize your skin and become an essential part of your skincare routine once you experience its benefits. But did you know it has uses beyond giving your skin a healthy glow? 

How Does Hyaluronic Acid Work?

Hyaluronic acid is a sugar that helps keep moisture locked into your skin. It works as a humectant that helps water bind with collagen so your skin retains moisture.

Since HA doesn’t work on a surface level alone, it needs a carrier to help it go beyond the first layer of your skin. Hyaluronic acid is made of large molecules, so it needs some help to penetrate the skin.

Hyaluronic acid doesn’t moisturize your skin on its own. Instead, it helps keep existing moisture in your skin. If you live in a dry place and have naturally dry skin, hyaluronic acid may dry your skin out even more. That’s why you need to use it with other moisturizers, so it has something else to absorb and use to hydrate your skin.

Once you use it, HA makes your skin look and feel younger and smoother by locking in the moisture your skin lacks. It can be especially helpful for dry or aging skin after collagen production decreases.

Where Can You Find It?

Many skincare products come with hyaluronic acid, but did you know your body also makes HA naturally? Hyaluronic acid looks like a gel, and it works to moisturize skin, lubricate joints, heal injuries, and reduce inflammation.

Since you already have it in your body, it’s safer than other chemicals you find in skincare products. It combines well with other agents, including vitamins, making it easy to work into different formulas. However, you won’t typically find it in cleansers with glycolic acid or other acids with low pH levels. These types of acids dissolve hyaluronic acid, which means you don’t get its moisturizing benefits.

You can find hyaluronic acid in tons of skincare products from lotions to serums to face masks. The way you use it depends on your specific needs, but be prepared to make it a staple in your routine.

Can You Use Too Much?

You might be tempted to use as much hyaluronic acid as you can to ward off the effects of aging. However, too much HA in your skincare routine can do more harm than good.

If you use multiple skincare products with hyaluronic acid, you might trigger its drying effects. Whether you live in a dry climate or winter’s dry air saps your skin’s moisture, HA could take even more out of it. In these situations, you might have to experiment with what works for you.

If you have several HA products in your routine, consider swapping some out or taking a break from HA altogether. You may notice less redness after a few days, which will tell you if the amount of hyaluronic acid caused the problem.

If you can’t or don’t want to cut HA from your routine, try using another moisturizer to supplement the loss of moisture. That will give the hyaluronic acid something else to absorb, so it doesn’t take away moisture your skin needs.

Sarah Wood - August 17, 2020

Harper’s Bazaar Staff. “What is Hyaluronic Acid?” Harper’s Bazaar. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/skin-care/a25573129/hyaluronic-acid-for-skin-benefits-uses/. Accessed 7 August 2020.

“7 Surprising Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid.” Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/hyaluronic-acid-benefits. Accessed 7 August 2020.

Krause, Rachel. “Is Hyaluronic Acid Making Your Dry Skin Worse?” Refinery29. https://refinery29.com/en-us/should-i-use-hyaluronic-acid. Accessed 7 August 2020.

“Hyaluronic Acid.” WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1062/hyaluronic-acid. Accessed 7 August 2020.

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