April 17, 2024

Hyaluronic acid explained: uses, benefits, and the 20 best serums for every skin type

By applying the synthetic ingredient topically, «its restorative abilities help to boost skin’s moisture content, soothe and prevent moisture loss«, says Kate Bancroft, nurse and founder of Face the Future’s CQC-regulated Advanced Skin Clinic and online shop.

For these reasons, the beauty industry is also turning its sights to hyaluronic acid for hair.

Like most skincare products, you will see the best results if you use hyaluronic acid consistently. A useful trick to remember is that hyaluronic acid is best applied to slightly damp skin because the molecule needs moisture to work in the first place.

If you apply hyaluronic to dry skin, in a dry climate such as your heated flat in winter, you’re in danger of making your skin even more parched.

What is the best way to use hyaluronic acid?

Dr Sophie Shotter, aesthetic doctor and founder of Illuminate Skin clinics, explains: «Hyaluronic acid will draw moisture from wherever it can find it to hydrate the surface of your face, including the deeper layers of your skin if there is no humidity in the air. »

So try applying a hyaluronic serum straight out of the shower or after washing your face. Then, make sure to follow up with a moisturiser packed with emollients, such as glycerin and ceramides, to keep the hydration ‘locked in’.

This is a brilliant example of skincare layering, which – despite sounding a bit ‘pro-level beauty’ – is actually just a fancy way of saying slathering your products on in order of thinnest formulas first (hyaluronic acid qualifies) and then following up with thicker, richer products.

Should I use hyaluronic acid in the morning or night?

Kate recommends using a hyaluronic acid serum both morning and night. If you’re a die-hard fan of using the vitamin C serums by day, you’ll be pleased to know that hyaluronic acid and vitamin C complement each other when it comes to hydrating, repairing and protecting skin.

Is hyaluronic acid good for older skin?

Yes, hyaluronic acid is good for older skin, which naturally becomes drier with age. But most skin types will benefit from hyaluronic acid’s moisture-boosting properties, which is why this ingredient is included in a wide range of skincare. But Kate says dry and dehydrated skin types will notice the benefits most.

Why is it called an acid if it doesn’t exfoliate the skin?

Don’t let the name fool you. Even though it’s called an ‘acid’, hyaluronic acid is the complete opposite of glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids, and won’t exfoliate dead skin cells. The name simply derives from the enzyme that synthesises HA, called ‘hyaluronic acid synthase’.

Does hyaluronic acid remove dark spots?

No hyaluronic acid does not remove dark spots. For this you would need to invest in a glycolic acid product. Glycolic acid dissolves the ‘glue’ between dead skin cells so the abnormal patches of pigmented cells on the skin’s surface shed more quickly.

How long does it take for hyaluronic acid to work?

Whether you choose to go for ‘pure’ powdered hyaluronic acid or a serum, Kate says to opt for a product that contains a variation of high and low molecular weight hyaluronic acids. “The varying molecular weights determine how far the hyaluronic acid will penetrate the skin,” she says. “The smaller the molecule, the further the serum can travel. ”

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