What Does Hyaluronic Acid Do for the Skin?

1. What is hyaluronic acid?

2. Who should use hyaluronic acid?

a. Hyaluronic acid: Skin hydration booster

b. Hyaluronic acid: Anti-aging

c. Hyaluronic acid: Eyes

d. Hyaluronic acid: Safe for acne-prone skin



This seasoned skincare ingredient is the secret to bestowing complexions with dewy, hydrated skin. For years, hyaluronic acid has been found in just about every notable moisturizing product and serum, but recently, product development innovations have enhanced the ingredient’s efficacy and brought hyaluronic acid to the forefront once again.


Hyaluronic acid (also known as HA) is critical in maintaining skin hydration, says Dr. Sonya Abdulla, a Toronto based dermatologist. But hyaluronic acid does so much more than boost skin’s moisture levels. Here, the doctor explains what hyaluronic acid is and how it can benefit our skin.



1. What is hyaluronic acid?

 
Dr. Sonya Abdulla

Although it does have acid in its name, it’s very different from glycolic or lactic acid, both of which stimulate exfoliation and induce shedding of the outermost layer of dead cells. “Hyaluronic acid is a mucopolysaccharide (sugar molecule) found in the upper and deep levels of the dermis,” says Abdulla. “Along with collagen and elastin, it provides structure and function to the skin.”

Hyaluronic acid is a clear, gooey substance that naturally occurs in the body, with the largest amounts found in skin, connective tissue and eyes. One of its main functions is to help maintain skin elasticity. In fact, it’s produced by fibroblasts, the same cells that make collagen. Although our body makes hyaluronic acid, production slows to a crawl as we age—it typically starts to get sluggish after the age of 30.

Hyaluronic acid is also a humectant, which means it draws moisture from the deepest layers of the skin to the surface, improving its appearance and feel. “Hyaluronic acid acts as a molecular sponge absorbing up to 1,000 times its molecular weight in water,” says Abdulla. Imagine a wet sponge steadily feeding the skin with moisture throughout the day. Essentially that’s what it’s doing, keeping your skin looking fresh by improving the skin’s texture and smoothing fine lines.



2. Who should use hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid works for every skin type—especially in serum form, where it can be effectively delivered to the skin and more easily absorbed.


a. Hyaluronic acid: Skin hydration booster

 
Mineral 89 Booster

If you have dry, dehydrated or mature skin, look to add hyaluronic acid to your skincare routine. In order to reap its benefits, hyaluronic acid is best paired with other sources of hydration, allowing it to drive moisture where it is needed. The most effective way to see results: Apply a hyaluronic acid serum to damp skin and then add a moisturizer overtop. The reason? “In order to maximize its benefits, it requires basic hydration levels to pull water into the area,” says Abdulla.


Boost your moisture levels with a hyaluronic acid serum, applied under a hyaluronic acid daily moisturizer. Vichy Minéral 89 has a fresh, gel-like texture and is made with just 11 ingredients, although the stars of the formulation are Vichy Mineralizing Thermal Water, to help improve the skin’s barrier function, and hyaluronic acid, which helps to hydrate and plump the skin. Next, smooth on a hyaluronic acid serum, applied under a hydrating moisturizer, try Vichy’s Aqualia Thermal Light Cream. Hyaluronic acid is a key ingredient, as are glycerine, sodium PCA and mannose, a sugar that functions as a humectant.


b. Hyaluronic acid: Anti-aging

As we age, our natural levels of hyaluronic acid slowly deplete, leading to dull skin, loss of resilience and deepening wrinkles. While we can’t replace the hyaluronic acid we’ve lost with skincare alone, it can be supplemented with a serum to hydrate fine lines and smooth their appearance. To further enhance the benefits of your hyaluronic acid serum, look to pair it with other powerful anti-aging actives, like vitamin C. Vichy’s Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid serum is packed with 15% pure vitamin C and fragmented hyaluronic acid. This is a type of hyaluronic acid that is formulated using a lower molecular weight and size that’s able to penetrate deeply and to drive skin hydration where you need it most.


Another option is a straight up hyaluronic acid serum. Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 Supreme is a hydrating anti-wrinkle serum that uses Rhamnose, a naturally derived plant sugar that stimulates the papillary dermis, causing it to produce new skin cells, including collagen. It also has hyaluronic acid to visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles—including crow’s feet, forehead wrinkles and sagging neck wrinkles.


c. Hyaluronic acid: Eyes

Hyaluronic acid can also do wonders for plumping up under-eye wrinkles. Minéral 89 Eyes stimulates antioxidant defences and reinforces its integrity by stimulating cell regeneration and improving the skin’s barrier function.


d. Hyaluronic acid: Safe for acne-prone skin

 
hyaluronic mask

There’s the misconception that people who suffer from acne should steer clear of hydrating or moisturizing ingredients. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Oily and acne-prone skin can suffer from dehydration which can trigger further sebum production and breakouts. If using a daily hyaluronic acid serum is too intimidating, start with a hyaluronic acid face mask, once a week. Mask application is typically recommended in the evening to allow the skin to absorb the active ingredients undisrupted. Take the extra five minutes, to get glowing skin with Vichy LiftActiv Hyalu Mask. It delivers low-weight (fights aging) and high-weight (plumps skin) hyaluronic acid.


However, if you’re looking for a daily hyaluronic acid for acne scars try Vichy Minéral 89. This serum will hydrate the skin without clogging pores. Not to mention it hydrates and plumps up the skin. Another option is to get hyaluronic acid dermal filler applied by a trusted cosmetic dermatologist. These hyaluronic acid injectables plump up indented scars and acne-pitted skin. The downside is that the treatment needs to be repeated (every six months) to maintain the outward results.

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