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Ingredients explained: Hyaluronic acid
elena lezhneva
Ingredients explained: Hyaluronic acid

Everyone who has even the smallest interest in skincare and cosmetology knows the popular ingredient called hyaluronic acid. Let's find out why hyaluronic acid is one of the main ingredients in modern cosmetology. Why is it called the No. 1 ingredient?

What is hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide from the family of glucosaminoglycans, which is an essential component of various biological structures and fluids. Despite its name, hyaluronic acid is not an acid in its domestic sense, it has no solvent or exfoliating properties, such as glycolic acid.

Hyaluronic acid is a natural component of mammalian bodies, it is present in a variety of tissues. The main amount of all hyaluronic acid is concentrated in the skin, it is located in the connective tissue of the dermis between the fibers of collagen and elastin.

The most important and valuable quality is the ability to bind and retain water. It is known that one molecule of hyaluronic acid binds 500 molecules of water. Low molecular weight forms of hyaluronic acid can increase the elasticity of the skin and partially fill the already formed wrinkles.

We are losing it. Why? 

    Over time, the process of decomposition of hyaluronic acid in the body predominates over its synthesis. Why is this happening? Strangely enough, but age doesn't play the dominant role in this process. The main reason is skin damage by UV radiation. Under the harmful effect of UV radiation, skin cells are damaged and the synthesis of hyaluronic acid is reduced.

    Other reasons for the decay are:

    • unbalanced nutrition;
    • bad habits (nicotine, alcohol);
    • strong stress;
    • age;
    • certain medicines.

    All these processes affect the skin condition negatively. It becomes dry, flabby, loses elasticity and firmness, and wrinkles appear.

    Hyaluronic acid in cosmetology 

    Hyaluronic acid has been used in cosmetology since the 80s in two ways: as a moisturizing component of cosmetics and as a filler for smoothing wrinkles, giving extra volume and correction of the shape of the lips, cheekbones and other areas of the face.

    The magic of hyaluronic acid (thanks to which it is famous throughout the world) lies in its ability to attract and retain water in a way that no other ingredient does. Its molecule contains a large amount of oxygen and hydroxyl groups, which allows it to form strong hydrogen bonds with water. Simply put, each molecule of hyaluronic acid is a tiny sponge that holds water, which makes it unique for moisturizing the skin and tissues.

    However, the beneficial properties of hyaluronic acid are not limited to just moisturizing. German dermatologists have noticed a significant reduction in wrinkles and an increase in skin elasticity when using the hyaluronic acid gel on the skin surface. Researchers at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Cosmetology in South Carolina have also proven the effectiveness of hyaluronic acid salts in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis and irritations. 

    Even more interesting is that in 1999, researchers from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Australian University of Monash investigated the ability of hyaluronic acid to penetrate the skin in mice and in humans using a radioactive label. As a result, it was proved that hyaluronic acid molecules penetrate the upper layers of the skin, and also reach the dermis, and its traces were found even in the blood. 

    We also know that it is not necessary for water-retaining components to penetrate the skin in order to moisten its upper layers. To do this, they just need to be on the surface of the skin for a long time - and this will be quite enough. 

    In recent years, scientists have developed a method for obtaining salts of hyaluronic acid - sodium hyaluronate and potassium hyaluronate. They are also sometimes called low molecular weight, or hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid. As a result, the size of the molecule is significantly reduced (up to 5 nm), which allows the substance to penetrate the skin more easily than ordinary hyaluronic acid and moisturize it at a deep level.

    Moreover, numerous studies of the ability of penetration of hyaluronic acid salts into the skin have proved: they are able to penetrate and moisturize the deep layers of the skin, and also act as a conductor for other substances.

    Hyaluronic acid

    Safety first

    Despite the fact that hyaluronic acid and its derivatives have been proven safe, in rare cases, allergy can happen. As with any other allergic reaction, all experiments in this situation should be stopped. Fortunately, hyaluronic acid is not the only water-retaining component that is added to cosmetics. Similar properties are found in glycerol, urea, AHA acid in low concentrations and some others. They are also capable of retaining water, though in a much smaller volume than hyaluronic acid, but they are also much cheaper. 

    The recommended dosage of hyaluronic acid in cosmetics is from 0.01% to 1%, and the ingredient is labeled as hyaluronic acid, glycosaminoglycan, hyaluronan or hylan. 

    An important point to consider when using a product based on hyaluronic acid is the humidity of the air. When the air humidity is low, hyaluronic acid gives an inverse moisturizing effect. The upper layers of the skin become dry, and the face looks like a cracked mask. To eliminate these unpleasant sensations, apply a moisturizing serum or nourishing cream to your face immediately after hyaluronic acid. The nourishing and moisturizing cream will create a feeling of comfort and remove unpleasant symptoms.

    Hyaluronic acid - truth and fiction

    Any miracle ingredient causes a lot of controversy and explanations, and hyaluronic acid is not an exception. Let us cover two well-established myths.

    Myth one: the large molecular weight of hyaluronic acid does not allow it to penetrate the skin.

    Partly true. However, skincare products are designed to "work" in the upper layers of the epidermis. They are not a medicine and should not penetrate the skin barrier. But the fact is that scientists have now learned to break a molecule of hyaluronic acid and create its low molecular weight forms. Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid, contained in the cream, is fully capable of penetrating the skin.

    Myth two: In winter, the use of creams with hyaluronic acid is not recommended.

    A very common misconception. Your skin should be protected at any time of the year, especially in winter, when dry air-conditioned air and hot air from the batteries in the premises contribute to dryness and dehydration of the skin. Just remember that the moisturizer should be applied half an hour before going outside. During this period of the year, it is necessary to both nourish and moisten the skin.

    Check our favorite skincare products with Hyaluronic acid below:

    3W Clinic Water Sleeping Pack

    Scinic Hyaluronic Acid 95% Ampoule

    COSRX Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence

    Mizon Bio Hyaluronic Acid Ampoule

    Mizon Original Skin Energy Hyaluronic Acid 100

    - Korean Kiwi Beauty

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