Hylauronic acid appears to be a very on trend ingredient. However, it’s been used in the cosmetic and beauty industry for as long as I can remember – certainly for the whole of my career – and has been a very long-term and stable ingredient.
The reason that it’s used in beauty is because it’s putting into the skin what the skin naturally should have, but loses with age, illness or imbalances. Think of it as a natural gel that gives your skin a cushioned, plumped and rounded look, but it’s also found in all cells of the body including, for example, joint capsules and in and around your delicate eye area.
It can sometimes be seen on the ingredient listing of your skincare product as HYALURONIC ACID (HA), or HYALURONAN or HYALURONATE. It’s actually a natural carbohydrate and can be made from several thousands of sugars – and it may also be described as a mucopolysacaride. The main reason that it’s used in beauty is because of the water binding qualities.
It’s one of the most hydrophilic (water-loving) ingredients in nature, and, as we all lose water with age – then wrinkles and ageing quickly follow when skin cells are not hydrated using this ingredient.
It’s often described in different densities. Some of them have better affiliation with collagen in the skin and others more for surface hydration. Some products may have a concentrated form of one type, others might have 12+ types mixed together (such as NIOD’s Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex).
As it’s a water based ingredient, you can find it in liquid serums, such as Sarah Chapman’s Skinesis Intense Hydrating Booster, or Decleor’s Hydrotenseur Anti Fatigue Eye Serum. It mixes easily so you can find it in moisturisers where it’s mixed with an oil to make an emulsion, and it can also be mixed into higher-end makeup products such as foundations and concealers to prevent them from cracking and drying on the skin.
Recent skincare developments mean you can find hyaluronic acid in high-end self-tan formulas, whereas once upon a time these brands were made purely for the performance of staining your skin brown. They now offer skincare benefits because consumers want to use them regularly, so the formulations have been updated and improved. Hyaluronic acid can be found in self-tan from James Reid, Vita Liberta and Utan among others.
The hyaluronic acid included in these products helps to prevent them from drying out your skin. You can also find them in some of the higher-end haircare brands such as Nexxus, because the hyaluronic acid is usually found in healthy hair follicles and skin tissues.
I’ve used and recommended hyaluronic acid for 30 years. I think it has hit the headlines and become trendy for two reasons. One, it’s used an injectable for people that like to have fillers which made it sound like a new wonder treatment and two, because if its wide use in the beauty and cosmetic industry.
It’s not just in prestige skincare, it’s now available in many sectors of products so has captured journalists attention. But, as a qualified skin expert I have always loved this ingredient both on my skin and on clients.
It gives very quick results, superior textures, easy acceptance and absorption into the skin and unlike many anti-ageing ingredients, which may treat the skin but have an irritating effect to try and wake up the ageing process, I have never known anyone to have an adverse reaction or not get the benefit from this ingredient as you are just putting into the skin what the skin is failing to produce for itself.