In the Odalisque digital series ‘’Focus’’’, we will highlight some of the ingredients that we love and appreciate.
First out is hyaluronic acid (HA), which helps hydrate our skin and protect the skin barrier. An acid we have naturally in our body. For those of you that have oily and combination skin - don’t stop reading! HA works for you too. An interesting fact is that talking about dry skin and dehydrated skin are two different things. For example, you can have an oily skin type but have dehydrated skin - that’s one of the reasons why hyaluronic acid can be used by all skin types.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a natural polymer molecule, more recognizable by the name sugar molecule. Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in our bodies, mainly in our skin formed by our skin cells.
What does hyaluronic acid do for the skin?
The effect of hyaluronic acid is because it’s water-binding. Hyaluronic acid is like a magnet attracting water to the skin, it can bind between 1,000 and 10,000 times its weight in water. Since it’s a humectant, it can pull moisture from the atmosphere rather than layering it on top of the skin and provides intense hydration without a heavy feel. A great thing to know is that HA is not exfoliating, so for sensitive skin it’s a good ingredient which you can use day and night. A recommendation for oily skin is to not use HA during the day since the HA can make the skin feel more oily. But it works perfectly during the night, for more hydration.
However, some research (see reference below) has shown that an overuse of hyaluronic acid can result in redness and inflammation. It can even have the opposite effect, by drawing water from your skin instead of the atmosphere and product - making your skin dry. With this said, it’s important to always apply HA on damped skin. In a writing from Eucerin they state that, all skin types benefit from skincare products that contain an effective Hyaluronic Acid formula, but they are especially effective on skin that is naturally dry and from the mid-20s when the skin starts to show the first signs of aging.
So why do we need hydration for our skin? It’s simply to give our skin nourishment, smooth and limit dryness that can become irritated and limit the protection of our skin barrier.
What are the different types of Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid has different molecular weights (also known as sizes) that pass through the skin in different layers - and therefore have different effects. There are high, middle, and low molecular weights. The high molecular weight of 1000-1400 kDa, is actually unable to pass through the skin, while a low molecular weight HA of 20-300 kDa can pass the outermost layer of the skin. This means that it becomes almost impossible for HA to pass into the deeper layers of the dermis. However, the low molecules are up to 40 times smaller than the others and for this reason, can penetrate further into the epidermal layers of the skin’s own production of Hyaluronic acid. While the high molecular remains on the skin's surface and works to improve hydration in the outermost layer of the skin. Medium molecular works almost similar to the high molecular.
What else can I do to keep my skin hydrated?
To keep our skin hydrated, choosing to live a healthy lifestyle can be key. For example, sweating through exercise, using steam or being in a sauna. Not to mention, eating a balanced diet, limited alcohol consumption, giving up smoking, and getting your hours of sleep. Furthermore, sunscreens containing HA may contribute to protecting it against the harmful effects of ultraviolet irradiation, due to the possible free radical scavenging properties of HA. French brand La Roche-Posay for example has a HA serum with SPF 30 called Hyalu B5 UV Serum SPF 30 serum.
To get more expertise on additional ways to keep your skin hydrated, we asked dermatologist Sofia Ericson at Eriksbergskliniken in Stockholm, Sweden. We asked what hyaluronic acid can additionally be used for professionally: ‘’To give your skin the extra hydration boost it needs, it is beneficial to do professional facials or chemical peels at a salon or clinic. Ericson tells us that for example ‘’Microneedling is a great way to intensify the uptake of nutrition and hydration in the skin. The needles help the topical HA-serum to penetrate deeper into the skin as you cause microchannels. This also has a great anti-aging effect. A really good combination is micro-needling and skin booster, which is a HA injection. This gives you really deep hydration through all skin layers.’’
To help you include hyaluronic acid in your skincare regime. We have gathered products rich in the ingredient we love:
Dr. Dennis Gross Modeling Mask
This modeling mask is a true hydration boost. It has mainly been used by professionals as a treatment throughout the years, but has become available to take home as a premium product. Dr. Dennis Gross, is a dermatology-approved brand and has a profound range of HA products in high quality. Another boost is the ‘’Hydration boost serum’’ packed with HA, a high-concentrated serum in a water consistency that you can blend with your serum, eye cream, or apply directly to your damped face. It’s definitely a new favorite.
Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence
Cosrx is one of the biggest Korean beauty brands, and their Hyaluronic Acid essence is a great extra step in your routine. It gives a simple plump effect and of course hydrates lightly. Essence is an extra and prior step to serum in the classic 10-step beauty routine. So you can easily apply this essence which is lighter th-0-an your average serum.
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Cloud Serum
Peter Thomas Roth has an immense range of Hyaluronic acid called ‘’Water Drench’’, and the star of the line is the 75% HA serum, a gentle serum that hydrates your skin right away. Talking about Peter Thomas Roth, I need to shine a light on the ‘Water Drench’’ Cloud Cleanser, which is a gentle perfume free cleanser with HA and Cloud Cream Moisturizer - that gently moisturizes your skin up to 72 hours. Not to mention, it has an incredible light gel formula that makes it easy to apply, so you don’t stretch your skin while applying your cream, it just smooths over. Not to mention the cream has three molecular sizes of Hyaluronic Acid.
Eucerin Hyaluron Moisture Booster
A great pharmacy alternative is the Moisture Booster that gives your skin an immediate moisture boost. The light gel formula refreshes your skin routine and gives you immediate hydration. The booster has only 11 ingredients and goes straight into your skin - leaving your skin soft and smooth. Eucerin, generally, is a good option for those with very sensitive skin.
Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid
This air-whip moisturizer is high in hyaluronic acid and formulated with a superfood blend of kale, spinach, and green tea to replenish and strengthen the skin barrier. It works for both dry, combination, and oily skin and gives you a nice natural hydration boost at the end of your skincare routine. Not to mention, it’s sustainably produced. Regarding moisturizers overall, it’s always important to use a moisturizer as the last step of your skincare routine - to help lock in the hydration in your skin.
Continu Hyaluronic Acid Recovery Masque
It didn’t come to my notice that HA could be good for your hair, but I guess it can. This recovery masque is packed with apple oil, flax seed extract, and coconut oil to give your hair that extra shine - and of course HA. It's produced to continuously release hydration to your hair during the day without making it heavy. Apply it in wet hair for around 5 minutes and rinse. The masque is also 100% vegan and produced in Sweden.
If you want to read more of the science research regarding HA, read them below
Selected brand information on Hyaluronic Acid-