Hyaluronic acid may not be the newest or flashiest ingredient out there, but it’s tried and true and seriously good for your skin. First off, don’t let the word “acid” fool you. Hyaluronic acid isn’t harsh or skin-stripping at all. In fact, it’s the exact opposite – a powerful humectant (aka moisture-binding ingredient) that keeps skin plump and hydrated and, yes, young-looking.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide (carbohydrate) in the human body. It’s present in large amounts in the spaces between skin cells, where it provides moisture, plumpness, firmness and suppleness to the skin.
Know how a baby’s skin always looks so deliciously dewy and pillowy? It’s because babies are born with a high level of hyaluronic acid, which keeps their skin plump and smooth. Unfortunately, the amount of hyaluronic acid in skin diminishes with age, most significantly after age 40.
While you’re never going to get back that perfectly dewy baby-skin, it is possible to help restore the skin’s hyaluronic acid content and give grown-up skin a younger, fresher, more supple look. One way to do it is through hyaluronic acid fillers, which a dermatologist or plastic surgeon injects directly into sunken or wrinkled areas to plump them up.
The other way to help plump up skin is to use a serum or moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid. While it won’t give you the dramatic, instantaneous results that a hyaluronic acid filler can, you will see benefits in the form of softer, smoother, more hydrated skin.
Applied topically, it increases hydration, improves elasticity and also reverses free radical damage, so it may have some benefit in protecting from UV damage. Bonus? Hyaluronic acid is one ingredient that works across the board. Every skin type, even oily, can benefit. Look for hyaluronic acid serums and apply one alone if you have oily skin or under moisturizer if you have dry skin.