Hyaluronic acid (also known as hyaluronan or hyaluronate) is a large sugar molecule that is found naturally in our bodies. It is a key component of connective tissue and provides cushioning and lubrication for our joints and eyes. The largest quantities are found in our skin. It has an incredible ability to retain moisture and can bind over 1,000 times its weight in water! As we age our bodies slowly produce less and less hyaluronic acid which translates to dehydrated, dull, lackluster skin. I want youthful bouncy skin. So, can I just put hyaluronic acid on my skin and make it youthful and bouncy?
Hyaluronic acid is very successful as an injectable facial filler to treat wrinkles and to replace lost volume. It acts like a sponge and swells to plump up wrinkles. The hyaluronic acid filler gets slowly broken down by our bodies so you will need future injections to maintain that plumped look. The good news is that it lasts from 4 to 6 months with some thicker fillers lasting up to 9 months. And, if you don’t like the way it looks it can be easily reversed. Also good news, allergic reactions are rare since it is something our bodies produce naturally anyway. It is, however, expensive with a cost of up to $750 per syringe and most people need more than one syringe.
So, back to the question of can I just put hyaluronic acid on my skin and make it youthful and bouncy? Not really. Our skin is designed to act as a barrier; to keep potentially harmful things out. Hyaluronic acid is just too big to pass into the deeper layers of skin to have any effect on lines and wrinkles. Remember how hyaluronic acid can bind over 1,000 times its weight in water? Well, when applied to our skin it attracts moisture from the air and forms a barrier. This temporarily causes a smoothing effect which makes lines and wrinkles appear less visible. It is in essence, a moisturizer. The benefit is that it does not clog pores so it won’t cause breakouts.
If you want to use hyaluronic acid, it is recommended that you use it in humid environments. The reasoning behind this is that hyaluronic acid attracts moisture and if it cannot obtain it from the air it will pull it from the deeper layers of the skin. We want hydrated, dewy skin not dehydrated, wrinkled skin. Another option is to look for sodium hyaluronate in the ingredients instead of hyaluronic acid. It is a more stable form and won’t draw moisture from the deeper layers of skin if used in dry environments.
I look for and am more likely to purchase products if they contain sodium hyaluronate. I like the added moisture and the light texture.
When purchasing hyaluronic acid or any other skin care product it pays to look around. Sometimes skin care products can be very expensive and a higher price does not necessarily mean it will work any better than one at a lower price point. I am always on the look-out for a good deal so I shop with several different retailers. If I purchase from an online retailer I want free shipping. I also look for discounts and/or free products. I received a free full size bottle of Replenix Hyaluronic Acid Serum (priced at $73) from a retailer for purchasing products I was already going to buy.