A Beginner's Guide To Hyaluronic Acid

Say hello to glowy, healthy, youthful skin.

It sounds scary, but secretly holds the key to smooth, flawless and hydrated skin.

If you aren't using a product with hyaluronic acid already, now's the time to start: The powerful ingredient can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, meaning it blasts even the most dehydrated complexions with moisture. Often referred to as HA for short, the molecule is a naturally-occurring substance in the skin — a group of carbohydrates that work to help maintain its elasticity. It's what's known as a "humectant," meaning it works like a sponge to help skin retain water and leave it plump and dewy.

To the less beauty-savvy, it may sound like something you don't want to put anywhere near your face (we all had at least three years of chemistry at school, just saying...). But, what if we told you that it actually holds the key to smooth, flawless and hydrated skin?

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In fact, our own skin cells actually produce Hyaluronic Acid naturally in a bid to maintain moisture levels. But, thanks to pesky ageing and environmental aggressors, to name just a few things flung at our faces on a daily basis, those levels tend to take a bit of a dip. By adding back moisture into our skin, hyaluronic acid boosts firmness and prevents the formation of future fine lines and wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid delivers short-term perks, too, including a glowing, dewy complexion.

Here’s all you need to know about what hyaluronic acid is, how it works and who it’s best suited for. Plus, the best hyaluronic acid-rich products to load up on for plump skin.

what is hyaluronic acid? 

Hyaluronic Acid (which you might find hiding on the labels of some of your skincare products as HA), is naturally occurring in the human body. The substance works as a magnet for moisture, helping your cells retain as much of it as possible so that your skin feels and appears hydrated, plump and healthy.

Now for the science-y bit. The molecule holds a thousand times its weight in water to not only retain all that moisture in our skin but also prevent all that moisture from evaporating into the air. Add to that, its ability to regulate that moisture within the cells, so as not to drown them and you've got one genius ingredient.

what does hyaluronic acid do?

In topical skincare, hyaluronic acid plumps the skin because it attracts moisture to itself. When your skin is dry, fine lines become more noticeable and your complexion can even tend to look dull due to poor light reflection. When hyaluronic acid is introduced to the skin, it draws moisture to itself and plumps skin from inside out. As a result, the appearance of lines is softened and skin also appears more radiant.

who is HYALURONIC ACID suitable for?

Unlike many abrasive acids used in skincare, hyaluronic acid is gentle and suitable for every skin type. Since the foundation of healthy skin is well-hydrated skin, hyaluronic acid can and should be incorporated into everyone’s skincare routine. Whether you have visible wrinkles, have enlarged pores due to a loss of elasticity, or are prone to tightness and dryness, hyaluronic acid can help address all those skin concerns.

when do i apply HYALURONIC ACID? 

It’s important to apply hyaluronic acid to damp skin before your other serums as it helps to seal in the moisturiser you’ll be putting on top. In the morning, use it before a few drops of a vitamin C serum, then seal it all in with a day cream. And at night, swap your vitamin C for a retinol. 

WHERE CAN I BUY HYALURONIC ACID?

In short, everywhere. But to help you on your quest for glowy, healthy skin, we've rounded up the absolute best hyaluronic acid serums, all of which are prepared to brighten, soften, and plump the skin with moisture.

Not only does this Image Skincare serum blast skin with moisture, but it works to boost your skin’s own production of hyaluronic acid. The result is one powerhouse of an anti-ageing formula.

Ageless Total Pure Hyaluronic Filler, €78.50, Image Skincare

When your skin is at its absolute driest, reach for Skin Formulas. A three-tiered approach not only visibly increases your skin’s hydration levels but also stimulates your skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid and collagen for long term results.

Hydra Hyaluronic Acid Serum, €50, Skin Formulas

Just because this serum is low in price doesn’t mean it’s low in quality. Its smooth texture and plumping powers belie its affordable price tag and could easily trick someone into thinking they are using a much pricier product.

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, €12.50, The Ordinary

A favourite amongst skincare obsessives, Alpha H uses a combination of hyaluronic acid and eight ultra-hydrating ingredients including PrimalHyal Ultrafiller and Hydranov to hydrate, smooth, and plump skin (even fine lines and wrinkles).

Hyaluronic 8, €45.60, Alpha H

Glossier's Super Bounce promises to bring that 'bounce' back and re-plump your skin with its blend of hyaluronic acid and B5.

Super Bounce, €28, Glossier

Main image by @jheneaiko on Instagram

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