The secret of perennially young-looking skin is one that’s been sought-after. Does a naturally-occurring sugar in the body hold the key?
Recently, Hollywood actress Jennifer Lopez revealed a secret behind her flawless skin — Hyaluronic Acid (HA). The actress, who was criticised for getting Botox at the age of 23, rubbished the rumours, but was all praise for this not-so-famous ingredient in skincare products. HA is a sugar found naturally in our skin that holds water and helps keep it hydrated and plump. HA can hold a thousand times its weight in water and helps our bodies retain moisture in skin and joints, preventing it from evaporating.
Uses of HA
Hyaluronic Acid is a key way to instantly plump out fine lines and bring a glow to the face. It increases hydration in the skin, keeping it looking fresh, full and bouncy. And when used in creams and serums, HA draws moisture to the surface of the skin and holds it there.
“Hyaluronic Acid can be used as a humectant in skincare regimen. It will make the skin appear more dewy and younger because it improves elasticity. When applied to the surface of the skin, HA serums can reduce wrinkles, redness and dermatitis. Moisturisers and serums are two of the most common forms of Hyaluronic Acid,” says renowned dermatologist Dr. Nivedita Dadu.
How to use HA
Dermatologist and Aesthetic Medicine Physician and Founder Director of ILAMED, Dr. Ajay Rana suggests using a moisturiser infused with HA twice a day. “HA should always be used after cleansing, exfoliating, or applying serums. But if you’re using a Hyaluronic Acid serum, your routine will be a little different,” says Dr Rana, explaining that after cleansing, and while your skin is still damp, a couple of drops of the serum should be pressed into your face with the palms of your hands. “Don’t forget to apply a moisturiser immediately afterwards to seal in the hydration. Hyaluronic Acid is safe to use both morning and night,” the dermatologist says.
While HA is known to be a glycosaminoglycan that occurs naturally in the skin, connective tissue, eyes, and joints, it is also true that the naturally occurring HA in our body decreases, just like collagen and elastin, with age. “As we age, our bodies produce less of it, so replacing Hyaluronic Acid topically will make the most impact on those who are middle-aged and older,” says Dr Dadu.
A word of caution
While experts recommend external use of HA, it is also suggested that the usage depends on each individual with reference to skin type. Picking the right hyaluronic acid product is also important.
“HA with lower molecular weights penetrates deeper into the skin, which can cause inflammation, so if any dryness or irritation results from the HA product, stop using it and switch to another product or consult your dermatologist for better options,” suggests Dr Rana.
According to Dr Dadu, a product with a higher percentage of HA is preferable.
All things considered, HA is a useful tool in your skincare kit. It plays well with most other ingredients and can be paired with peels, retinols, vitamins, and other acids. Experts also confirm that HA does no harm to any type of skin. “Everyone can use Hyaluronic Acid because it is safe when used appropriately under the guidance of your dermatologist. It has many health benefits related to the skin,” says Dr Dadu.