If we had to name the most popular active ingredients found in skin care products, hyaluronic acid would inevitably make it into the top three. And not unnecessarily. This superacid not only provides optimal skin moisture, but also gives it softness, smoothes wrinkles, strengthens the skin’s protective barrier, promotes healing and basically combats premature skin aging at the cellular level.
Principles of hyaluronic acid action
Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide that is produced naturally by our body. It is mainly found in the skin (about 50% of all HR in the body), eyes, joints and connective tissue. The main function of this supermaterial is to retain water and ensure that fabrics are always “soiled” and supplied with moisture.
The principle of action of hyaluronic acid is truly unique. By combining with the surrounding water molecules, the HR molecule can hold up to 1,000 times more water than it weighs and supply that surrounding skin cells that it needs to function optimally.
Hyaluronic acid in cosmetic formulas
Why do we find sodium hyaluronate in skin care products instead of hyaluronic acid? Short answer: for stability. Sodium hyaluronate is a water-soluble salt form of HR that can also hold 1000 times more water than it weighs, but is much more resistant to oxidation, making it more suitable for use in products that inevitably come in contact with oxygen before coming into contact with the skin.
Also, the molecule of sodium hyaluronate is much smaller and lighter, so it can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin. However, since sodium hyaluronate is a salt, it is mixed with water in the products. Even if the product label promises up to 90% hyaluronic acid, indeed, it can contain up to 2-3% hyaluronic acid. The remaining percentage of the solution is water. A product with 90% hyaluronic acid would be nothing more than a solid piece of salt.
In the world of skin care, we are most often exposed to HR serums or creams. Both types of products can be effective and replenish the skin with moisture, but there are some differences. The sera are formulated in such a way that the HR molecules they contain are extremely low in molecular weight and can penetrate into the deepest layers of the skin, while the creams are “heavier” so they take care of the needs of the superficial layers and have a positive skin barrier.
Hyaluronic acid versus skin aging
The main reason why the beauty industry adores hyaluronic acid is precisely its unique ability to retain moisture. Especially considering that lack of moisture is one of the main causes of premature skin aging.
In general, the aging of human skin is a very complex biological process that is not yet fully understood. However, it is known to be the result of two biologically unrelated processes. The first is “internal aging”, which is inevitable and affects the skin in the same way as other organs. It is affected by many processes in the body, such as hormonal changes. The second is “external aging”, which is most often caused by UV rays. We are used to calling this type of aging photoaging.
Although the two processes are different, they have some similarities in terms of molecular mechanisms. One of these mechanisms is the action of moisture-providing molecules. As already mentioned, hyaluronic acid molecules are primarily responsible for skin moisture, which is “located” in all layers of the skin between skin cells and supports their activity. Unfortunately, over time, HR molecules (as well as other important intercellular molecules such as collagen, elastin, etc.) dwindle during both types of skin aging processes, so we need to replenish their reserves to maintain optimal skin condition.
This allows us to make hyaluronic acid serums and creams. True, sera allow HR molecules to reach the dermis, the deep layer of the skin that is naturally the layer of skin that contains the most hyaluronic acid and whose hydration determines the health and appearance of all the rest of the skin. So, by supplementing your skin care routine with hyaluronic acid serums, we notice really striking results quite quickly:
- The skin becomes softer, more elastic and more radiant;
- Wrinkles are reduced;
- Minor skin lesions heal faster;
- Acne scars become brighter and less noticeable;
- The skin is “soothed” and less reddened;
- The protective skin barrier is strengthened.
Also, hyaluronic acid is extremely user friendly as it is absorbed very quickly and is well absorbed. Moreover, it does not cause irritation and is suitable for all types of skin, even very sensitive and prone to redness. Finally, it is necessary to mention the feeling provided by products containing hyaluronic acid: the use of the serum does not leave a feeling of stickiness, the feeling of stretching and dryness disappears, the skin becomes soft and supple. This is because hyaluronic acid-saturated skin returns to being completely natural and normal – for healthy and optimal functioning, which can be timeless.