All Your Hyaluronic Acid Questions Answered
Have you ever been so desperately dehydrated that you go to sleep literally dreaming of running your head under gushing waterfalls and cerulean-coloured swimming pools? This is exactly how our skin feels in winter, as blazing heaters and frosty wind whip it around in a violet fashion. Luckily, there is a cure, and it’s one of the oldest skincare ingredients on the market. In fact, it’s about as old as time itself… or at least as old as humans. “Hyaluronic acid (or HA) is a molecule that occurs naturally in our skin, connective tissue, and joints, helping to retain moisture throughout the body,” says Melanie Grant, Sydney-based facialist and walking poster girl for #flawless skin.
But there’s a catch: although we might have oodles of it as children, we lose it as we age. “It does begin to decline as we age, so applying this molecule topically can yield exceptional results. HA can hold 1000 times it’s own weight in water, so it enhances the skin’s ability to retain moisture, resulting in plump, supple, dewy, hydrated skin.” Sign. Us. Up.
So what exactly are we looking for when choosing a HA product, and how do we slot it into our current routines to ensure we’re yielding maximum hydration? Start with a serum. “The new generation of formulas have multiple molecular weights to ensure surface hydration along with hydration within the deeper layers of the skin,” says Grant, who adds that results are both instant and cumulative. In other words, you can use it to remedy hangover skin and to cement long-term suppleness and elasticity. “Exfoliation beforehand will always enhance the penetration of any product, as it doesn’t have to make its way through a buildup of dead skin cells,” she continues. “Try layering a HA serum underneath your moisturiser morning and night. “Supple, hydrated skin will soften any fine lines and crepiness, as well as reflect light, resulting in a dewy glow.”
Product suggestions? We’ve got you. Our top six, in no particular order:
NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex
Meet Melanie’s favourite HA serum. Unsurprisingly, after a week of diligent testing, it too became my favourite. This new generation HA formula combines an astounding fifteen forms of HA molecules delivered through a peptide system. In English? Basically, the good stuff is not simply skimming the skin’s surface. No, it is not. It is going as deep as a DJ in Ibiza at 5am on a Saturday morning.
Hylamide Low-Molecular HA Booster
While NIOD’s serum contains fifteen hyaluronic complexes, Hylamide’s Low-Molecular HA Booster contains five. Although it only contains a third of the complexes, you’re still getting a new generation HA serum with varying molecular weights, and at a fraction of the price. So, if you’ve just invested in a pair of Chanel slingbacks (naughty girl) and need to literally put your credit card on ice, this is a very good alternative.
Glossier Super Bounce
Cue skin plump enough to use as a trampoline. Glossier’s Super Bounce does exactly what the title suggests, containing dimethicone for that extra oomph. If your skin has no qualms with silicones, this serum will deliver big on its bouncy promise.
Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Serum
Together, hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 are like Batman and Robin. They work together to provide 24-hour hydration, delivering it below the superficial layers of the skin. The refreshing gel formula of Medik8’s Hydr8 B5 Serum absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave behind a tacky residue. On the contrary; it makes your complexion feel impossibly dewy.
Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Booster
This hyaluronic-rich booster by Dermalogica is the ultimate multi-tasker, packed full of skin-quenching HA, panthenol, glycolypids, and algae extract, all working to soothe and restore moisture. Get creative: use it alone, or mix it in with your favourite mask, serum, or moisturiser. You could even try adding a few drops to your morning coffee! Kidding.
Paula’s Choice RESIST Hyaluronic Acid Booster
The liquid gel formula of the Paula’s Choice RESIST Hyaluronic Acid Booster is a dream to apply, and it makes your skin so soft. Seriously. You’ll be tempted to stroke your little cherubic cheeks all day long. However, please do try to refrain from this last part — touching your face increases your risk of breakouts, and makes you look serial killer-esque, not unlike American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman.
Words, Rose Howard. With thanks to Melanie Grant.