Aging is something that cannot be prevented, let alone avoided. Sooner or later, some of the first signs associated with aging begin to appear, and depending on different factors (such as genetics, as well as the lifestyle we follow every day), the fact that it does so prematurely could be slightly avoidable. And it is that as the experts think, the skin is simply destined to age. And it is something that we must end up accepting sooner or later.
Each and every one of us tends to know what some of the main signs associated with aging are: fine lines of expression, more or less marked wrinkles (which, it is true, tend to become more evident and deep as we continue to fulfill years), dark spots and problems related to pigmentation. Although it is something totally and completely normal, typical of evolution and that, ultimately, we are turning years old, when aging occurs prematurely, these indications of age become particularly annoying, since we tend to see them as signs that make us appear older than we actually would be, based not only on how we act, but also on how we feel.
And although dermatologists agree that it is not possible to freeze time, it is possible to slow it down. In other words, even though aging is impossible to stop, its most obvious physical side effects can be delayed. An excellent unique option, which has proven over the years to become a suitable option as an aesthetic treatment for wrinkles and fine lines -among many other skin problems-, is hyaluronic acid.
Remember that the skin of our body is made up of a total of three layers: the epidermis, which is characterized by being the outermost layer of the skin, rich in keratin, and which provides roughness and resistance to water, where cells are shed dead and where we also find melanin (the dark-colored pigment that gives color to the skin), and acts as a barrier for the underlying layers; the dermis, a thick skin layer composed of elastin, collagen fibers, nerves, fat, and blood vessels; and finally the subcutaneous tissue, which consists of a layer made up of fat, essential to keep us warm and to help keep our internal organs in place.
Collagen, which occupies 80 percent of the dermis, is a natural protein that represents the main component of our body’s connective tissue, and provides strength to the skin, helping it to be as smooth as possible. Elastin, as its name might help to indicate, gives leather its elastic quality and texture, allowing it to stretch from one side to the other. Both are essential when it comes to preventing and avoiding aging. But there is a problem: its natural production tends to slow down from the moment we reach a certain age (usually in our mid-20s), by around 1 percent per year, with the obvious result that we all wait. Indeed, since its production decreases little by little, around 35-40 years of age the first wrinkles begin to form. Although, it is true, the fine lines of expression may have already begun to appear a little earlier…
What exactly is hyaluronic acid and what is it used for?
Believe it or not, hyaluronic acid originally consists of a substance naturally present in the skin, which is commonly known for its interesting qualities to attract and retain up to 1000 times its weight in moisture. Also known as hyaluronic, it is a sticky, transparent-looking substance that our body is capable of producing completely naturally. Specifically, it is a natural glycosaminoglycan, a long unbranched carbohydrate -or sugars-, called polysaccharides.
That is to say, technically, it consists of a group of sugar molecules known under the name of polysaccharides, which, as we will see, function to lubricate and cushion, and we find them completely and completely in the connective tissues of the body.
In fact, the largest amounts are found in our skin, in the connective tissue and also in the eyes. And what is its important function? Basically help retain water, in order to keep tissues well lubricated and moist. It is also useful so that the different cells of the skin may be able to survive longer, by thickening the epidermis and preventing the dead skin, naturally present in this layer, from accumulating.
For this reason, it is an essential compound that provides excellent benefits to the skin when applied as a topical treatment. What’s more, did you know that about 50 percent of the total hyaluronic acid that we find in our body is in the skin? Since collagen is a protein with a fibrous consistency, which becomes a kind of structure at the cellular level, maintaining the elasticity of cartilage while hyaluronic acid works by retaining moisture, both natural elements are essential for the skin.
On the other hand, hyaluronic acid has the very important role of nourishing collagen. Or, what is the same, it works as a kind of intermediary between collagen and water. Thus, when the hyaluronic acid falls short, the cells are not fully capable of retaining a sufficient amount of water, and the collagen ends up degenerating, which sooner or later leads to the loss of the skin’s natural elasticity.
As with collagen and elastin, in the case of hyaluronic acid, aging also tends to cause a constant decrease. Even when it is an element naturally produced by our body, it is depleted as we get older, while, as we have already mentioned and we must remember right at this point in order to understand the importance of these three natural elements, the collagen production slows down. And why does the loss of hyaluronic acid occur? Basically because the synthesis of AHA requires or requires a complex process, and the metabolic power of the cells ends up degrading naturally.
Moreover, the importance stems from the fact that although today we tend to think of collagen more as an essential element against aging, hyaluronic acid becomes the main component that provides structure to the skin. Basically, it is responsible for that hydrated and voluminous appearance.
What benefits does hyaluronic acid provide for the skin?
One of the main peculiarities that we find in hyaluronic acid is its enormous capacity to bind or capture up to 1000 times its weight in water. In other words: it acts as a humectant, keeping water molecules on the surface of the skin, in order to keep it properly hydrated, soft and smooth. And when we talk about skin that is adequately hydrated, it is essential to refer to skin that has a high water content.
When it comes to skin care, we have to refer to transepidermal water loss, a useful scientific term for measuring the amount of water that evaporates from the skin. When we find a product that helps prevent transepidermal water loss (such as hyaluronic acid), it means that it works by keeping the skin hydrated by ensuring that water does not escape from the skin’s surface. Indeed, hyaluronic acid acts by slowing down the speed at which water evaporates, so in addition to being tremendously hydrating, it also provides other very interesting benefits when we apply it to the skin, as we will learn in detail throughout the following sections.
It is ideal to promote a much more flexible, hydrated and healthy skin.
As we age, and as we age, so does our skin. This tends to become increasingly dry as its natural ability to retain water decreases, eventually resulting in a loss of firmness, such as the formation of the first fine lines.
Topical hyaluronic acid treatments can go a long way in making skin look and feel much suppler and plump. Remember, as we have told you, that half of the hyaluronic acid naturally present in our body is found in the skin, where it acts by binding to water in order to retain moisture as much as possible.
But, as we have seen, both the natural process of aging and other factors (such as ultraviolet radiation caused by the sun, environmental pollution or tobacco smoke), can end up decreasing its amount in the skin. Thus, topical treatments can be quite helpful, as can taking supplements containing hyaluronic acid, since by preventing this decrease that naturally occurs over time, it provides the body with additional amounts to add to the skin later.
According to some studies, taking a hyaluronic acid supplement -between 120 and 240 mg per day-, for at least 30 days, would significantly increase the moisture of the skin, reducing in turn the presence of dry skin in Adults.
Remember that hydrated skin also acts to prevent or reduce the appearance of wrinkles, which could explain why different studies have found that hyaluronic acid also helps skin look and feel smoother. In this way, when we apply a topical product with hyaluronic acid on the skin, it can help reduce wrinkles, in addition to acting against some common skin disorders and problems, such as dermatitis (irritation), and redness.
To better understand this quality, we must bear in mind that, when our skin is duly and adequately hydrated, the fine lines of expression and wrinkles (even the deepest ones), end up presenting a more diminished appearance, hence the AHA becomes in an essential ingredient for those people who have mature skin, or too old.
In fact, just one gram of hyaluronic acid is known to have the impressive capacity to hold up to six liters of water. If we take into account that, in addition, it is capable of regulating all that moisture inside the cells, we find ourselves before a great ingredient when it comes to skin care, and, particularly, in the prevention of fine lines. of expression, wrinkles, and especially dehydration.
We cannot forget that this essential characteristic of hyaluronic acid -fixing moisture- is exceptionally important when we talk about skin aging. When we are young, our skin does tend to be able to retain water, and retain a fairly balanced amount of moisture, but as we get older, it ends up losing this ability. The result, as it is logical to imagine, is more than evident: a visible loss of firmness begins to be observed, its natural flexibility decreases, and also its thickness. This means that hyaluronic acid stands out tremendously for its powerful anti-aging qualities.
And what’s even better: it works for practically any skin type, so even skin prone to breakouts (for example, oily skin) as well as the most sensitive skin can enjoy its different benefits and properties.
But did you know that hyaluronic acid also provides skin-replenishing and antioxidant qualities? For both reasons, it is also essential when it comes to reducing the negative effects of sun exposure without proper protection, which tends to weaken the surface of our skin, causing free radicals to end up roaming free, and causing -with the time – the appearance of premature aging.
Since the AHA also acts as a naturally-derived antioxidant, and replenishes the skin, it goes a long way towards mitigating all of these problems. But to enjoy these properties it is essential to use it as part of a complete anti-aging skincare routine, and also apply it to the skin on a regular basis.
May help promote wound healing
Different studies have also found that hyaluronic acid is not only useful and essential when it comes to keeping the skin properly hydrated helping to reduce the appearance/formation of wrinkles. According to a study published in March 2016, it would act by regulating inflammation levels, in turn signaling the body to build a greater number of blood vessels in the damaged area, so wounds tend to heal much faster.
Among other interesting aspects, applying it directly to skin wounds would help reduce their size, as well as acting to reduce the pain and discomfort commonly associated with them. But its quality does not end here: it also has antibacterial properties, so it can help reduce the risk of infection when applied directly to open wounds.
Helpful in relieving joint pain
The truth is that hyaluronic acid is not only interesting for the skin. Remember that we find it naturally in the joints, where it acts by keeping the space between the bones adequately lubricated. Thus, when the joints are well lubricated, the bones are less likely to contract, causing associated pain.
In recent years, a useful treatment has been used to relieve bone pain, injecting hyaluronic acid directly into the joints. However, some studies have warned that it would cause a higher risk of adverse effects, compared to the modest benefits that it would originally offer in this regard.
Before using it, for whom is hyaluronic acid best and most suitable?
As we will learn in more detail in the next section, there is no doubt that one of the best things about hyaluronic acid is that it can benefit practically any skin type. Indeed, it is ideal for both the most mature and aged skin, as well as for dry or parched skin that lacks hydration. But did you know that it can also end up being extremely useful for those with oily skin?
We must not forget that even combination skin and oily or very oily skin also require some hydration. And this is where a rather light formulation of hyaluronic acid can end up being perfect, since the skin will feel lighter and smoother, while we manage to provide it with that little hydration that it needs.
It is also useful for blemish-prone skin, as hyaluronic acid works to soothe the skin and protect it thanks to its antioxidant properties. On the other hand, it can also be used safely during pregnancy, since it does not pose any type of side effect on the pregnant woman herself, or on the baby. In this sense, no adverse effects of any kind have been found, so its use during pregnancy is quite safe.
How can we use hyaluronic acid and where to find it?
Now that we know what the main benefits of hyaluronic acid are when we apply it to the skin, it is normal to wonder how we can take advantage of its different qualities and basic properties every day. First of all, as we have already mentioned at some point in the previous sections, hyaluronic acid is suitable for any type of skin, so that anyone can enjoy its moisturizing and anti-wrinkle effects, even those skins that are more prone to redness and outbreaks, and also the most sensitive.
Moreover, thanks to its certainly positive influence when applied to the surface of the skin, acting in turn as a total and completely natural soothing agent, it is also suitable for skin prone to breakouts and, as we have seen in a summarized way in the previous section, with a propensity for imperfections.
Of course, although it is a safe substance, which in most cases does not produce any type of side effect or adverse effect, as is the case with any other new product that we are going to use on the skin for the first time, it is essential to start slowly with hyaluronic acid.
Since it is suitable even for the most sensitive skin or skin with a tendency/propensity to redness, it is not entirely necessary to do what is known as the “patch test” (and which is none other than doing a test on an area of the non-visible skin, applying a small amount of product and waiting 12-24 hours to see if any type of reaction occurs or not, and then apply a larger amount to the skin of the face). But it is essential to do it little by little, applying it once a day, and wait how it goes on the skin.
Then, depending on what is specified directly on the label of the product that we are using, and as long as our skin has reacted adequately (which means that no type of reaction or redness has occurred), it is possible to use it both for in the morning and at night, to enjoy additional hydration.
In relation to which products to use, as we have already mentioned on several occasions, there are a huge number of products designed and conceived for skin care that help improve hydration, and act by reducing wrinkles and fine lines of expression, thanks to the fact that they combine -in their composition- different molecules of hyaluronic acid to achieve, thereby, the maximum possible effectiveness.
And how can we find this compound in the list of ingredients of the product that we are going to use? It is true that, if a certain product contains hyaluronic acid in its formulation, the most normal thing is that the brand advertises it on its labeling. However, it is also possible to find it in the list of ingredients under the following names: hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, sodium acetylated hyaluronate or simply as sodium hyaluronate (specifically, we will talk about this type of hyaluronic acid at the end of this article). And how are these 3 types of hyaluronic acid different? Here we go to find out:
- Hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid. It consists of a type of hyaluronic acid which has been broken down into elements small enough to penetrate the skin. Although like any type of hyaluronic acid, it has a moisturizing action and effect, it is not the most moisturizing option of all according to experts. However, it becomes the most interesting and useful for those with combination or oily skin, since excessive hydration can end up being counterproductive for this type of skin.
- Sodium hyaluronate. As we will learn at the end of this article, it consists of the most effective type of hyaluronic acid, mainly because it penetrates deeper into the skin and, above all, because it is the one that offers even better results. Of course, its effects tend not to be very long-lasting. However, it is the most useful type of hyaluronic acid for normal skin, since it offers the possibility for moisture to filter, but in this type of skin it is not so necessary that this effect be very resistant or long-lasting.
- Sodium acetylated hyaluronate. It has the same benefits as sodium hyaluronate, but provides much longer lasting results. It is better, therefore, for those people who have dry skin, and who need more moisture. For example, for those who live in dry climates and often suffer a lot for this reason.
What ingredients does hyaluronic acid tend to work best with?
There are certain ingredients whose action on the skin can make hyaluronic acid become one of those compounds whose formulation should not be missing. This is the case, for example, of those known as alpha-hydroxy acids, substances that act on the skin by renewing the different skin cells, in order to exfoliate it in order to achieve a tone that is as bright and uniform as possible.
But it is known that these acids can end up drying or drying the skin. This is when including hyaluronic acid in the composition of this type of gentle exfoliant can be very helpful, since it becomes the best way to enjoy the different benefits it offers, but without influencing greater skin dehydration.
On the other hand, hyaluronic acid also works quite well with other ingredients that also provide anti-wrinkle qualities and anti-aging benefits. A good example is found in vitamin C, a vitamin with recognized antioxidant action, which, in its purest form, is also capable of illuminating the skin of the face and helping in the production of collagen.
When combined with hyaluronic acid in the same product (in clearly recommended amounts), it can encourage and protect collagen production, while brightening dull, aging skin and working to hydrate deeper and more intensely.
It is also essential to pay attention that alcohol is not found in the list of ingredients, since it can counteract the moisturizing benefits that hyaluronic acid naturally provides. Isopropyl alcohol, for example, becomes one of the most common problems, which is characterized by being extremely dry, leaving the skin very vulnerable to dryness and cracking, allowing it to break more easily while others irritating substances, contaminants and bacteria can enter its interior. On the other hand, this drying effect can end up making the cells less thick, the opposite effect to what we really want every time we apply hyaluronic acid on the skin.
And what is even more important: do not forget that the ingredients are always listed in order of concentration, so that those that we find among the first 6 ingredients will be those that have the highest content in the product that we are going to buy or use. Thus, if alcohol is among them, it is not a very advisable option, since you will end up drying out the skin even more.
The same goes for fragrances. Although we tend to never realize it, products that contain some kind of added fragrance can cause breakouts or irritation in people with sensitive skin, and can also cause contact dermatitis, which is a type of skin rash that tends to appear immediately, once the “culprit” product has been applied to the skin.
The amount of water that we find in the formulation of the product in question with hyaluronic acid is equally fundamental, although originally at first we come to think that it is not such a big deal. In fact, it helps make the product even more effective, since having a mostly water base, compared to cream, gel or oil, helps positively when it comes to getting hyaluronic acid to penetrate more easily into the skin.
Low molecular weight or high molecular weight hyaluronic acid?
When you go to buy hyaluronic acid to use as one of the base ingredients for your homemade serum, you may suddenly find that there are different types available. Thus, more often, you will notice that there are basically two basic types: low molecular weight hyaluronic acid, and high molecular weight hyaluronic acid. How are they different and which could be better?
They differ basically in the size of the molecules that we find in their composition. Thus, while high molecular weight hyaluronic acid tends to act by moisturizing the entire surface of the skin, low molecular weight hyaluronic acid is able to penetrate much further. The best? Try to use both types of hyaluronic acid, since, as we can see, each type will act on a different layer of our skin.
Are there side effects associated with hyaluronic acid?
In general, the use of hyaluronic acid on the skin is considered completely and completely safe, and in most cases is not associated with any type of adverse effect. Let’s not forget that it is also useful and suitable for those who have sensitive skin, so the reality is that in most cases it does not cause practically any problem.
However, as with other substances that we apply to the skin, everything will depend on the percentage of hyaluronic acid that we find in the formulation of the product that we are going to use. In most products, it is true, the percentage of AHA included is minimal, enough recommended to be able to enjoy its different moisturizing qualities and anti-aging benefits. But in case we are formulating our own products, it is best to always use a concentration of hyaluronic acid below 2 percent.
This is because a really low molecular weight of hyaluronic acid already, by itself, has the ability to penetrate the skin, so it is even able to act deep into the skin. Fortunately, since our body produces AHA completely and completely naturally, it most likely will not cause any type of allergic reaction, so its use is considered one hundred percent safe.
And finally, is hyaluronic acid comedogenic?
The term non-comedogenic consists of a product commonly used to discover those products used for skin care (and also cosmetic products, such as makeup), formulated in such a way that they are not likely to cause comedowns. Or, what is the same, the risk that they can cause clogging of the pores and therefore breakouts are practically nil.
Thus, a product labeled “non-comedogenic” means that it does not contain ingredients that are known to clog pores. Thus, if a certain person regularly has problems with acne, pimples or simply has a certain propensity for pore obstruction, the use of this type of product could be extremely useful when it comes to reducing and reducing the number of breakouts.
If you suffer from any of these problems, and you wonder if hyaluronic acid could be comedogenic, you can rest easy: indeed, hyaluronic acid is characterized as a non-comedogenic ingredient. But this does not mean that this acid cannot cause some small regrowth when it is used for the first time. This can lead to error, and it does not have to be directly related to the fact that hyaluronic acid is comedogenic (because, as we have indicated, it really is not). And as experts say, it is usually a common reaction, especially when we apply it to the skin for the first time.
In other words, it could be said that, at first, the symptoms tend to get slightly worse and then end up improving a lot. Because of this, if you suffer from pimple-related problems, you may notice some small blemished areas and larger pimples and redness appear, while just a few days later the reddened pimple areas tend to clear up, becoming much smaller and less noticeable, until they disappear completely.
Can it dry the skin?
Since hyaluronic acid becomes a product that is widely known for its qualities and benefits when it comes to moisturizing the skin, you may be surprised if, on occasion, you notice that hyaluronic acid serum can give you the feeling of have drier skin. This is mainly due to the way the serum is applied to the skin.
We cannot forget something essential: as a moisturizer, it is capable of absorbing more than 1,000 times its weight in water. Therefore, when applied to dry skin, especially in a dry environment, the hyaluronic acid present in the serum could end up drawing some moisture from the skin, attracting it to itself. This is the root cause why, as days or weeks go by, it tends to leave skin feeling slightly drier, rather than more hydrated.
To prevent this from happening, there is an extremely simple and easy-to-follow trick: you should apply the serum with hyaluronic acid to damp skin, just after you have deeply cleansed your facial skin, simply rinsed it off, or after applying the facial tonic. But there is also another useful option: apply it in combination with a lotion, such as a facial moisturizer (for example, apply it under the moisturizer, or mix both and apply them as if they were a single lotion or product). tried).
Do you know what sodium hyaluronate is?
If you regularly use topical products that contain hyaluronic acid in their formulation / composition, you may have also come across a similar name – sodium hyaluronate – in the list of ingredients of some of these products. In fact, although it may surprise us at first, we are facing a product closely related to hyaluronic. Did you know that it is a salt derived from hyaluronic acid?
Sodium hyaluronate is useful in the same way that hyaluronic acid is also useful for the skin. But few people know that it also tends to provide a very interesting additional advantage: the skin tends to absorb it more easily than hyaluronic acid.
Of course, this cannot make us think that sodium hyaluronate is better than hyaluronic acid. On the contrary: if we find a product that contains both ingredients in its composition, much better. In fact, it is common to find more sodium hyaluronate in the formulation of many products, compared to AHA, since the latter tends to be more expensive to produce.
What’s more, you will most likely identify this variety of hyaluronic acid as “low molecular weight” hyaluronic acid, which has a smaller molecule than regular hyaluronic acid, which greatly helps in making it better and faster. absorbed by the skin, reaching just beyond the top layers of the skin, offering the potential for visibly improved results.
This means that, if you find low molecular weight hyaluronic acid in your skin care and anti-aging product, it is an indication that in its composition we mainly find sodium hyaluronate. It is the type of hyaluronic acid that we find especially in facial serums.