Hyaluronic acid, also known as hyaluronan, is a clear, gooey substance that is naturally produced by your body. The largest amounts of it are found in your skin, connective tissue and eyes. Its main function is to retain water to keep your tissues well lubricated and moist. Hyaluronic acid has a variety of uses. Many people take it as a supplement, but it’s also used in topical serums, eye drops and injections.

Pronounced hiya-loo-ron-nick, hyaluronic acid is a carbohydrate molecule and a natural component of skin. It is the KEY molecule involved in skin moisture, with a unique capacity to bind and retain water molecules. It has been estimated that hyaluronic acid (HA) can hold up to one thousand times its own weight in water molecules. Essentially, the complexion champion has an unrivalled ability to hydrate our skin.

Hyaluronic acid promotes healthier, more supple skin

Hyaluronic acid supplements can help your skin look and feel more supple. Roughly half of the hyaluronic acid in your body is present in your skin, where it binds to water to help retain moisture.

However, the natural aging process and exposure to things like ultraviolet radiation from the sun, tobacco smoke and pollution can decrease its amounts in the skin.

Taking hyaluronic acid supplements may prevent this decline by giving your body extra amounts to incorporate into the skin.

Doses of 120–240 mg per day for at least one month have been shown to significantly increase skin moisture and reduce dry skin in adults. Hydrated skin also reduces the appearance of wrinkles, which may explain why several studies show that supplementing with it can make skin appear smoother.

When applied to the surface of the skin, hyaluronic acid serums can reduce wrinkles, redness and dermatitis. Some dermatologists even inject hyaluronic acid fillers to keep skin looking firm and youthful.

Hyaluronic acid can speed wound healing

Hyaluronic acid also plays a key role in wound healing. It’s naturally present in the skin, but its concentrations increase when there is damage in need of repair.

Hyaluronic acid helps wounds heal faster by regulating inflammation levels and signaling the body to build more blood vessels in the damaged area. Applying it to skin wounds has been shown to reduce the size of wounds and decrease pain faster than a placebo or no treatment at all.

Hyaluronic acid also has antibacterial properties, so it can help reduce the risk of infection when applied directly to open wounds. What’s more, it’s effective at combating gum disease, speeding up healing after tooth surgery and eliminating ulcers when used topically in the mouth.

While the research on hyaluronic acid serums and gels is promising, there has been no research to determine whether hyaluronic acid supplements can provide the same benefits. However, since oral supplements boost the levels of hyaluronic acid found in the skin, it’s reasonable to suspect they may provide some benefit.

Which skin type suits hyaluronic acid?

Most skin types will benefit from hyaluronic acid's moisture-boosting properties, which is why it's included in a lot of skincare. But dry and dehydrated skin types will notice the benefits most.

Why is it called an acid if it doesn't exfoliate the skin?

Don't let the name fool you. Even though it's called an 'acid', HA is the complete opposite of glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids, and won't exfoliate dead skin cells. The name simply derives from the enzyme that synthesises HA, called 'hyaluronic acid synthase'.

What should I be looking for on the label?

Whether you choose to go for 'pure' hyaluronic acid or a serum, we recommend to opt for one that contains a 'variation of high and low molecular weight hyaluronic acids.'

The varying molecular weights determine how far the HA will penetrate skin. The smaller the molecule, the further the serum can penetrate skin, for hydration throughout skin’s layers and a visibly plumped-up effect.

When you’re looking at an ingredients list, keep an eye out for Sodium Hyaluronate. Sodium hyaluronate is a salt derivative of hyaluronic acid with all the same benefits, except it is more easily absorbed. Look for a product containing both sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid for the optimum hydration boost.

How to use hyaluronic acid in your skin care routine

Now that you know how hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate can benefit skin, you might be wondering how we’ve chosen to incorporate these research-backed ingredients into our products.

Hyaluronic acid is incredibly gentle and phenomenally helpful for all skin types, even the most sensitive, redness-prone skin. In fact, its positive influence on skin’s surface is due in part to its natural calming benefit, which means it is also suitable for breakout-prone skin. Each of the following fragrance-free formulas contain redness-reducing, hydrating, and antioxidant ingredients that make skin smooth and soft, and they’re gentle enough even for those with eczema-prone and rosacea-prone skin.

With a silky, lightweight texture that’s perfect for all skin types, Rainforest Dew Hydration Serum is indispensable for its hydrating formula supported by evergreen fern extract to smooth lines and wrinkles and to reinforce skin's natural barrier. Apply directly to skin after cleansing, toning, and exfoliating, or mix into your favorite moisturiser.

Those with dry to very dry skin will find Skin Dream Age-defying Firming Cream Concentrate's rich, bio-retinol-spiked formula is ideal for a daily (and/or nightly) dose of wrinkle-softening hydration from sodium hyaluronate, ceramides, and peptides.

If you struggle with blemishes and are on the hunt for the best serum for acne-prone skin, look no further than Tropic's Pure Lagoon Blemish Prevention Serum. Its sheer lotion texture features hyaluronic acid, blue spirulina and watermelon fruit extract to provide hydration and soothe redness.

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