Whether its facial injections, SCARY (!), or creams, or supplements, Hyaluronic acid is making the rounds of our beauty shelves. Should we trust it, should we be using it and does it work? So many questions! Time to put Hylaronic acid in the spot light…
WHAT IS IT?
Hyaluronic acid sounds like a techy genius, the name is a bit intimidating ‘ey. Un-dressing this ingredient newbie, hyaluronic acid is simply a moisturiser. A moisturiser that has a pretty funky name that gets our attention like BHAM!
There’s 3 different ways we can moisturise our skin and hyaluronic acid fits like a glove into the ‘humectant’ slot. Don’t panic! The name makes it sound 10x harder to understand than it actually is. Humectant is code for MAGNET, magnet for all things water, it sticks to it like glue.
‘I’m sticking to you, because I’m made outta glue’
These ‘gluey’ moisturisers are found in face creams, body lotions, hair conditioners, shower gel, the list is huge. I would go as far to say they are in EVERY cream or lotion out there. Definitely every cream or lotion I have ever peeked at. That’s because leaving out a gluey moisturiser is like leaving the yeast out of a bread mix. You could, it just kinda wouldn’t be the same. #SomethingsMissing
The ‘gluey’ one that’s the ‘commoner’ is Glycerin. If you peak at your cream ingredients, that’ll be super high on the list, usually second.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Hyaluronic acid is made of the same Lego blocks as sugar. Have you ever left something sugary out, without a lid? Opened the sugar pot to find huge clumps of sugar all stuck together because they got a bit moist. #oops! Pulled out a digestive to find they’ve gone a bit.. well.. soggy. That’s because sugar likes water, they are best friends and however much you try to hide them from each other their attraction is magnetic!
Hyaluronic acid is a supersized sugar. Like Heston Blumenthal’s GIANT desserts, the subject of my dreams (!) this gluey guy is just a bigger, better kinda sugar. As he’s HUGE he can hold onto lots of water. You must have heard that it can hold onto up to 1000x its own weight in water (a PR’s dream) and being the fact checker wiz that I am, yes this is true.
Holding onto all that water, means it gets bigger and its going to plump you out like you were fluffing a pillow that your life depended on.
FOUND IN THE STRANGEST OF PLACES
Its in your eye! Its in your joints, in your skin… oh! and it’s found in the umbilical cord. It gets everywhere.
Hyaluronic acid is something we have in our bodies all the time. Naturally our bodies make it. It’s like the scrunched up dress pushed to the back of the cupboard that you completely FORGOT you had.
Our bodies make maximum use of hyaluronic acid, it is to our bodies like saffron to rice. You don’t need a lot for it to do its thang.
Hyaluronic acid is good at 2 things, eating and sleeping, It eats up all the water it can and it will hang-out in places like your joints and eyes as it’s a darn good lubricator.
YOU LOOK POSITIVLY RADIENT
How BEAUTIFUL is a baby’s skin. Soft, flawless, peachy, plumped. What’s their secret? I’m sure they’d tell us if they could *wink wink*.
When we are little, we have a lots of this genius Hyaluronic ingredient in our skin. Like money, we spend some and we earn some, we give some to the chocolate ice cream vendor (oh yeh!) and we go to work to earn some back. This is the ‘life-cycle’ of hyaluronic acid, every day we give away a third and every day we make about a third back.
As we grow, our focus goes elsewhere, maybe to Ryan Gosling? and we replace knowing how to make hyaluronic acid with many, many delicious images of MR.R.G. Taking the distractingly handsome man out of that equation and its like this, as we grow, our bodies make less Hyaluronic acid.
The gluey/humectant moisturisers are the go-to if your wanting a non-oil kinda moisturiser. They are water loving, water soluble, water, water everything. Moisturisers based on these ingredients will feel more like a serum and much less like a butter. Basically they are kinda watery instead of being kinda oily. If you have oily skin they will take a bit longer to absorb in as oil and water don’t like each other. You have to wait a bit while they talk it out.
IS IT SPECIAL?
Does it work better than the Glycerin commoner? Well if you look at how much water it can hold, then yeh, hyaluronic acid kicks Glycerins BUTT outta the water. That’s why its used as a facial filler (still scared by this phrase!) as you don’t have to put a lot in to plump out skin. Then there other things to think about like how much of it you’ll find in a cream and how long it stays on your skin for. Glycerine has been shown to go on working its magnetic skills up to 2 weeks after you’ve used a cream with it in, that’s even after lots of washing! Being a commoner, you don’t have to pay Glycerine too much to get a big ol’ dollup so they’ll be a lot more of this in a cream than Hyaluronic acid. Swings and round-abouts.
SOMETIMES IT GETS CONFUSED
This little guy has MANY nicknames. You could see hyaluronic acid called exactly that, or sodium hyaluronic or honouring the first, middle and last naming tradition, sodium hyaluronic acid. There’s also the nickname of Hyaluronic. Whichever you see, it’s the same shizzle.
SHOULD YOU BE EATING IT?
This is where the techy name makes it sound a little scary being suggested as a food. I ain’t eating no acid *wavy finger waggle*. Hyaluronic acid is about as acid as our skin is anyway, it’s not the burning, skin peeling, lemon juice wincing kind.
A lot of the time it follows that something that does skin good, can do it from the outside and the inside. It can be an assault course for anything we eat as our bodies do LOTS with what we put in our tummies. Before it can get absorbed by our crazily long intestines it has to navigate stomach acid and all sorts of enzymes and breaking down experts. A lot of the time it’s a better idea to give the body something that it can break-down into X magic ingredient. Our body is like the arch-opposite of lazy, it likes to work a bit, so we’ll let it.
Glucosamine supplements are one way to give your body the Lego blocks it needs to make hyaluronic acid. It’s like saying hey ‘artiste’ here’s some paints to get you started.
What do the text books say? Right now, there’s no evidence to show that hyaluronic acid taken as a supplement will delay or reverse the years from us. Boo… it’s still relatively new research so there is some way to travel before we know this molecule newbie well enough to say.