Along with pH and elasticity, well hydrated skin is one of the foundations of healthy skin. This is one of the (many) reasons hyaluronic acid is such a key player in the skincare industry. As the only ingredient capable of retaining up to a thousand times its weight in water, HA a total game-changer for quenching thirsty skin. Here are 8 things you might not know about hyaluronic acid.
1: Your body is your main source
Yes, that’s right. Our bodies produce hyaluronic acid naturally. 50% of all HA produced can be found in the skin, especially in the lower layers of the epidermis. However, the ageing process and certain external stressors affect our bodies’ ability to continually produce the amount we need.
2: It goes by many names
Depending on its molecular structure and properties, you may see hyaluronic acid listed under a different name on the ingredient list:
Hyaluronan, sodium hyaluronate: A powerful humectant which binds moisture to the skin for increased suppleness.
Hyaluronic acid: Has the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin.
Cross-polymer sodium hyaluronate: Penetrates the deepest layers of the skin and has a long-lasting hydrating effect that helps soften and smooth the appearance of fine lines.
3: Surprise, surprise!
Don’t let the word ACID fool you. Although its chemical composition contains an acidic structure, it is actually classified as a polysaccharide, i.e. a complex sugar.
4: From an egg white substitute to our skin…
Hyaluronic acid was first used commercially in 1942 when Endre Balazs applied for a patent to use it as a substitute for egg whites in bakery products. In fact, it was Balazs who later went on to discover many of this wonder ingredient’s other benefits and properties.
5: The hyaluronic acid diet
Japanese sweet potatoes and other tubers are great for producing hyaluronic acid naturally in the body. Other superfoods that either support hyaluronic acid production or contain it are spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts and green beans.
6: It’s not all good news…
Hyaluronic acid itself is a very large molecule and no matter how hard scientists try, correctly reducing its size is actually very difficult to achieve. Being such a large molecule makes it difficult for HA to penetrate the skin barrier to work the deeper layer of our skin. Plus, our skin barrier is formed mainly by lipids (fats) which further hinder this process.
7: You get what you pay for
As in the case of many other ingredients, the market price of hyaluronic acid varies greatly, ranging from 180 euros to 3,000 euros a kilo. Why such a difference? Where HA is concerned, price is pretty much a clear indicator of its quality, stability, hydrating punch and long-term effectiveness. Therefore, you may want to think twice about purchasing a cheap product containing hyaluronic acid.
8: Concentration counts
And last but not least, we always recommend you pay attention to the concentration of hyaluronic acid in the product you are going to use or purchase. The most skin beneficial concentrations are those greater than 1% or 2%, but many products are formulated with less. What’s more, our skin is capable of producing higher amounts than most beauty products contain.