We have shared with you our love for hyaluronic acid in the past, it is a truly remarkable skincare ingredient that boasts a lot of benefits, such as smoothing out the appearance of fine lines, locking in moisture and giving your skin an overall hydrated and youthful complexion. You can find out more with a full introduction of using this magical ingredient in our dedicated blog post about hyaluronic acid and its skincare benefits over on our blog post.
For now though we will explore how many types of hyaluronic acid there are available, what are the differences between them and how should you use them in your skincare routine. We’ll answer all of these, and any other questions you may have now, so let’s jump right into it.
Is all hyaluronic acid the same?
There are technically three types of hyaluronic acid molecules that are formulated into skincare products:
- Hydrolysed hyaluronic acid
- Sodium acetylated hyaluronate
- Sodium hyaluronate
You may find that your favourite hydrating serum and moisturiser will no doubt include an intense blend of HA molecules in the formulas to give the product maximum effectiveness. All three hyaluronic acid molecules inhabit the same hydrating properties and are humectants, which is basically their superpower. Once you apply them to your skin they have the ability to pull in any moisture from the surrounding environment and absorb it onto your face and locking the moisture into the top layers of the skin.
There are however, some differences between the hyaluronic acid molecules which are added into many skincare products, especially between Hyaluronic acid and Sodium hyaluronate. Both of these are jointly called “hyaluronic acid” within the beauty industry but the key differences are sodium hyaluronate has a smaller molecular size and can penetrate the skin faster. Sodium hyaluronate is in fact the salt form of HA and is a water-soluble meaning it can hold 1000 times its weight in water. This also makes sodium hyaluronate a more stable molecule to add to skincare products due to the fact it is less likely oxidise. There is a setback to this HA as the higher the percentage of it in a formula will actually begin to dry out the skin, bear in mind that anything over 4% of sodium hyaluronate is best to be avoided to prevent any unwanted drying reactions to the skin as too much of it will pull out any moisture it already has. Due to its stability it is used in skincare products along with other HA molecules to make the formula more balanced and effective at hydrating the skin.
Which form of hyaluronic acid is best?
This quite a tricky question to answer as narrowing down the pros and cons of each HA molecule is harder than you would think. The benefit of the three different hyaluronic acids is their ability to mixed well together and work at hydrating the skin, locking in surrounding moisture and keeping its protective barrier functioning properly.
In regards to introducing hyaluronic acid to your skincare routine is a lot more simple than you may think. HA has no age limit and you will see the many anti-ageing and nourishing benefits this hero ingredients provide. If you are over the age of 25 and aren't seeing any noticeable signs of ageing, by using hyaluronic acid you will delay any visible lines and wrinkles from appearing on the skin. For older people who may have already noticed the signs of ageing on the skin will find that HA not only smooths out the complexion but delays the skin thinning, becoming sensitive and helps with the overall appearance of the face. So as long as your skincare routine contains a product containing hyaluronic acid you are already benefiting with the supercharged hydrating results of this wonderful ingredient.
What percentage of hyaluronic acid is effective?
Technically speaking there is no certain way you are able to get a clear indication of how much percentage of hyaluronic acid is found in a skincare formula. In some cases you may find that in the ingredients list or in the marketing of certain products there are claims of 90% hyaluronic acid, which is not completely accurate. As we have already mentioned before the HA molecule sodium hyaluronate can become very drying to the skin if it is higher than 4%. Products such as serums, moisturisers and cleansers will actually include amounts closer to 1-2% of hyaluronic acid which is mixed into a solution with a high water content. This will not only work on the skin by hydrating the outer layers but will also aid the humectant properties of the HA molecule blend and pull in moisture from the surrounding product applied to the skin. By diluting the percentage you will also have a higher chance of avoiding any drying reactions to the skin and keep its microbiome layer intact and functioning properly meaning any free radicals or other skin damaging factors will not be able to penetrate.
If you are finding that the percentage levels of hyaluronic acid in over the counter skincare products are still not providing the hydration you need seeking the help from a dermatologist will be the next steps to take. Bearing in mind that we also recommend performing a patch test of any new products you add to your daily skincare regime to avoid any reaction.
We hope that you have more clarity of how many different types of hyaluronic acid there are and the effects you can expect to see when using them in the various skincare products and the formulations that deliver the glowing and plumped results when using hyaluronic acid. If you are wanting to know more about hyaluronic, how it works and compares to chemical exfoliants you can find out in the dedicated blog post all about the skincare benefits of AHAs and BHAs.
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