Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist - Written by Nancy Agrahari (Journalist) on 17th Sep 2020
No BS Guide To Hyaluronic Acid
No matter what season or time of the year it is, our skin can become patchy and dry. Cleansing and applying creams aren’t enough (they create a barrier that reduces further dryness but does not quench the thirst of layers beneath).
Our skin needs hydration, and Hyaluronic acid(HA) is the right ingredient for it. Consider it like a magnet that attracts & retains water to brighten, hydrate, and enhance your skin.
So, whether you wish to hydrate your dry skin or get rid of fine lines and wrinkles, Hyaluronic serum is your best friend. Picking up the right bottle can be tricky as the molecular weight can affect the intensity of HA. We are here to guide you on which serum to buy, all the fuzz around HA, and exactly why you need them.
Before we dig deeper and read more about HA, it’s important to understand that it is a part of us and has various uses. It is popularly used as a hydrating supplement that works well with Vitamin C and Niacinamide for visibly smooth and hydrated skin. Here is why you need HA in your life.
What is Hyaluronic Acid, and why should I care?
Hyaluronic acid or Hyaluronan is a natural structure found within our bodies. It is like a gooey substance found in our connective tissues, but its largest concentration is in the skin. It has many functions in our body, from lubricating our tissues to keeping our skin young.
Many ingredients come and go in the skincare industry, but this ingredient is not based on any FAD or marketing claim but purely backed by vast research and clinical trials.
It is an extraordinarily versatile and hydrating ingredient present naturally in our skin responsible for firm skin. Even though our body has HA, exposure to pollution, smoking, and simply aging reduces its presence. You won’t believe it, but people below 50 years have twice as much as HA present in people between 50-70 years!
Thus, there is a vital need for external Hyaluronic acid to maintain healthy, younger-looking skin. A topical application of Hyaluronic acid is the most efficient way to replenish its level into the skin.
Have you ever wondered why your skin feels dry even after you gulp tons of water every day?
It is because drying skin is an external problem and best treated from outside. When our skin is dry, the chances are hyaluronic acid has decreased and is not that effective in our system. In this case, merely drinking or splashing water on the face won’t make a difference. It would be best if you actually had a humectant that will hold water within your complexion.
Hyaluronic acid is a potent humectant that can bind up to 1000 times its weight in water. Well literally, 1 gram of HA can hold 10 Litres of water. Wow! Right?
Thus, when applied topically, HA can attract and lock moisture to your skin and reduce the transepidermal loss. It is your golden-ticket to bring back baby-soft skin that screams perfection.
Since HA is a glycosaminoglycan, a key molecule in Anti-aging, it is loved and recommended by dermatologists worldwide.
We interviewed India’s top 5 celebrity dermatologists at Minimalist about their daily skincare routine, and this magical ingredient came out to be one of their favorites.
I never retire for the night without a good application of a stem cell and hyaluronic acid cream.
- Dr. Malavika Kohli
II use the Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier, which contains a high concentration of pure hyaluronic acid, pro xylene, and botanical extracts which hydrate the skin, making it firm and smooth.
- Dr. Jaishree Sharad
My morning skincare routine starts with hydration using Hyaluronic Acid serum to start my day with a fresh canvas.
- Dr. Kiran Sethi
Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid Serum
- Hydrates skin from within for the instant plump look
- Removes dry patches leaving a smooth baby-soft skin
- Locks in moisture to provide prolonged hydration
- Acts as an antioxidant and support other antioxidants such as Vitamin C
- Enhances the absorption of other serums when applied before them
After reading all the benefits, adding Hyaluronic serum to your skincare routine seems to be the smartest choice to bring back youthful, flawless skin.
But, not all topical Hyaluronic acids are equally effective. The molecular weight size of HA determines the depth of its delivery in the skin, so before you get your hydration booster to go through our next section.
How to pick the right Hyaluronic Acid serum?
The smaller the molecule size, the deeper it penetrates the dermis. Larger-molecule size HA stays at the epidermis and provides surface hydration only. Surface hydration gives skin an instant temporary plump look, but it usually fades out as soon as you wash your face (Splash & Gone!)
It’s difficult to find brands that talk about molecular size transparently, so look for serums with Hyaluronic Acid derivatives such as Sodium Hyaluronate, which has better absorption than regular Hyaluronic acid. (Again, it does not make pure Hyaluronic acid less potent than its derivatives, but the actual performance of serum depends on how far the HA molecule is delivered into the skin so, serum with Sodium Hyaluronate wins!)
Many lotions, creams, and moisturizers claim to have Hyaluronic acid as one the key ingredient but do not declare the concentration. So, look for a serum that clearly mentions the concentration of HA. Anything less than 1% will not give you full benefits. (1-2 % is ideal concentration)
Minimalist 2% Hyaluronic Acid serum with the pro-Vitamin B5 can be the right choice to pump and rehydrate your skin using only clean ingredients. It is formulated by 2% of Sodium Hyaluronate (sourced from Royal DSM, Netherlands; a global science-based company ranked in Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations 2020) for multi-depth hydration.
Additional Benefits of Minimalist HA Serum
- Deep hydration due to maximum absorption with the smallest molecule size
- Combines the power of pro-Vitamin B5 for making skin soft and supple
- 100% aloe juice instead of water/aqua for long-lasting, non-sticky skin
- Works well on any skin type from dry to oily to breakout-prone skin
- Fragrance-free, and Dye-free with no harmful chemical
How To Use Hyaluronic Acid Serum?
Once you have your hands on this serum, it is time to incorporate it into your skincare routine. Start by applying a pea-sized product on your face every morning and night, right after washing your face or showering. This way, your skin is already moist, and HA will trap all of that moisture into your skin. For best results, use HA every day, preferably twice a day (both AM and PM) for healthy, glowing skin.
Since it is a water-based serum, apply it before heavy oils or moisturizers as it forms an occlusive barrier that locks moisture into the skin. Also, it prepares a perfect base for treatment serum and maximizes the absorption (No wonder why this ingredient is compared to the holy grail!)
(Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!) It can be a bonus for oily to normal skin types who are looking for ultra hydration. For dry skin, regular use of the serum will result in instant rehydration and smoother complexion.
Minimalist Expert’s Advice
Often people with oily skin think they do not need hydration, but that is the total opposite of reality. Hydration is the key to balance oil in your skin. When your skin is not hydrated, the hyperactive sebaceous glands of people with oily skin produce excess oil to compensate for water loss.
The BFFs of Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid prepares the base for other water-based serums and thereby boosting their absorption. Apply Hyaluronic acid serum (not cream-based moisturizers) before Vitamin C serums as hydrated skin quickly absorbs Vitamin C compared to dry skin.
Follow these step by step process to layer Hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C serums:
Vitamin C, when used with Hyaluronic Acid, provides a complete anti-aging solution. Vitamin C effectively reduces photo-damage, and HA reduces the signs of anti-aging, resulting in a brighter, visibly hydrated smooth skin
Hyaluronic acid with pro-Vitamin B5 replenishes lost moisture and balances skin moisture for a flawless complexion. Vit B5 provides surface hydration by pulling water from the air, resulting in instant plump skin, and HA provides in-depth hydration for a long-lasting effect.
Does not go along with
None! Yes, HA does not interact with any of the skincare ingredients and can safely be combined with any of your daily or treatment serums.
Always use Hyaluronic acid serum first before applying other face serums.
Side-effects of using Hyaluronic Acid
Since our body also makes Hyaluronic acid, chances of it having side effects or irritation are pretty slim. It is likely safe when taken by mouth, through creams, serums, or by injections. However, specific rare varieties of HA that contain increased levels of hyaluronic acid may result in inflammatory skin diseases like Psoriasis.
Often, it is available as water-based formulation, so it does not cause any purging or breakout.
When opting for HA in lotion or cream, make sure you choose a light non-comedogenic formula.
Minimalist 2% Hyaluronic acid + B5 serum is made with Aloe Vera juice instead of water, giving additional calming and soothing effects for sensitive and acne-prone skin.
I am 25 plus, can I use this serum?
The Hyaluronic Acid Serum can be used by anyone (male, female, bi) above the age of 25. Since Hyaluronic acid is a hydrating booster, it works well with any skin type whether the skin is sensitive, oily, or prone to breakouts.
Since, at a younger age, your body can quickly replenish the HA levels in the skin, you will need topical application after your mid-20’s.
If you have dry skin or dry patches at a younger age, we suggest consulting your dermatologist for the right course of treatment.
Other forms of Hyaluronic Acid
Taking HA supplements enhances hydration while quickly absorbing moisture into the skin. It increases skin elasticity, boosts collagen, and improves skin texture. Due to its moisturizing effect and consistency, it is widely distributed and promoted as a super-hydrating supplement.
HA can be applied topically through creams and serums or ingested by dermatologists as fillers. Regular use of HA (around 120-240 mg per day) for four weeks have shown significant improvement in skin texture and dryness.
There have been multiple studies on the types of HA and its effectuality. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology states that regular use of HA improved hydration, reduced acne, and transepidermal water loss.
If you are not looking to invest thousands of injections, buying yourself a bottle of Hyaluronic acid will revitalize your skin. There is a lot of difference between serums and creams in terms of their effectiveness.
A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, showed that daily application of serums compared to their baseline resulted in an improvement in signs of aging, wrinkles explicitly around the eyes and fine lines.
Of Course, there have not been large scale clinical trials, but few that claim topical HA, especially serums, are effective without any side effects.