Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by our bodies. You can find large amounts of it in our skin, eyes and connective tissues. Its primary function is to retain water to keep our tissues and joints well lubricated.
Its incredible ability to hold 1000 times its weight in water allows skin to retain moisture and collagen to stretch without snapping.
As we age, our body naturally produces less Hyaluronic Acid, resulting in a loss of skin volume and skin elasticity. For this reason, Hyaluronic acid is undoubtedly one of the most popular ingredients in the skincare world today. Some people take it as a supplement, but it’s also widely used in serums and moisturizers.
However, some people have reported adverse effects with Hyaluronic acid such as dryness, breakouts and itchy skin.
Why are some people experiencing adverse effects with hyaluronic acid? Let's find out!
Side effects of Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic Acid needs moisture and humidity to work effectively. When Hyaluronic Acid is applied to the skin in environments with low humidity, it draws moisture from the deeper layers of skin and brings it to the surface, leaving the skin feeling more dry.
In environments with high a level of humidity, Hyaluronic Acid can draw moisture from the air and trap it onto the skin, thus improving skin hydration and elasticity.
Hyaluronic acid is non comedogenic and is generally suitable for people with acne. However, when the skin is too dry, it will tend to over produce oil to compensate for the dryness and this can lead to breakouts.
The Best time to Apply Hyaluronic Acid
It is always a good idea to apply Hyaluronic Acid serums to damp skin and seal it with a good moisturiser to provide long lasting hydration.
Sodium Hyaluronate vs Hyaluronic Acid
Sodium hyaluronate and Hyaluronic acid are used interchangeably but these are vastly different.
Sodium Hyaluronate is the salt form of Hyaluronic Acid. Sodium hyaluronate is of smaller molecular weight and is water-soluble, allowing for deeper penetration and greater moisture retention. Hyaluronic Acid draws water from the surrounding environment to provide surface hydration and reduce trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL).
For optimal results, it is best to combine both sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid in the same skincare formulation get the best of both worlds. This works well for intensely dry skin.
Author: Helen Huynh B. Pharm MPS
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Pavicic, T et al. "Efficacy of cream-based novel formulations of Hyaluronic Acid of different molecular weights in anti-wrinkle treatment". Journal of Drugs and Dermatology (2011) Sep;10(9):990-1000.