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Everything you need to know about hyaluronic acid

What is hyaluronic acid? How does it work? And who should be including it in their skincare routine?

What is hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid has taken center stage in the skincare world – it is a highly praised ingredient in countless products, and rightly so. Hyaluronic acid is produced naturally by the body and is one of our skin’s NMFs (Natural Moisturising Factors). NMFs are produced by the body to keep our skin moisturised and effective at its protective barrier function. Other NMFs include amino acids, fatty acids and urea.

What does hyaluronic acid do for the skin?

Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means it can attract and retain water. It has an exceptional capacity to attract approximately 1000x its weight in water, making it a highly effective skin hydrator. 

In the skin, water is stored in the dermis – the deepest layer – which is also home to our beloved skin structure proteins collagen and elastin. When our skin is adequately hydrated, water travels from the dermis to the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin. When our skin lacks moisture, it feels dry and rough. Our outer skin cells are held together with less integrity and therefore flake, which can be itchy and uncomfortable. The skin barrier function is compromised, and the deeper cells are more susceptible to infection.

How to incorporate hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine

Hyaluronic acid is available in many serum and toner formulations. Applying a hyaluronic acid serum to clean, slightly damp skin will allow maximum moisture to be retained in the outer layers of the epidermis. We need to combine humectants like hyaluronic acid with emollients (lipid-based moisturising ingredients) which will lock in the hyaluronic acid, reduce the evaporation of moisture from the skin, as well as impart a softening and smoothing effect on the skin’s surface. 

How often should you use hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is safe to use every day, morning and night. In the daytime, always be sure to combine your hyaluronic acid serum with your daily sunscreen to give your skin protection from UV rays from the sun. If your skin is especially dry, at night-time try sealing hyaluronic acid serum with a facial oil or oil-based night cream. Exfoliating the dead skin cells away prior to application will optimise absorption and reveal a glowing complexion. 

What skin type is hyaluronic acid good for?

The hydrating effect of hyaluronic acid means it is a great ingredient to be used on most skin types. Its hydrating properties make it perfect for skin that is prone to dryness and dehydration. It is also gentle enough to be used on the most sensitive of skins, and non-comedogenic so suitable for use on oily and blemish-prone skin too.

It may feel wrong using such a moisturising ingredient on oily skin but remember, oily skin has an excess of oil, not hydration. In many cases, the skin can overproduce its natural oils to compensate for dehydration which results in breakouts and clogged pores. Keeping your skin moisturised, both through drinking fluids and adopting a moisturising skincare routine, will help balance oil production levels and reduce the instance of breakouts. 

Which hyaluronic acid product is best for you?

If you're interested in learning more about hyaluronic acid, or adding this into your skincare routine, our team of Renude experts are here to help. To receive a personalised skincare routine, unique to your needs and budget, join Renude today.

Ashiana Fraser
Ashiana Fraser
MSc Cosmetic scientist