If you’re a label reader, you may have noticed that hyaluronic acid features in your moisturizer and favorite serums, among a host of other skincare products. That’s not a coincidence. It should be an integral part of your daily skincare regimen. That’s because hyaluronic acid, a sugar molecule that occurs naturally in the skin, binds to water to plump up your skin and give it that fresh, dewy look. And that’s just the beginning.
Technically, hyaluronic acid helps bind water to collagen, trapping it in the skin. Essentially, the collagen in our dermis forms the structure of the skin. Natural hyaluronic acid is bound to collagen on one side and it links to water molecules on the other. The effect is plumper-looking, more hydrated skin.
Should I be using hyaluronic acid?
As we age, we lose collagen and hyaluronic acid naturally, which makes it easier for our skin to become dehydrated. Pile on harsh weather, certain skincare products, and underlying skin conditions that can cause tiny breaks in the protective skin barrier, allowing water to escape. That’s why moisturizing products can be beneficial as we enter our thirties, and beyond.
If you tend to have dry skin, regardless of your age, you could also stand to benefit from hyaluronic acid.
What makes it easy to recommend, beyond its unique ability to lock in moisture, is its versatility. It works just as well for all skin types. Generally, hyaluronic acid is nonirritating, and it doesn’t trigger acne, rosacea, or allergic skin reactions. If you do experience an adverse side effect from using a product with hyaluronic acid, see a board-certified dermatologist. It could be because of another active or inactive ingredient.
What about hyaluronic acid fillers?
Hyaluronic acid also comes in a growing range of dermal fillers. Here, it takes the shape of a gel that, once injected, attracts water to regenerate volume and recreate lost structure. In doing so, the filler helps reduce the overall sunken or sagging look of the face. It also softens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
These fillers are used most commonly for nasolabial folds, marionette lines (those folds that run vertically from the corners of the mouth to the chin), cheek augmentation, under-eyes, lips, and the top of the hands. While the 10 hyaluronic acid fillers currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration are made up of the same ingredient, they vary in density, lift-ability, and longevity. Once you’ve discussed your concern and expectations for the treatment with a dermatologist, they’ll discuss your options to ensure you get the right one for you.
For patients trying hyaluronic acid fillers for the first time, it can be reassuring to know the fillers are reversible. So, if you’re not happy with the results, or there was a minor complication during the procedure, your dermatologist can insert an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which will dissolve the filler within a matter of minutes.