THE IN-TRAY

A guide to hyaluronic acid (and why it belongs in your routine)

PLUMP, JUICY, HYDRATED SKIN – WE ALL WANT IT. THE INGREDIENT TO GET YOU THERE? HYALURONIC ACID – THE TRUE HERO OF THE SKINCARE WORLD. WE RECENTLY SPOKE TO MECCA’S SKINCARE EDUCATION MANAGER, LUCY SHAW, ABOUT WHY IT SHOULD BE IN EVERYONE’S ROUTINE, REGARDLESS OF YOUR SKIN TYPE. READ MORE BELOW.

WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID?

To put simply, it’s a water-loving molecule also known as a humectant. Humectants (think: humidity) are masters at attracting and binding water; probably one of the most popular facts about hyaluronic acid is its ability to hold 1000 times its own weight in water – impressive! This means it not only keeps water content within the skin, but when it expands the result is skin that’s plump and smoothed.

According to Shaw, our skin is pretty clever. So clever that it produces its own hyaluronic acid to bind moisture and create lubrication, particularly around joints, in the skin and eyes. “As our skin knows and recognises hyaluronic acid, it’s very compatible, which means it won’t shock or irritate your skin – and it’ll be put to good use,” explains Shaw.

Our pick

The latest addition from Mecca Cosmetica: a Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum. It’s bursting with all the skin-quenching hyaluronic acid you need – plus, niacinamide and aloe. It contains an optimal blend of 1.06% hyaluronic acid and hyaluronate — hyaluronic acid’s most effective concentration — which means your skin can reap the hydrating benefits without the risk of irritation.

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THE BENEFITS (AND WHY TO APPLY IT TO DAMP SKIN)

You might’ve come across the odd sticky-feeling hyaluronic acid – it’s an ingredient that’s notorious for feeling this way, which is why it can so easily grab onto water. However, choosing a hyaluronic serum over a moisturiser means it has a better chance of absorbing – and you can apply something else on top to help counteract any tacky feeling.

“The most important thing when it comes to applying hyaluronic acid is ensuring that you don’t apply it to dry skin, as it’ll sit on the surface and have a reverse effect and draw moisture out,” starts Shaw. “Make sure the skin is damp by applying an essence, toner or mist first, then follow with your hyaluronic acid serum; this’ll boost its hydrating benefits and trap this moisture for long-lasting hydration.”

Our pick

Simple, effective hyaluronic acid at its best, the Susanne Kaufmann Hyaluron Serum Moisturising harnesses multiple molecular weights of hyaluronic acid to target layers deeper in the skin as well as the surface layers.

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CAN ANYONE USE HYALURONIC ACID?

Yes! Especially if you’re more on the sensitive side, says Shaw. “Hyaluronic acid is ideal for somebody with sensitive skin as it will help to prevent trans-epidermal-water-loss (TEWL) and therefore strengthen a sensitive skin barrier.”

The most important thing to keep in mind with sensitive skin is that its barrier is compromised, so it’s important to supplement not only water and water-binding ingredients, but also lipids and oils which help to reinforce the barrier and create a protective water-tight seal.

Shaw also suggests pairing hyaluronic acid with lactic acid: “lactic acid is similar in that it is water-binding, plus it exfoliates the skin for a refined complexion. If you’re oily or acne prone, don’t starve your skin of hydration and moisture — all skin types require hydration.”

Our pick

111SKIN’s Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Booster Serum has everything you love (and look for) in a hyaluronic acid product: it plumps, softens and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines caused by dehydration. It also has the added benefit of niacinamide, a does-it-all ingredient which improves skin texture, balances oil production and strengthens a weakened skin barrier.

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