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How Hyaluronic Acid Benefits Skin

1/15/2016

In This Article:

In the world of skincare, trendy ingredients come and go—many should never have showed up in the first place! Hyaluronic acid is NOT one of those ingredients. Quite the contrary, it’s one of the most extraordinarily beneficial ingredients for all skin types.

Simply put, hyaluronic acid has powerful anti-aging properties and it is also one of the premier hydrating ingredients for skin, even for oily or breakout-prone skin.

So, just how does this superstar ingredient work to deliver supple, healthy-looking, and less-lined skin? The answer is based on the science of skin, and is truly remarkable.

How Does Hyaluronic Acid Benefit Skin?

Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan, a fancy name for a vital natural substance that’s a youth-supporting part of skin. As the chief glycosaminoglycan in skin, hyaluronic acid works to keep every aspect of skin stable, safeguarded, and constantly renewed. It also has the stunning capacity to attract and hold vast amounts of moisture for skin.

This science-based magic lies in hyaluronic acid’s ability to replenish moisture, a lot of moisture! One gram (0.03 ounce) of hyaluronic acid can hold up to six liters of water. Now that really is mind-blowing! Even more impressive is that hyaluronic acid can do this for skin without tipping the scales and giving skin too much water, which, surprisingly, can be a problem for skin.

Hyaluronic acid’s moisture-binding characteristic is exceptionally important when it comes to skin aging. One of the qualities of youthful skin is its ability to hold water and retain a balanced amount of moisture. As we age, our skin loses this ability to maintain this vital, plumping moisture as well as it once did, resulting in a loss of firmness, pliability, and a decreased appearance of plumpness and suppleness.

Hyaluronic acid can enhance moisture content beyond comparison with anything else, and at the same time revitalize skin’s outer layers so they look and feel softer, smoother, and, especially, radiantly hydrated! That’s how it instantly improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

That would be plenty, but we love that there are even more benefits—hyaluronic acid goes beyond offering a more resilient, hydrated appearance, as we explain below.

Hyaluronic Acid to the Rescue

Our skin suffers from unprotected sun exposure (daily SPF is a must!), harsh skincare ingredients and environmental assault—they can all can weaken the surface of skin. Hyaluronic acid’s replenishing properties go a long way toward mitigating those issues, especially when used as part of a complete anti-aging routine that also includes other proven ingredients.

In our research, we also discovered another fascinating aspect of hyaluronic acid—it even surprised us. It turns out that hyaluronic acid also provides an antioxidant defense against environmental assault. Now that’s what we call a multitasking anti-aging ingredient!

As you can see, hyaluronic acid is phenomenally helpful for all skin types. If you have oily or combination skin, hyaluronic acid in a pure fluid solution is ideal. These formulas have an exceptionally lightweight texture that feels weightless on skin, even though you’re getting concentrated moisture-restoring benefits.

Hyaluronic acid is also incredibly gentle for even the most sensitive, redness-prone skin. In fact, its positive influence on skin’s surface is due in part to its natural calming benefit, which means it can help sensitive skin as well as blemish-prone skin.

Hyaluronic Acid and Sodium Hyaluronate

In addition to hyaluronic acid, you may have seen the similarly named sodium hyaluronate on a skincare ingredient list. There indeed is a connection: Sodium hyaluronate is a salt derived from hyaluronic acid. It has all the benefits of hyaluronic acid, but with one extra advantage, in that it is more easily absorbed than hyaluronic acid.

In no way does this make one better than the other—in fact, we think it’s great if a product contains both so your skin can reap the benefits on multiple levels. There are indeed products that include both, but because hyaluronic acid is more expensive, sodium hyaluronate tends to show up more often in skincare products.

Note: Some companies utilize what’s called low molecular weight hyaluronic acid. Regular hyaluronic acid is larger, which explains why it remains on skin’s outer surface; making it smaller means it can reach further into skin’s uppermost layers for visibly enhanced results.

Adding Hyaluronic Acid to Your Routine

Now that you know how hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate can benefit skin, you’re wondering how we’ve incorporated these special ingredients into our products. As you may have guessed, Paula’s Choice Skincare often includes both of these ingredients in our toner, moisturizer, booster, and serum formulations.

For all skin types, our RESIST Hyaluronic Acid Booster is indispensible for its line-smoothing, hydrating properties, without a heavy feel. This special formula layers beautifully with other products in your routine, and can even be used around the eyes. (Watch out, crow’s-feet and dehydrated skin!)

For dry skin, you’ll find our RESIST Intensive Repair Cream’s rich, retinol-spiked formula ideal for a dose of wrinkle-softening moisture from sodium hyaluronate, ceramides, and peptides.

Interested in some serious beauty sleep? Our Radiance Renewal Mask combines plumping sodium hyaluronate with niacinamide, vitamin C, and top-tier hydrating ingredients. Its innovative formula and lush texture revive skin’s smooth glow overnight! Pair this mask with RESIST Brightening Essence to banish dull skin and an uneven skin tone, while supplying skin with hyaluronic acid and its numerous benefits!

The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here: The same type of in-depth scientific research used to create this article is also used to formulate Paula’s Choice Skincare products. You’ll find products for all skin types and a range of concerns, from acne and sensitive skin to wrinkles, pores, and sun damage. With Paula’s Choice Skincare, you can get (and keep) the best skin of your life! Learn more at Shop Paula's Choice.

References for this information:

Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, October 2012, pages 20–23; and March 2009, pages 38–43
Dermato-endocrinology, July 2012, pages 253–258
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, September 2011, pages 990–1000
International Journal of Toxicology, July–August 2009, pages 5–67

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

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