MECCApedia is here to decode the science, unravel the jargon and give you the knowledge to understand the actives you're slathering on morning and night. Let your skincare education commence!
Plump, juicy, hydrated skin – we all want it. The ingredient to get you there? Hyaluronic acid. This hydrating hero (pronounced hi-uh-ler-on-ick) is like a big drink of H2O for your complexion; a magical moisture magnet that attracts water to the skin and holds it there. While dull, dry, dehydrated skin in dire need of drink will undoubtedly benefit from this water-boosting ingredient, hyaluronic acid can be splashed on at any time for a natural, beaming glow. MECCA’s skincare education manager, Lucy Shaw, explains why hyaluronic acid should be in everyone’s routine, regardless of your skin type.
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.
The benefits of hyaluronic acid (and why to apply it to damp skin)
“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.”
Which skin types can use hyaluronic acid?
All skin types can use hyaluronic acid, 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. Remember, everyone’s skin is different so it is still important to patch test before use.