October 04 2022 – Stanley Wilhelm
No one can argue the new buzz word in the skin care industry is Hyaluronic Acid. But how exactly does this so-called “miracle ingredient” work and what's the difference between the $20 version and the $120?
Let's break it down. But to do that we have to recognize that there is a HUGE difference in dry skin and dehydrated skin. They may present similarly, However, if not treated properly, they can lead to many other problems within the skin. Remember keeping our skin's barrier healthy is our first goal.
Dry skin is a lack of oil, your body can make more oil to try and correct the situation, but more oil can lead to acne. So, it is best to regulate our oil production and the best way to do that is to make sure we are using an appropriate moisturizer. Also, keep in mind your skin’s needs can change, depending on the time of year. It is very common to use a light moisturizer in the summer and a thicker cream in the winter. Most skincare lines have sister products that can be interchanged based on the time of year for this reason. Our favorite at Totality Skincare is interchanging Obagi Hydrate and Obagi Hydrate Luxe (thicker, richer formula) as the seasons change. Dehydrated skin is lacking hydration, what we mean by that is water. Increasing water intake is always a great start, however our internal organs are going to take what they need first. Remember the skin is the body's largest organ, and the last to receive anything that we ingest orally…water included. Our solution to this is…. drumroll please…. hyaluronic acid!!! All right, let's get a little sciencey…
What is Hyaluronic Acid or HA? When we hear the word Acid associated with a skincare product, we naturally assume it is going to cause some sort of exfoliation, however it's actually the opposite in this case, HA is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies, we use it for lubrication in our joints and it keeps our tissue hydrated. HA is also commonly found in dermal fillers including lip, cheek, and under eye filler. It is such a hydration powerhouse that it can hold up to 1,000x its own weight in water.
Now who should be using HA? To keep it simple everyone. HA is such a smart molecule that it can self-regulate and when applied topically your skin will only absorb what it needs, so there is no risk! We sometimes hear that oily skin ages slower, and while that is not necessarily true what we are noticing is that oily skin tends to show the effects of aging less than dry skin. While the goal is to never aim for oily skin the same can be said for well hydrated skin. Skin appears more subtle, wrinkles and fine lines are less visible, and tone appears more even. What if you aren't concerned with aging yet ( who isn’t..) as we mentioned earlier HA is incredibly important when it comes to a healthy skin barrier, for example have you ever felt oily and dry at the same time, odds are you were oily and dehydrated, your moisture levels were fine but your hydration is where you were struggling, no matter how much moisturizer you apply the problem won't be fixed. Fixing hydration is key. Without addressing the root of the problem your body will continue to try and fix the problem, it does this by producing more oil, more oil leads to…you guessed it more acne, and it is a vicious cycle.
When do we use HA? To keep things simple a rule of thumb is to always apply your HA right before your moisturizing step, remember we still need a moisturier because HA is a hydrator not a moisturizer. In cooler months I like this product morning and night, it immediately makes the skin feel so soft and subtle. In warmer months I will personally use this product at night so I can layer on my SPF with no issue of pilling.
What HA product is best for you, to determine this I'm going to break it into 3 categories, good, better, and best.
Why we love it- this combination product contains sodium hyaluronate, the most commonly used form of Hyaluronic acid. Helps hydrate and plump the look of skin, it also contains ingredients like Witch Hazel | Mild astringent helps to condition skin and balance oil production and Lecithin | A conditioning, plant-based extract that deeply nourishes skin and helps restore hydration
Why we love it-This smoothing blend of ingredients provides deep, long-lasting hydration on three levels: on the surface, deeper in the skin and by increasing the skin’s own hyaluronic acid production.
Instant hydration and smoothing on the surface of the skin
Deeper hydration and fine line reduction with the addition of hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid
Proprietary blend HA-Pro ComplexTM encourages the skin to create its own hyaluronic acid, resulting in long-term anti-aging and hydration
Why we love it- Skin Medica really hit the nail on the head with this formulation. So far HA has come across as the perfect ingredient right… well it has one tiny flaw. The molecular size of HA is too large to penetrate deep into the skin, so as great as it feels on the surface of our skin it could be doing so much more. Here is where this product shines. The medical grade formula pairs HA with different “vehicle” products to carry the HA molecule deep into the skin where it actually tells our cells to produce more of our own HA. causing a change on a cellular level, rather than just topical. This hyaluronic acid serum also helps minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Five forms of hyaluronic acid work to immediately smooth skin and provide eight hours of continuous hydration. This hyaluronic acid serum is also the only product on the market that helps the skin replenish its natural supply of hyaluronic acid. The result is healthier and more beautiful skin. With regular use, you’ll see an improvement in the appearance of uneven texture, roughness, fine lines and wrinkles.