It’s not surprising that hyaluronic acid is a skincare ingredient that crops up in everything from the best foundation to the best eye cream. A hero when it comes to hydrating, plumping and protecting skin from environmental stressors, hyaluronic acid is the wonder ingredient we simply can’t do without.
And neither, it seems, can the rest of the nation.
Because hyaluronic acid is officially the UK’s most popular skincare ingredient – with Google reporting a 400% increase in searches for the moisture-retaining active.
And we have a hunch that lockdown might have something to do with it. The stress of the past few months, coupled with limited exercise, changes in diet and a lack of sunlight is, unsurprisingly, wreaking havoc on our skin. Even wearing a face mask for too long can irritate more sensitive complexions.
So what better way to treat our skin to some R&R and get it back to its former, plump self than a skincare ingredient that can retain 1000 times its own weight in water in just one molecule? (Yes, really.)
What does hyaluronic acid do?
Don’t let the word “acid” put you off. Unlike the chemical exfoliant kinds of acids, hyaluronic acid is a hydrator that works to keep the skin plump and supple. Feeling like a soothing gel on the skin, the moisture-binding ingredient has been scientifically proven to improve hydration and production of collagen (hence its popular presence in anti-aging skincare), maintain skin elasticity, and even provide antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits that can help with healing wounds.
Hyaluronic acid actually occurs naturally in the skin – it’s just that our supply depletes as we age, which is, in turn, expedited by environmental stressors like pollution.
So effective is hyaluronic acid in deep layer hydration that cosmetic surgeons inject it as a form of dermal filler into sunken areas of the skin.
But there’s no need to reach for the injectables to feel the full plumping effects of the ingredient. A great serum, moisturiser, eye cream and even foundation should also work a treat.