It’s winter: The nights are long, the air is cold, and, thanks to that pesky central heating, your skin is drier than ever. For those of us with naturally dry skin, all year round it can be particularly troublesome, with skin cracking and flaking without us even having to touch our faces. So what do we do when the switch between the cold outside and warm dry radiator heat indoors is inevitable, increasing dryness and flakiness further? Enter hyaluronic acid, among the best skin care treatments for dry and sensitive skin.
What is Hyaluronic acid and how does it benefit the skin?
Hyaluronic acid (or HA) is one of skincare’s most powerful acids - naturally found in the body, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, and one gram can hold up to six liters of water. HA helps to keep your skin looking plump and hydrated. However, our natural production of hyaluronic acid decreases as we age, so topical hyaluronic acid can be very useful in skincare.
Once hyaluronic acid serum is applied, not only do the large molecules that make up its’ chemical structure help to bind moisture to your outermost layers of skin and fill in any developing wrinkles to aid to a youthful glow, but can also help heal surface wounds such as dry spots on the skin and any damaged skin where flakiness occurs, and ease any associated pain.
As hyaluronic acid holds water, it provides a hydrated skin barrier, which is less prone to flaky or scaly skin. While helping to repair the skin barrier, HA also smooths out skin, reducing flakiness, and can be beneficial for those with more extreme dryness and conditions like eczema or rosacea, soothing redness.
What are the three types of hyaluronic acid?
There are three main types of hyaluronic acid that you need to know about - all with slightly different benefits and uses:
Hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid - is hyaluronic acid broken down into small enough particles that it can penetrate the skin. It provides some moisturizing benefits but is better suited for those with oily or combination skin who don’t want to over-moisturize.
Sodium hyaluronate - this is the version that goes deeper into the layers of the skin and delivers better but shorter-lasting results than hydrolyzed HA. This is the kind of HA that you’ll typically find in most serums and is best for normal skin types, where the skin doesn’t need a long-lasting or heavy-duty treatment as much as other skin types
Sodium acetylated hyaluronate - is the true star of the show when it comes to treating dry flaky skin, and retaining moisture in the skin. It provides the benefits of deep moisture while also having longer-lasting results than sodium hyaluronate, making it equally ideal for dry skin, those who want more hydration in the winter months, or those who live in drier climates.
What are the side effects of Hyaluronic acid? What should I not mix it with?
As topical hyaluronic acid is so similar to natural hyaluronic acid and other substances found in the body, there are few side effects to applying it to your face, and any reaction is likely to be from a preservative or other ingredient in the serum, rather than the acid itself. The other exception to this is those who have hyaluronic acid used as filler in cosmetic procedures, though these reports of side effects are thought to largely be the result of the injection used rather than the hyaluronic acid itself.
Even though it is generally safe to mix hyaluronic acid with other serums, it is also worth noting a couple of key points both when purchasing and mixing your hyaluronic acid. Firstly, is to make sure where alcohol is in the list of ingredients, as ingredients with the highest concentrations are listed first, in descending order.
The first six ingredients are key, but we don’t recommend purchasing a HA serum if alcohol is in those first six, as it tends to dry out the skin further rather than add moisture. Fragrance is also worth avoiding as it can cause breakouts and disrupt already sensitive skin. Additionally, those with eczema or rosacea may want to patch test their serum before use to make sure that it doesn’t cause irritation.
Caution aside, it is incredibly beneficial for all skin types, and is a powerful and valuable stage of any skincare routine, particularly as we age.
Which Type of Serum is Best for Dry and Flaky Skin?
Cos de Baha's Hyaluronic Acid Serum is known to help retain moisture which results in a brighter and more even skin tone. The brand is well known for their affordable and effective serums with high quality ingredients that address several skincare concerns. It is currently one of the most popular serums with hyaluronic acid on Amazon due to it's price at $10. The hyaluronic acid serum promises to hydrate the skin, restore a youthful appearance, and minimize the look of pores.
A moisturizing serum that leaves skin plump and moisturized due to its three main hydrating ingredients. Hydrium Triple Hyaluronic Moisture Ampoule from COSRX also contains ingredients like panthenol to help maintain a supple, moisturized complexion during the cold weather. Lastly, Centella asiatica extrac and the Madecassoside compounds provide mild moisture for sensitive and dry skin.
Hyaluronic Acid Water Essence from Isntree includes 8 different types of hyaluronic acid which is combined with Opuntia seed oil, Betaine, Sodium PCA and Panthenol. The large sized molecules of Hyaluronic acid are included in the serum to create a protective barrier on the skin's surface in order to prevent water loss while the small sized molecules are easily absorbed in the deepest layers of the skin to aid firmness and add hydration.