Every question you've ever had about hyaluronic acid, answered

If there was ever a time that skin was in need of a hyaluronic acid hydration boost, it is now. COVID-19 saw us spending the bulk of our time indoors and now that restrictions have eased, winter is upon us. 

The increased exposure to air conditioning and heating, depletes skin of essential moisture. Combined with cooler temperatures and low levels of humidity in the air which further draws moisture away from the skin, exacerbates dryness and irritation.

Enter indispensable skincare staple - hyaluronic acid (HA). When moisture is zapped from our complexion, the best line of defence is HA, an ingredient known for its waterretention properties and ability to attract moisture to the skin.

However, its hydrating and age-defying abilities depend on its capacity to descend into skin's deeper layers and many forms of HA in skincare may not be delivering maximum benefits.

BD spoke with mesoestetic Pharma Group international trainer, Cristina Casaldáliga, to get the 411 about all things hyaluronic acid.

Can you explain what hyaluronic acid (HA) is and how it benefits skin?

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a predominant component of the extracellular matrix, the space between skin cells that conditions their status and functionality. It is a hydrophilic molecule that can retain 1,000 times its weight in water, and provides tissues with viscoelastic properties, present in cartilages, eyes and in particular the skin (50%). HA levels are key to ensure essential skin functions and biomechanical properties: elasticity and plasticity.

Does our skin lose HA as we age? How does this impact the appearance of skin?

Definitely. The role of some intrinsic (age) and extrinsic factors (sun, environmental factors, stress, pollution) reduces the presence of HA in the skin, worsening the quality of HA synthesised naturally and speeding up its degradation, which results in a loss of hydration, elasticity, tissue atrophy and the premature appearance of wrinkles.

Can you describe the different types of HA commonly used in skincare?

There are two main types of hyaluronic acid used in skincare: cross-linked and free. The cross-linked HA is an injectable product, and it provides volume immediately (fillers). In addition, it helps to maintain the barrier function and prevent transepidermal water loss.

For its part, the non-crosslinked HA (free), depending on the molecular weight and if applied daily, has more ability to penetrate the skin and provide it with a moisturising, anti-ageing and plumping action.

mesoestetic ha densimatrix® has multi-molecular weights of HA - can you please describe what this means and how this works in the skin?

ha densimatrix® complex combines multi-molecular HA which gives the ability to help provide, stimulate and protect its presence in key skin layers:

- Stratum corneum: cross-linked HA for greater resistance to degradation and water retention capacity, and high molecular weight (1.8- 2.2 MDa), a large molecule which acts in the outermost layer of the epidermis.
- Stratum spinosum: average molecular weight (300 KDa), which penetrates the middle layers of the epidermis.
- Basal layer: low molecular weight (50-20 KDa). With depth of action, it penetrates the innermost layers of the epidermis.

Is HA a molecule that degrades? How do you protect against this?

Yes. The role of some factors such as age, sun, environmental components and stress leads to a reduction in the presence of hyaluronic acid in the skin, worsening its quality and accelerating its degradation. To help prevent this, it is important to have a healthy lifestyle and use broad spectrum sunscreen protection every day of the year. 

How important is it to incorporate HA in skincare as you age?

Hydration is an essential step in any skincare regime, regardless of age, sex, lifestyle, and skin type. However, as you age, the presence and the quality of HA in the skin is reduced naturally, so a high-moisturising and high-quality treatment like ha densimatrix® fits perfectly in an aged skin beauty routine.

Now you're across the importance of this wonder ingredient, BD has rounded up product recommendations to add to your shopping list, stat:

mesoestetic ha densimatrix® - This facial concentrate from mesoestetic leaves skin feeling moisturised and oh so plump. Its innovative formula combines hyaluronic acid in several molecular forms to help provide, stimulate and protect its presence in key layers of the skin. It has three unique complexes that provide synergistic mechanisms of action in our skin: contribution, protection and stimulation of hyaluronic acid and elastic fibres. ha densimatrix® also provides a moisturising and regenerating effect which helps skin recover from external aggressions, such as peelings, depigmenting treatments, fillers or facial mesotherapy.

Clarins Super Restorative Day Cream - This cream from Clarins seeks to restore and hydrate the skin. It combines harungana extract with mineral pigments and stabilised vitamin C derivative for a healthy-glow effect. It has also been formulated with double molecular weight hyaluronic acid, shea butter and mango butter for hydration.

CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum - Contains a high concentration of hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides, to help maintain skin's natural protective barrier and vitamin B5 to soothe dry skin. This daily-use serum supplies the skin with up to 24 hours of moisture and nourishment and has a unique cream to gel texture, perfect for dry, dehydrated skin.

DB Cosmetics Hydrate & Soothe Aloe Burst Sheet Mask with Hyaluronic Acid - This easy-to-use sheet mask contains aloe vera extract to help soothe and moisturise skin, hyaluronic acid to promote hydration and sea water to assist with repair. The highly potent serum helps to penetrate the skin and delivers intense moisture for plump, youthful looking skin.

Trilogy Hyaluronic Acid + Booster Treatment - This intensely hydrating water-gel serum is enriched with antioxidants for dry and dehydrated skin. With natural hyaluronic acid to plump, hydrate and smooth skin. Super antioxidants acerola cherry and schisandra help fight free radical damage, while aloe vera, rosehip oil and ginseng nourish and boost overall skin health. 

Essano Concentrated Serum Intense Hydration - Hyaluronic Acid - This hydrating serum plumps the skin with a multi-depth formulation that soothes dryness and dehydration. Skin is left rejuvenated and plumped by restoring natural moisture, resulting in healthier, smooth and supple skin.

L'Oréal Paris® Revitalift Filler [+Hyaluronic Acid] Replumping Night Moisturiser - Contains the highest concentration of hyaluronic acid ever formulated in a L'Oréal Paris cream, to gradually replump skin. Also enriched with galanga, a firming extract of plant origin, its exclusive formula fills wrinkles and replumps the skin for a smoother, revolumised appearance. 

A’kin Kangaroo Paw Flower & Hyaluronic Acid Age-Defy Face Sheet Mask - This bio-degradable, lightweight and soft sheet mask is infused with the power of Australian kangaroo paw flower extract to combat lines and wrinkles and leave skin looking firm and rejuvenated. Hyaluronic acid helps to smooth the skin’s surface, forming a protective barrier against environmental stresses and providing intense hydration, while the potent antioxidant properties of camu camu extract work to increase skin firmness and elasticity.

Garnier Hydra Bomb Eye Tissue Mask - Orange Extract and Hyaluronic Acid - This hydrating, cooling eye tissue mask is formulated with orange extract, recognised for its antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, hydrating and refreshing benefits. The eye mask is also rich in vitamin C, A and minerals to provide a bomb of cooling hydration for the eyes.

La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Ageing Serum - This anti-wrinkle solution intensely hydrates and replumps sensitive skin. It has a fresh, hydrating water gel texture, which is enriched with pure hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5 and madecassoside.