The Deal on Hyaluronic Acid and What It Does For Your Skin

Victoria Moorhouse
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nensuria / Getty Images

nensuria / Getty Images

You want your moisturizer to be packed with key ingredients that will help you to really get the job done. Apart from morning and evening sessions, no one wants to constantly reapply moisturizer throughout the day—on top of makeup, at the office? No, thanks. Honestly, that might be a clue that it’s not working. Since we all know hydrated skin is happy skin (punny, but true), it’s important that you’re using a product on the reg that can really work.

Lately, we’ve been seeing a certain ingredient pop up on the formulation lists of many, many moisturizers that’s worked up a reputation for being a showstopper in giving your skin a healthy hydration balance. It’s called hyaluronic acid—and we consulted an expert to find out why it’s being used in so many skin care products and what exactly it does for your skin.

MORE: The Best Moisturizers For Every Skin Type

It makes sense that we’re seeing so many hyaluronic acid mentions, as the product works to pull in moisture to your skin. Dr. Heidi Waldorf, Director of Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, explains that the ingredient is what is classified as a humectant when it is placed in skin care products. What’s this, you ask? “That means it pulls in moisture from the environment and the deeper skin below into the outer stratum corneum,” says Dr. Waldorf.

The outer stratum corneum is the outer most layer of your skin, so this ingredient helps penetrate this moisture into that.

“Hyaluronic acid is a potent humectant so by pulling in hydration you can get a plumping effect. That way the skin looks better temporarily,” explains Dr. Waldrof.

While this ingredient helps target the appearance of your skin (probably one of the main things you’re thinking about when applying any type of skin care line to your face or elsewhere), it has further benefits.

“The second benefit is that skin that is well-moisturized tends to not only look better but it feels better and functions better—cells turnover better and it is more flexible and less likely to be irritated by the environment or irritants,” explains Dr. Waldorf.

Gives you more of a push to break out that lotion, doesn’t it?

Our expert says that this specific ingredient can be found in many topical products. “Use of glycerin, another potent humectant, or hyaluronic acid in a product with other anti-aging ingredients can help to reduce irritation by increasing hydration and is often responsible for the immediate benefits seen to the skin. The active ingredients take longer to have results.”

Numerous new products launched this year are formulated with this powerful find, including Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost, a moisturizer with a gel-cream consistency that’s oil-free and quick to absorb. Indeed Labs also launched a product in a jelly-like base, called hydraluron moisture jelly, which shouts out hyaluronic acid for it’s benefits.

Dr. Jart+’s plumping Water-Fuse Water-Sure gel might come to mind, too.

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