There can’t be many skin care regimes where hyaluronic acid won’t be right at home. What’s not to like about it? HA is one of the most effective moisturising ingredients you can get, famed for its ability to hold onto a thousand times its own weight in water.
Apply a HA product and you’re giving your skin one almighty gulp of refreshment, boosting moisture levels, strengthening its barrier function and immediately plumping out fine dehydration lines. For instant gratification, it’s hard to beat.
HA also rubs along happily with other parts of your skin regime. Some skincare actives are best kept apart - for instance, vitamin C and retinol tend to do the day and night shift respectively to avoid skin overload - but HA slots in easily with whatever else you’re using.
It’s also one of the best tolerated skincare ingredients around. Reactions are rare, and it’s safe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Don’t be alarmed by that word “acid” either; it’s not a skin resurfacer like, say, glycolic or lactic acid.
In fact, HA is a substance that’s found naturally in your skin, which is probably why it’s so easy to get along with it. It’s a natural humectant (water binder), and it helps make your skin flexible and supple. Levels fall naturally with age, so HA products have become one of the most popular ways to ‘biohack’ your skin regime, putting back what time takes away.
To get best results, you do need to be aware of a couple of things though. Firstly, HA’s water-trapping ability can work both for and against you. HA isn’t fussy about where it soaks up water from. If the air is relatively humid, the HA in your skincare will pull it from there, and if it’s not, it will happily draw up water from the well below - ie, the deeper layers of your skin.
To avoid that precious moisture then evaporating away, you’re advised to apply hyaluronic acid onto slightly damp skin. That way you’re giving your HA sponge a ready stash of moisture to soak up. You’re also recommended to ‘seal’ in the HA by applying a moisturising cream on top, essentially shutting the lid on moisture loss.
You also need to know that not all HAs are created equal. The molecule itself is too large to be absorbed through the skin’s outer layer, but beauty science has found ways to shrink it down so it can slip through. Very sci-fi.
The latest formulas contain different ‘weights’ of HA, which allow the molecules to dive down to different levels. The benefits are obvious: having juicy, plumped up HA molecules at different depths of the skin equals better overall hydration.
One shining example of this technology is Balance Me Tri-Molecular Serum. As you might have guessed from the name, it contains three different molecular sizes of HA for maximum skin-plumping benefits.
This lightweight serum normally retails at £30, but you’ll find a full-size bottle of this month’s OK! Beauty Box, along with four other products worth over £90 in total. Treat yourself to the whole lot for just £7.50 if you’re a new subscriber and join the vast majority of happy Balance Me testers who agreed their skin felt lusciously hydrated after 28 days.