It’s the beginning of February, it’s dark and cold outside and your skin is probably craving for extra moisture to counteract dry and cold environment… so it’s probably to the best time of the year to add a hyaluronic acid serum to your skincare routine. Why? Because hyaluronic acid is the best of all humectants (an ingredient that hydrates the skin by attracting water molecules like a magnet; it pulls water from the deeper levels of the skin to hydrate the surface). Hyaluronic acid draws water to your skin more effectively than any other ingredient; one molecule can hold over 1,000 times its weight in water.
Hyaluronic acid sounds like a chemical ingredient, but it’s not. It’s a molecule that occurs naturally in the skin’s structure and connective tissue throughout the body. It helps lubricate hydrate and cushion joints, eyeballs, and skin. It has a natural ability to hold onto water and seems able to adjust according to humidity levels, helping your skin cope with even dry climates. However, your skin’s level of hyaluronic acid decreases with age, and your skin loses its natural ability to retain moisture.
Hyaluronic acid to get plumper skin
Hyaluronic acid can deliver serious anti-aging benefits—whether or not your skin shows signs of aging (just by avoiding dryness and irritations, especially during winter). Although HA won’t erase fine lines and wrinkles, the extra moisture does help plump the skin which makes those lines look smoother. As HA is great at holding water and giving skin resilience and firmness, this ingredient is usually used in most of the anti-aging serums on the market. Scientific studies have demonstrated that HA helps improve skin hydration, retain skin elasticity and aids the production of collagen.
“Topical application of all 0.1% HA formulations […] led to significant improvement in skin hydration and elasticity. Application of low-molecular-weight (LMW) HA was associated with a significant reduction of wrinkle depth, which may be due to better penetration abilities of LMW HA.” Source
Hyaluronic acid works on all skin types
Good news! Hyaluronic acid is not “heavy”; all skin types can use it, even combination or oily skins. It’s a powerful skin care ingredient that helps retain moisture and hydrate the skin without making it oily. On its own HA is not an oily ingredient, it’s quite light and can be incorporated into non-greasy products for oily-prone skin.
How to choose the right Hyaluronic acid serum
To get most out of this ingredient, here are some of my recommendations:
- As usual, look closely at the product’s ingredient list; some formulations claim to contain hyaluronic acid even though the amount is very small, look for sodium hyaluronate early in the ingredient list
- For a long time, HA molecules were too large to properly penetrate skin’s surface so results were limited. Now, there are plenty of offerings with lower molecular weights that can make their way through skin’s layers and temporarily plump you up while also moisturizing the top layer of skin. So make sure your HA serum is well formulated with low molecular weights.
- Look for other ingredients along with the hyaluronic acid like ceramides (lipid molecules to restore moisture), peptides (aka palmitoyl pentapeptide to produce collagen, alleviate redness), niacinamide (aka vitamin B3 to visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, and wrinkles) or other antioxidants (like Vitamin C, E, Resveratrol, Polyphenols, etc.)
- Prefer a paraben-free, fragrance-free and propylene glycol-free, phenoxyethanol-free formulation if possible
Based on my recommendations, here are the best hyaluronic acid serums to give your skin some serious TLC this winter.
For all skin types, this pure clear serum contains 200mg organic hyaluronic acid per bottle, proven to hydrate skin from within and plump up fine lines and wrinkles. Pomegranate Extract is high in ellagic acid which helps to regulate cell turnover and strengthen the cell membrane, therefore, limiting water loss and free radical damage. Delicately fragranced with organic rosewater. Key ingredients: Rosewater, Aloe Vera, Pomegranate Extract, Hyaluronic Acid.
The Dream Hyaluronic Acid Booster provides active hydration and promotes skin smoothness, softness, and elasticity. Dedicated to repairing dehydrated, lackluster and tired looking skin. This amazing serum boosts moisture level, hydrates the skin from within and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Key ingredients: Sodium Hyaluronate – 3% concentration, with the ultra-low and low weights penetrating deep into skin’s layers. Dispense a single drop into the palm of the hand and add one/two drops of serum and blend. Smooth it gently into cleansed face and neck.
A 3-in-1 serum, primer, and mask, this advanced daily “super serum” combines 9 powerhouse ingredients in one bottle which combine for even greater results. This formula tackles the four concerns stemming from our natural skin aging process: loss of moisture, collagen depletion, inflammation, and melanin irregularities. The 9 active ingredients formula work to hydrate and bind moisture within the skin, to repair and reconstruct collagen and elastin, to brighten skin tone, and to soothe skin’s inflammations caused by stress, pollution, and free radicals. Key ingredients: Sodium Hyaluronate, Vitamin A, Salicylic Acid, Vitamin E, C
I’m Fabulous Hyaluronic Protein is formulated 10 times more potent than any other topical compound with the same name. This product mimics the skin’s own natural protein and binds to the skin the same way. Formulated with a patented LIFT-TECHNOLOGY, Bio-Identical Hyaluronic Protein is bio-identical and can be compressed into the skin and absorbed as deep as 1 full micron of topical penetration. This product contains no preservatives or inactive materials. Key ingredients: Witch Hazel, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, C, Jojoba Oil, Geranium Essential Oil, Organic Green Tea Extract.
This serum goes beyond simply moisturizing your skin – it infuses it with concentrated moisture, preventing the breakdown of natural hyaluronic acid while stimulating collagen production, strengthening skin’s barrier and brightening. Enhanced with two weights of hyaluronic acid (alongside botanical hyaluronic acid), firming resveratrol, brightening niacinamide and a collagen-boosting peptide complex, this will leave your skin feeling perfectly hydrated – and looking brighter, firmer and more youthful. Key ingredients: Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Hyaluronic Acid, Resveratrol Ferment Extract, Peptide Complex.