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Ask Kerry: Hyaluronic Acid

Hey Kerry!
I’ve heard that I should really be using a hyaluronic acid product to help my dry skin. But there are so many out there that I’m not really sure what I should look for. Any pointers?

By now, many of you know that I’m a hyaluronic acid super-fan. It’s truly the one ingredient that I recommend for everyone, no matter your skin type. The reason is simple: it’s one of the most effective ingredients for drawing water deep into your skin. More water = plumper, softer, healthier, younger-looking skin.

What is It?

So what is hyaluronic acid? Basically, it’s a polysaccharide that occurs naturally in our bodies. You can find it in all kinds of tissues from joints to nerves to skin. Mostly, it acts as a lubrication agent that helps everything stay moisturized and flexible.

Understand your Form

Hyaluronic acid is usually found in beauty products in two forms: hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate. Sodium hyaluronate is essentially just the salt version of HA. Like standard HA, sodium hyaluronate can hold a lot of water—up to 1,000 times its weight! So which is better? Sodium hyaluronate, hands down. The salt version has a much smaller molecular weight so it can penetrate into the skin more effectively than standard hyaluronic acid. This means that you get longer lasting moisturizing benefits from sodium hyaluronate.

Look for Balance

You’ll really never see a hyaluronic acid serum that contains more than a 2% solution of hyaluronic acid. Why? Once you get above 2%, hyaluronic acid can actually pull water out of your skin instead of drawing water into your skin. While it’s unlikely that you’ll find a serum with more than a 2% solution, you might come across some claiming that they contain 90% or more hyaluronic acid. It’s not exactly true. HA comes in a solution that is made up of mostly water. So while the formula might be made mostly of a 2% hyaluronic acid solution, it’s not really 90% HA.

The Perfect Partners

Like all superstars, HA needs a supporting cast to do its best work. I like pairing HA with mild exfoliating ingredients like lactic acid. The acid helps gently dissolve dead skin so that the HA can penetrate and draw water into those deep down layers. Another good partner ingredient is niacinamide, which is a brightening form of vitamin B3 that helps restore your skin’s natural barrier, locking in all that good moisture that HA brought to the party. You can find both of these partner ingredients in my HA Hydrating Serum.

More questions about HA? I have answers! Hit me up in the comments.

1 comment

By Patty, on

Does HA still work when you live in a dry climate and have very, very low humidity? Or does washing your face with water and misting do the trick? Thanks, Patty

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