In The Media

How hyaluronic acid can be drying and irritating for some


Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a well-known and widely used ingredient in the skincare industry. It’s frequently marketed for its impressive hydrating properties, but for some people, it can be drying and irritating. In this article, we’ll explore why that is, provide some key facts about hyaluronic acid, and offer suggestions for alternative hydrating ingredients.

What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in our skin, connective tissues, and eyes. It helps the body retain moisture and provides lubrication. In the skin, hyaluronic acid adds plumpness and hydration, which is why it is commonly used in skincare products.

Why is Hyaluronic Acid a Trendy Skincare Ingredient?

Plump, hydrated, and dewy skin is highly desirable right now. Well-moisturized skin is a sign of self-care, wellness, and overall skin health. Hyaluronic acid is popular in skincare because it helps maintain hydration and gives the skin a youthful plumpness.

Other Names for Hyaluronic Acid

On skincare product ingredient lists, hyaluronic acid might also be listed as:

  • Hyaluronan
  • Sodium hyaluronate
  • Potassium hyaluronate

Major Benefits of Using Hyaluronic Acid

Incorporating hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine can significantly enhance the hydration levels of your skin. If your skin feels dry, dull, flaky, and tired, adding hyaluronic acid can help make it feel moisturized, hydrated, dewy, plump, and refreshed.

How to Use Hyaluronic Acid for Maximum Benefits

You can incorporate hyaluronic acid into your routine in the form of a serum or as part of your moisturizing cream. The key is not to overdo it. Hyaluronic acid holds 1000 times its weight in water, which is great for retaining hydration. However, too much can cause it to pull moisture from deeper in the dermis into your epidermis, leaving the deeper layers of your skin dehydrated. If you choose an HA serum, apply it to damp skin. If you use an HA moisturizing cream or lotion, apply it on top of your serum.

The Science Behind Hyaluronic Acid’s Hydration

Yes, hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. This benefits your skin by allowing it to retain hydration, keeping it plump and supple. Hyaluronic acid smooths out the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improves the skin’s elasticity.

Best Skin Types for Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is suitable for all skin types, especially those with dry skin needing extra hydration. Those with a compromised skin barrier from eczema or using too many actives can benefit from the soothing and hydrating properties of hyaluronic acid. Even those with oily skin may find it beneficial, as balancing hydration levels can help normalize oil production.

Can Hyaluronic Acid Be Drying?

Some people find that hyaluronic acid makes their skin feel drier. This can happen if you are using HA on dry skin or if you’re using it in too many skincare products. If you’re experiencing this, try decreasing the amount of HA you use or using it less frequently before giving up on it altogether.

Irritation and Redness from Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a very thin, watery substance and needs an occlusive agent to prevent evaporation. Overusing HA or using it in a way where it simply evaporates can cause further dehydration and irritation.

Alternatives to Hyaluronic Acid

For those who experience dryness or irritation from hyaluronic acid, there are other hydrating ingredients to consider:

  1. Heparan Sulfate: This is a hero ingredient in the Sente line and has anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties similar to hyaluronic acid.
  2. Glycerin: Glycerin is a sugar alcohol with humectant properties, meaning it adds moisture to the skin. It helps restore the skin barrier and adds moisture without clogging pores.

Understanding your skin’s unique needs and how it responds to different ingredients is crucial for maintaining healthy and hydrated skin. If hyaluronic acid doesn’t work for you, don’t worry—there are plenty of other effective hydrating ingredients to explore.

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