The Secrets of Hyaluronic Acid
Posted on March 31 2021
Hyaluronic acid — or HA — might be one of the most famous skincare ingredients worldwide.
This ingredient has become a staple for brands across the economic spectrum, a token of efficacy and performance — so much that you will see many media and brands advertise various actives in comparison to hyaluronic acid. For example: ‘’this or that ingredient holds xx more water-retaining power than hyaluronic acid, etc’’.
Many have heard about its name, many have used it, but not everyone understands it. Because just like any other skincare ingredient, HA keeps complex secrets — the main one being that there is not just one hyaluronic acid, but various types.
The hyaluronic acid chronicles
Hyaluronic acid is famous for retaining 1000 times its own weight in water, making it a super hydrating ingredient. What you might not know, however, is that not all types of HA have this specificity.
HA exists in different forms, the main differentiation being its molecular weight. The three best known types are high molecular weight, low molecular weight, and acetylated — which we can describe as a middle ground.
High molecular weight hyaluronic acid
This is the one you’ve heard so much about. High molecular HA is able to retain 1000 times its own weight in water, and it is one of the best ‘’common’’ hydrators that the beauty industry uses today. High molecular HA is heavier than other types of HA, which makes its absorption more difficult. It stays in the surface layers of the epidermis, where it works on superficial hydration but also direct plump. Its benefits are quick, but have a shorter lifespan.
Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid (fragmented)
This HA is lighter than the previous mentioned counterpart, and it reaches deeper skin levels and boosts skin’s own hyaluronic acid creation. It also helps stimulate key proteins of your skin’s tight junctions, thus reinforcing the cohesion of your skin. Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid is used for deeper hydration and prevention of water loss. It can also help with firmness as it stimulates procollagen-1, which in turns stimulates collagen-1, one of the main markers of skin firmness.
Acetylated hyaluronic acid: acetylated HA
This type can be found in two different forms too, high weight or low weight. The difference between regular and acetylated HA is that acetylated HA keeps water for longer. Just like regular HA, destination is determined by the weight of the molecule. Lower weight penetrates deeper and can even resist hyaluronidase, the natural destruction of hyaluronic acid that happens within the skin matrix. It can thus live longer inside the skin organism. High weight has a stronger affinity with the stratum corneum, the epidermis’ top layer and helps reduce water loss. Low molecular weight acetylated HA is used to reduce wrinkles while high molecular weight acetylated HA is used to enhance elasticity.
As you can see, each type has a specific action field and benefit. Many beauty brands try to incorporate at least two types of HA in their products, especially for products that are targeting signs of aging. Having two or more types of HA in a product allows a more complete approach and also better performances. Some products even go up to 5 types of HA. Hadalabo’s premium GOKUJYUN Moisturizing Lotion contains 5 highly specific types of HA:
- Regular HA, which you know well now,
- Super HA, which retains twice more moisture than regular HA,
- Nano HA, a new type of low molecular weight acid for deeper penetration,
- Absorbent HA, which is another name for acetylated hyaluronic acid,
- 3D HA, a superior form that creates a sort of moisture net for long-lasting hydration.
How can I start using Hyaluronic Acid?
There are few ingredients in the history of beauty that become long-standing super stars, and hyaluronic acid is one of them. The good news for you is that it’s 2021, and you can basically find it in every product category!
Hyaluronic Acid for hydration
I don’t know how you came across J-beauty, but I know for a fact that many hydration seekers start diving into the realms of Japanese cosmetics after having discovered the brand Hadalabo. If Facebook and Twitter recommandations were an official measurement of success, Hadalabo would probably be in the top Japanese skincare brands. Born in 2004, this pharmacy/drugstore brand can be found everywhere in Japan — even at airports for a last-minute purchase. But that is in a world where you can travel, right? For now, you can find it here on Cosme Hunt.
For a full hyaluronic acid-boosted routine directly available on Cosme Hunt:
PASO A PASO, Cucha Soft Wash, $25
PASO A PASO, Extra Essence, $35
PASO A PASO, Deep Effect Cure All, $110
Hyaluronic Acid for plump
The beauty of hyaluronic acid is that it doesn’t have one benefit. It hydrates but also replumps, and even smoothes out fine lines and some types of wrinkles. It’s especially efficient when used on localized areas or in watery textures.
Our selection of targeted replump treatment directly available on Cosme Hunt:
SAN-X, Rilakkuma Under-eye Recovery Mask, $12
HADALABO, Gokujyun α Mask, $16
Go forth on your skincare journey with your new knowledge!
From cleansers to creams to eye patches, hyaluronic acid can be easily incorporated into your routine. Its main benefit of retaining moisture is as basic as important so make sure to have at least one product that contains one type of hyaluronic acid when your skin feels the driest (because of temperature or hormonal seasons, or due to maskne for example). Stay hydrated!
To find out more, visit our website!
A gamer in her free time, Nawael is obsessed with kitten-heels and real kittens. After doing high school in Japan and graduating university in Paris, she moved to Seoul to work as a fashion and beauty journalist. Now, she's back to Paris where she writes about beauty trends, history, and culture.