Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring carbohydrate (polysaccharide). While collagen and elastin are the main proteins that provide structural support for our skin, hyaluronic acid is like a gel-cushion that holds in moisture that has the ability to absorb up to 1,000 times it’s weight in water. High molecular weight hyaluronic acid is also considered helpful for reducing inflammation and supporting tissue repair. (source 1, source 2) It can be used by all skin types and conditions.
Low Molecular Vs. High Molecular Weight
In the skincare world, low-molecular weight hyaluronic acid (LMW-HA) is often touted as superior because the smaller molecules are able to penetrate the skin’s surface. It’s made by breaking high molecular weight hyaluronic acid into fragments using enzymes.
While it’s true that low molecular weight hyaluronic acid does penetrate skin, it’s also well-documented in clinical research that low-molecular weight hyaluronic acid is actually pro-inflammatory rather than anti-inflammatory. (source 1, source 2) Some doctors believe that while LMW-HA may make skin appear more supple at first, it’s due to inflammation rather than hydration, and may lead to accelerated aging. (source) It’s interesting to note that babies primarily make the high molecular weight form. It’s agreed that if nothing else, high molecular weight hyaluronic acid is an amazing moisturizer.
Here’s also a fun DIY recipe. (The FDA allows home made cosmetics to sell or to use in your treatment room. You can find FDA regulations on preparing cosmetics at home home here.)
DIY Hyaluronic Acid Serum Recipe
- 1/4 cup distilled water
- 1/2 teaspoon high molecular weight hyaluronic acid (Cosmetic grade)
Place powder in a small sterile jar. Pour in distilled water. Place a lid on the jar and shake well. It will look very chunky at this point, but don’t worry. As the hyaluronic acid absorbs the water, the consistency will become more smooth. Place in the fridge for several hours (or overnight) to allow it to thicken before use.(you can adjust the ratios to best suite your preferenes)
Shelf life: Without a preservative I store my serum in the fridge and use within two weeks.
*Wear gloves and prepare serum in a sterile environment *Do not use serum on broken, bleeding or otherwise compromised skin.
How To Use Your Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Apply a thin layer after treatment. Can be applied before moisturizer. Can be mixed with a mask.
Should I add essential oils?
Hyaluronic Acid Facts
- Your skin accounts for about half of the hyaluronic acid found in your entire body.
- Other parts of your body that house hyaluronic acid is your eyes, nerves, hair, and joints.
- Besides lubricating joints, hyaluronic acid can also absorb shock and promote elasticity.
- It can carry nutrients to cartilage by building the framework through which cells migrate.
- In the 1940’s, bakers used hyaluronic acid as an egg white substitute.
- Part of the reason you get wrinkles as you age is that your skin naturally begins to lose hyaluronic acid, thus losing its elasticity. Dry skin = wrinkly skin.
- This is why hyaluronic acid is a popular skin care ingredient—it delivers lasting moisture to all skin types.
- Drinking lots of water can help improve your HA levels.
- Small hyaluronic acid molecules can send distress signals to your immune system to help you recover from an injury.
- Hyaluronic acid poses a very low risk for allergic reactions because we’re all born with it in our bodies.
- Hyaluronic acid can help stimulate and increase your body’s production of collagen.
- It can also help treat cold sores, sunburns, wounds, and bites by keeping the damaged tissue moist.
- Doctors often use HA formulas to treat eye injuries or to help a patient recover from eye surgery.