The beauty benefits of hyaluronic acid
Chances are a quick rifle through the bathroom cabinet will reveal something called hyaluronic acid mentioned in the ingredients list of at least one of your moisturising skincare products. As well as being produced naturally by the body, it also comes in liquid supplements, face creams – and even as injections! Read on to find out what hyaluronic acid is, why we might need more of it, and where we can find it.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a molecule found naturally in our bodies, particularly in our skin, joints, and eyes. In our skin cells, hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water and its ability to bind and retain water has led to its reputation as ‘nature’s moisturiser’. It’s found in both the epidermis (outer layer of skin) and dermis (living tissue below the epidermis) and, as we age, our natural levels of hyaluronic acid deplete. This can leave our skin dehydrated and lacking in elasticity.
What are the benefits of hyaluronic acid?
Bolstering our declining levels of hyaluronic acid may help reduce signs of ageing as it helps to keep our skin well-hydrated. Research has also suggested it can help protect us from free radical damage. Sun damage can result in declining levels of hyaluronic acid in our skin, so it’s always important to make sure we don’t over-expose our skin to the sun’s UV rays. When our levels of hyaluronic acid drop as we age, we are more likely to suffer from dry skin and joint pain, but thankfully there are a number of ways to boost our skin’s natural production of this moisture-rich molecule.
How can we increase our levels of hyaluronic acid?
We can look to Japan for evidence of the positive effects high levels of hyaluronic acid can have. Some fascinating research found that elderly residents of a Japanese village called Yuzurihara had youthful, wrinkle-free skin, lustrous hair and were very supple. It’s thought their smooth skin and thick hair is due to the villagers’ diet, rich in soy and tofu, which resulted in their higher levels of hyaluronic acid production. Another study found that fermented soy milk (specifically Bifidobacterium-fermented) significantly enhanced the production of hyaluronic acid, and that ingesting hyaluronic acid also had a profound effect on dry skin. This salt and pepper tofu with miso soup is a delicious, nutritious way of increasing your hyaluronic acid production, and it is thought bone broth is a great source too.
As well as eating foods like tofu and soy, we can also take hyaluronic acid neat in supplement form, like this ginger flavoured liquid supplement by Fountain. Applying hyaluronic acid topically has been proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and rehydrate skin for a more youthful, glowing appearance. We like this nifty little bottle of Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 by The Ordinary which uses three forms of hyaluronic acid of differing molecular weights to penetrate the skin, rather than sitting on its surface (and actually drawing out much-needed moisture).
If you’re seeking smoother skin, then hyaluronic acid might be an ingredient well worth looking out for.
- Foods such as tofu and soy might help your body to produce more hyaluronic acid.
- Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in your body, but as we age our levels can drop.