Hyaluronic acid has become something of a beauty buzzword and not without good reason. It may sound like something you'd use with a Bunsen Burner in a GCSE science class, but it's actually the one ingredient you need to add to your skincare routine, asap. We all know there is no single wonder product that can stop skin ageing (unless Jennifer Lopez is keeping a secret stash to herself), but hyaluronic acid has been proven to plump the skin, minimise fine lines and reduce signs of dryness and dehydration.
To help you navigate the skincare aisle in Boots that much easier, we chatted to skincare ingredient guru Paula Begoun, founder of skincare brand Paula's Choice. To find out just why hyaluronic acid should be in everyone's skincare routine, and what you should be looking out for on your skincare labels. What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a molecule found naturally in our own bodies, lubricating our joints, nerves, eyes, skin and hair. As we get older our bodies produce less hyaluronic acid (brilliant) which is one of the reasons our skin starts to wrinkle and sag. It is also a humectant, which means it helps preserve moisture in the skin, as Paula explains. 'One of hyaluronic acid's most remarkable traits is its ability to attract and hold several times its weight in water that is naturally in the environment, the body, or in the skincare products we apply.' Basically, think of hyaluronic acid like a sponge attracting and retaining moisture in your skin.
What are the benefits of using a hyaluronic acid?
'You should see smoother, less lined, more moisturised skin almost instantly and you will notice your skin feels softer, too.' Paula there, saying everything we want to hear. 'Over time, fine lines and wrinkles will become less apparent, skin will maintain a youthful plump and supple feel, and be much less prone to showing signs of dryness and dehydration. Used as part of a skincare routine that includes daily sun protection, products with hyaluronic acid naturally restore skin's ability to look and act younger. It isn't a miracle cure, but it's a beautiful ingredient for maintaining your skin.'
Are there any downsides to using hyaluronic acid? 'None whatsoever. It's even suitable for extra-sensitive and acne-prone skin.' Looks like we'll all be stocking up on hyaluronic acid serums then, shop our favourites below:
L'Oral Paris Revitalift Filler with 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Wrinkle Dropper Serum
Fun fact for all you fact fans out there, one of these is sold every minute in the US and because it proved to be so popular, they finally launched it in the UK this year. An affordable option with 1.5% hyaluronic acid, which is more than the standard in most drugstore products.
Vichy Minral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Hydration Booster
This thirst-quenching serum is light on the ingredients list (only 11 in total), but weighty in the hydration department. If you're on the oilier side, or just hate the feel of heavy products on your skin, you'll love how quickly this lightweight serum sinks in.
SkinCeuticals H.A Intensifier
If you're in the mood to splash some cash, let it be on this superior, hydrating serum. While the cost might seem slightly extreme, we can confirm that the addition of ingredients proxylane, liquorice root and purple rice make it all worth it. You'll notice a difference in no time.
Best hyaluronic acid serum: Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
If you want a hyaluronic acid serum that's totally free from 'questionable ingredients' like essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical screens, fragrance/dyes and SLS, then Drunk Elephant is where it's at. This potent serum delivers 24-hour hydration, plus it's vegan and gluten-free. Win, win.
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Supersize Serum 60ml
The downside to The Ordinary is that you need a PhD in skincare to understand what any of the products do. The upside is that this is one of the best budget skincare ranges on the market, with ingredients that work and no false promises. If you can get your hands on this (it's often sold out), it's the most affordable hyaluronic acid serum on the market.
Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate Facial Serum
In a former life, Jordan Samuel was a ballet dancer, who, after suffering from chronic skin irritations decided to develop his own line. His hyaluronic acid serum contains aloe leaf and cucumber extract for a super calming effect as soon as you apply.
Alpha-H Hyaluronic 8 Serum
Alpha-H refer to this product as an alternative to dermal fillers - but whether or not you were considering anything of the sort, this gem of a serum deserves a place on your shelfie due to its 'magic eight' ingredients designed to keep your moisture reservoirs protected.
MediK8 Hydr8 B5 Intense
With soothing panthenol, skin-identical ingredients like urea and glycerin and gently exfoliating lactic acid, this is no ordinary hyaluronic serum, it's the full monty. It's a little more expensive, but as one of the best HA products in the business, it's worth every single penny. Trust us.
Tan-Luxe Super Glow Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum
If, like me, your complexion can often look a little grey throughout winter, it's worth picking up this glow serum. Not only is it packed with moisturising hyaluronic acid, but it also has a touch of gradual tan, so apply it a couple of nights in a row and you'll be left with a golden glow and soft, plumped skin.
La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum
La Roche-Posay is known for their impeccable formulas and high-quality ingredients, and this little blue bottle is no exception. The formula contains two different sized molecules of hyaluronic acid, both of with inject skin with moisture. The larger molecule works on the surface of the complexion to hydrate, whilst the smaller molecule penetrates deeper to plump skin with moisture and smooth the appearance of fine lines.
Dr.Jart+ Vital Hydra Solution Essence
Sure, it's more of a essence than a 'serum', but stick on this little skincare feast after cleansing and toning, and its triple-hyaluronic, probiotic offerings will safeguard your face from transepidermal water loss all day long. Shake well on first use, and press it into your face gently. Et viol.
Niod Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex
Niod is the older sister to The Ordinary. Both brands were created by Deciem and both serve a different purpose. The Ordinary is budget skincare using tried and trusted ingredients, whereas Niod combines this principle with new cutting edge ones. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% contains three forms of hyaluronic acid, whereas Niod's hyaluronic contains 15 forms. Both work, but if you have the budget you will notice more dramatic results with this serum.
Glossier Super Bounce
Dehydrated skin doesn't just mean dry patches, it also causes a reduction in skin elasticity. Glossier's Super Bounce promises to bring that 'bounce' back and re-plump with its blend of hyaluronic acid and B5. The cheaper price point means it's not as potent as some others, but is a good entry level into hyaluronic acids.
Q+A Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum
Effective and inexpensive, this serum from Q+A can be used in the place of moisturiser in your morning routine. The formula also contains biosaccharide gum to help with the appearance of fine lines.
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum
This serum is packed with 75% hyaluronic acid complex to rehydrate, plump the skin and reduce fine lines. Silk protections, zinc, copper and iron are also in here to soften and help with skin cell repair.
THE INKEY LIST Hyaluronic Acid Serum 30ml
This formula contains 2% pure hyaluronic acid, basically turning your skin into a moisture magnet. It doesn't apply tacky and absorbs quickly too so it feels great under makeup.
Tasmanian Water Splash Serum
Not that you should judge skincare by its packaging but does this not scream hydration? Along with hyaluronic acid this formula contains bifida ferment which is a probiotic to help keep skin at optimum health while it hydrates.
Best hyaluronic acid serum: Z Hyaluron Hyaluronic Acid Complex Serum Drops 30ml
These wonder drops contain three different types of hyaluronic acid at different molecular levels meaning that it can penetrate further into the skin than other serums. This helps with elasticity as well as plumpness result.
Thirst Trap Juice Serum
This serum has three levels of hyaluronic acid to penetrate beneath the skin surface too. It also includes hollyhock rose and aloe vera to sooth and nourish your skin. As it sinks in your face feels plump and hydrated pretty instantly.