What is hyaluronic acid? The benefits for ageing skin

What is hyaluronic acid? The benefits for ageing skin

BY Dr Nisa Aslam

17th Apr 2024 Wellbeing

4 min read

Hyaluronic acid is an essential part of your daily skin regime to help preserve moisture and fight wrinkles. Leading skincare brand Hada Labo Tokyo explains how
Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient that has risen to fame in the last few years, but do we really understand how it helps ageing skin?
GP with a special interested in dermatology, Dr Nisa Aslam from leading Japanese skincare brand Hada Labo Tokyo, explains why this ingredient should take pride of place in a daily skincare routine. 

Getting under the skin: what is hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a clear lotion that’s made naturally within the body. The job of hyaluronic acid is to lock in water to keep our skin, connective tissues and eyes hydrated and lubricated.
It is in these parts of the body that hyaluronic acid is found in large amounts. But around one-third of our body’s hyaluronic acid is actually found in the skin. 
"By the time we reach the age of 50, levels of hyaluronic acid have halved"
As we age, our levels of hyaluronic acid begin to fall, and by the time we reach the age of 50, levels of hyaluronic acid have halved. This can cause our skin to feel dull and lacking in plumpness.
Our skin is an organ, the biggest one at that, and much like other organs in the body, the skin’s tissue is made up of many types of cells, which all need water to function properly.
As levels of hyaluronic acid in our skin falls, skin hydration is, without doubt, going to be impacted. This means that if our skin is not hydrated enough, it will become dry, dehydrated, tight, flaky and it will lack vitality. It’s also much more likely to develop lines and wrinkles.

Hyaluronic acid for ageing skin

woman applying hyaluronic acid to face skin to boost firmness
When it comes to ageing skin, I’m often asked what my top three tips are, and they would be to hydrate, hydrate and hydrate.
But this isn’t about fluid intake; it’s about applying the magic hyaluronic acid ingredient to our skin, be it the face or the body. 
"By applying hyaluronic acid to the skin we can improve hydration"
Hyaluronic acid levels naturally fall as we age, but by applying hyaluronic acid to the skin we can improve hydration and reduce the signs of ageing skin such as wrinkles, whilst improving the firmness and the elasticity of the skin—often identified as areas of skin concerns for women experiencing the menopause.
Hormonal changes that occur throughout a woman’s life—in particular perimenopause—can really impact skin’s hydration levels, so it’s important to try and counteract this by giving skin the hydration it needs.

How does it work?

The anti-ageing ingredient hyaluronic acid is an essential inclusion in a skincare routine to support collagen production and strengthen the epidermal barrier.
Hyaluronic acid is excellent at retaining water and so helps the outer layers of the skin to hang on to moisture.
There’s science to prove that when applied to the skin, hyaluronic acid can help to reduce wrinkles, enhance hydration, and can even help to manage eczema, a common skin condition.

Is there a particular type of hyaluronic acid we should be looking out for?

hyaluronic acid cream smeared on skin coloured background
While hyaluronic acid is an effective hydrator, what is key is the size of the molecules of the hyaluronic acid. Large molecules moisturise the surface of the skin, but for deeper skin penetration smaller molecules are also necessary. 
The scientists at Hada Labo Tokyo have found ways to make the molecules smaller, so they can work deeper into the skin—and products with multiple sizes of hyaluronic acid molecules, like the Hada Labo Tokyo products, can help to hydrate the skin inside and out. 
The Hada Labo Tokyo range contains between three and seven different types of hyaluronic acid, including standard hyaluronic acid (which holds 1,000 times its weight in water and is retained in the top layer of skin), super hyaluronic acid (which retains two times more water than standard hyaluronic acid) and nano hyaluronic acid for deeper skin penetration, plumping from within.
Hada Labo Tokyo’s new Premium range contains five or more levels of hyaluronic acids which penetrate all skin layers, plus retinol, and includes a day and a night cream, which helps to fill lines and wrinkles as well as intensely moisturising the skin.
The hyaluronic acids to look out for are: 
  • Sodium Hyaluronate: a water-binding ingredient used for moisturising and hydrating. The molecule can hold up to 1,000 its own weight in water. It can replace some of the water lost in the epidermis, the top layer of skin.
  • Hydrolysed Hyaluronic Acid (Nano):  hyaluronic acid essential broken into smaller bits. The small molecules can easily penetrate and help to replace some of the water lost in the epidermis, and potentially fight wrinkles and other signs of ageing.
  • Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate (Super): this is called super hyaluronic acid and it was developed to raise affinity with the skin based on hyaluronic acid. Compared with the same concentration of ordinary hyaluronic acid, it has a much greater capacity to retain moisture in the epidermis and good skin affinity. Because of this, it can keep skin moist for longer periods of time.
  • Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer (3d): a modified form of skin-replenishing hyaluronic acid attached to a polymer structure that keeps it within the skin’s uppermost layers for longer, allowing for enhanced hydration. This creates a “sponge” effect to restore the skin to its fuller, more youthful appearance and smooths out fine lines.
  • Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate: a conditioning ingredient that helps to bond active ingredients into the skin.
The new Hada Labo Tokyo Premium Lotion Intense Super Deep Hydrator has seven types of hyaluronic acids, including fermented hyaluronic acid, which enhances and strengthens the skin barrier function too.
The unique Lock-in-Moist formula helps to maintain high levels of moisture in the skin for less visible wrinkles and radiant, smooth skin. Great news for people with dry, dehydrated or sensitive skin too.
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