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If you’ve been perusing the beauty aisles, you may have seen the ingredient hyaluronic acid in just about everything. But what exactly is hyaluronic acid—and why should you be using it? Read on to learn more about this super popular skincare product. Plus see how to incorporate hyaluronic acid serums into your skincare routine.
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What Is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a sugar molecule found naturally in our bodies that holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water.
What Does Hyaluronic Acid Do?
First, let’s talk about what it does for the skin. A lot of times people see the acid word and think it exfoliates the skin. But it is actually a humectant, which means that it draws moisture. Essentially, hyaluronic acid draws moisture to your skin to hydrate it, giving the skin a refreshed, plumped look.
That’s the simple gist of it, but hold on we’re going to get a bit sciencey now. Hyaluronic Acid is available in different molecular weights. The heavier the molecular weight, the bigger the molecule. Big molecules, will sit on the surface of the skin, while smaller molecules will sink in deeper. Ideally, the HA serum that you use will have a mixture of weights so your skin is plump and hydrated from the deep layers to the surface.
What About Sodium Hyaluronate?
A lot of times beauty brands will say something has HA but it really has sodium hyaluronate instead. Is it the same thing? Yes and no. Sodium hyaluronate is a derivative of HA. It does have a lower molecular weight than HA, so it’s more easily absorbed into the skin. Sodium hyaluronate is also less susceptible to oxidation and is more shelf-stable. All in all, it’s okay if your HA serum is really using sodium hyaluronate, so don’t toss them out.
How To Use Hyaluronic Acid Serums
However, to get that hydration and plumpness, you need to be using this ingredient properly. After washing your face, while your face is slightly damp is the best time to apply your hyaluronic acid serum. It’s also important to lock it in with a moisturizer.
Now you may be like what’s the big deal if I do it differently. Remember how we talked about how hyaluronic acid draws water? If your skin is not damp, it will pull the water from the deeper layers of your skin. This will actually cause your skin to be drier and more dehydrated.
Comparing Hyaluronic Acid Serums
Hyaluronic acid serums are everywhere. You can find them at pretty much every price point from super affordable $6 serums to super pricey options at over $100.
Here are reviews of four popular serums that feature hyaluronic acid and/or sodium hyaluronate.
Youth To The People Triple Peptide Cactus Oasis Serum
The Youth To The People Triple Peptide Cactus Oasis Serum retails for $54 for one ounce of product. While the name says it is a peptide serum, the hero ingredients are the four different forms of sodium hyaluronate.
One thing about hyaluronic acid serums is that they often leave a sticky tacky feeling on the skin. While this YTTP serum isn’t as sticky as other cheaper options, it does leave the skin feeling tacky after application. On a positive note, this serum has a pump versus a dropper making it easy to dispense.
Overall, this product is a pass. The formula isn’t cosmetically elegant enough to warrant the price. Instead of this sticky, high-priced serum, try the Naturium Quadruple Hyaluronic Acid Serum. You can pick it up at Target for $15.
Related Reading: Youth To The People Brand Review
Biossance Squalane + Copper Peptide Rapid Plumping Serum
The Squalane + Copper Peptide Rapid Plumping Serum retails for $68 and you get 1.7 ounces. For that $68 you get a product that features sodium hyaluronate to hydrate, squalane to soften the skin, and copper peptides to promote collagen production.
While the YTTP serum leaves the skin sticky, the Biossance does not have a sticky texture. It applies smoothly and works well with other skincare products. The one downside of the Biossance Plumping Serum is the dropper. Sometimes the dropper works and other times it barely dispenses any product.
If you prefer a thinner serum, this is by far the better option than the YTTP. The combination of ingredients does more for the skin, the texture isn’t sticky, and the price is more reasonable.
SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator
The SkinMedica HA5 is a bougie bougie hyaluronic acid serum. One ounce retails for $120. Before balking at the price, take a look a the ingredients. This serum features algae, amino acids, peptides, Vitamin E, and the five different forms of hyaluronic acid. Unlike the previous two, this serum also contains dimethicone.
When applied, the SkinMedica HA5 goes on smooth and leaves the skin feeling soft and silky. The combination of ingredients works together so the serum is neither silicone-y feeling nor sticky. This smooth texture makes it perfect for wearing under makeup.
This hyaluronic acid serum is an absolute dream. However, the $120 price tag makes it difficult to recommend. If you have the budget and want to splurge, go ahead and treat yourself to this serum. For those of you that need something more affordable, continue reading.
Dermstore Collection Hyaluronic Acid Serum
The Dermstore Collection Hyaluronic Acid Serum retails for $70 per ounce but is currently on sale for $42. If you look at the ingredients for this serum, it is like they took the SkinMedica ingredients and tweaked them ever so slightly.
When comparing the Dermstore to the SkinMedica, the Dermstore formula is just a touch heavier. However, the difference isn’t noticeable once it is on the skin. Like the SkinMedica, it will leave your skin feeling silky, not sticky.
The formula of the SkinMedica serum is ever so slightly nicer than the Dermstore option. However, the price of the Dermstore Collection serum makes up for the difference in formula.