Hyaluronic Acid (HA) in Skincare
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is an immensely popular ingredient in skincare. BiON includes it in Oil Free Moisturizing Gel, Pure Hydration Serum, Moisture Complex, Titanium Dioxide Suncream, Tinted Mineral SPF 35, Ultra Moisture Renewal, Naturally Soft Body Lotion, Collagen Revival Serum, Mandelic Acid Serum, Dermatitis Cream, Seaweed Mask, and Youthful Eyes Peptide Cream. It’s also naturally found in the body. Most of it dwells in the extracellular matrix, the structure which holds up the cells of your skin. Hyaluronic acid is found in both the epidermis and the deeper dermis, where it plays an important role in hydration, metabolic processes, skin repair, and protection against free radical and UV damage.
HA is a glycosaminoglycan, a class of chemicals that can hold onto water very efficiently. Due to its very polar nature 1 gram of HA can hold onto 6 liters of water! HA keeps skin firm and plump.
In skincare, HA is mostly used for its incredible ability to hold onto moisture and is included in moisturizers and serums as a humectant ingredient. Humectants hydrate the skin, and since one of the effects of dehydrated skin is fine lines and wrinkles, this can make your skin look dramatically younger and less tired.
The HA used in skincare isn’t all the same. It’s usually divided into different sizes: there’s high molecular weight HA, which has a larger molecular size, and low molecular weight HA, which is formed by chopping it into smaller fragments. The main significance of the different sizes is that smaller molecules are able to penetrate the skin better than larger molecules, which means that low molecular weight HA can hydrate deeper than high molecular weight HA, which holds onto water at the surface of the skin. Unfortunately, even low molecular HA can only penetrate into the lower epidermis. The size of low molecular weight HA is still far beyond the size limit that allows penetration through the skin barrier. When applied topically, both of these molecules sit on the skin surface or within the topmost layer of the skin.
There’s some debate on how low molecular weight HA can act as an inflammatory signal and therefore be harmful. BiON uses predominantly high molecular weight HA because of its added ability to bring moisture to the skin, its ability to form a cosmetically pleasing gel form and because, unlike low molecular weight HA it does not promote inflammation.
Written by Larry Lockhart, R.P., BiON Skincare Products