Active Skin: Hyaluronic Acid
A must for firmer, fresher & better skin
While recently discussing my latest book Your Middle Years at the annual Hay Book Festival in the beautiful town of Kells in Co Meath, the conversation seemed to pause on the topic of midlife skincare and hyaluronic acid (or HA to those in the know!) in particular.
Hyaluronic acid is an hydrating substance that holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water. It's basically like a massive sponge that helps holds key moisturising ingredients in the skin and prevents moisture loss from the skin. Young skin is smooth and elastic and contains large amounts of HA, but as we age the natural production of hyaluronic acid slows and the skin starts to show signs of this with increased lines, loss of tone and sagging.
This clear sugary molecule is nothing new as it occurs naturally in the skin’s structure and connective tissues through the body. It helps lubricate joints and more importantly for many us, keeps our skin moist and supple. But what is new is the science supporting its benefits on the skin. For a long time, HA molecules were too large to properly penetrate the skin's surface so results were limited - mainly to really good moisturizing - unless you chose the injectable HA filler route - Juvéderm or Restylane - routinely used to plump the skin and fill the gaps. But now with the advent of lower molecular weights (think nanoparticles) which delve deeper through the skin's layers the real benefits start to show. So in all, these new formulations are potentially more effective and with longer-lasting results.
One of my favourite HA brands is Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum (€42 or thereabouts for 30ml). This lightweight, clear serum (with added Vitamin E) really does work as it soaks into my skin in nanoseconds (well super quickly anyway!). It leaves my skin velvety smooth and shine free with no sticky residue (which many other brands tend to leave). Just a few drops of the serum day and night is enough. In truth, I love this new boutique brand in its entirety and have started using their latest Superstar Night Oil (more later).
The other, now permanent, fixture on my bathroom shelf is Boots Lift & Luminate Triple Actions Serum - a HA-loaded triple treat of anti-ageing benefits in one fell swoop (skin feels firmer, wrinkles appear reduced and more even skin tone). It too is lightweight and absorbs super quickly, while the texture is so gorgeously smooth and even, it's a real treat to apply. And at €33.00 (for 30ml) it doesn't break the bank.