"It’s one of the most hydrating ingredients, but if misused, hyaluronic acid can actually dry out your skin," said Dr Jushya Sarin
According to Dr Sarin, hyaluronic acid is a sugar molecule that occurs “naturally in the skin and helps bind water to collagen, trapping it in the skin so that it appears dewy, plumper, and hydrated’. However, it continues to deplete with age. HA can be found in sheet masks, serums and moisturisers.
Explaining the reason behind the buzz for HA, a humectant that attracts water to the skin, she said, “hyaluronic acid is great for all skin types. In general, it is non-irritating and does not trigger rosacea, acne, or skin reactions. There is however a small chance of adverse effects.”
She added that “the perception of hyaluronic acid as a wonder molecule for dryness and wrinkles is vastly overstated — and when used incorrectly, it can backfire.”
When hyaluronic acid is present as a large molecule, it cannot penetrate through the top layer of the skin. “The justification for using hyaluronic acid as a topical hydrator by itself is a weak one,” she said.
As a result, hyaluronic acid can have effects i.e temporarily add water to the topmost layer of the skin in turn offering short-lived plumpness to the skin. “If your skin is dry or dehydrated, to begin with, and the air around you is dry (winters or continued use of AC), the product can suck water deep within from the skin,” she elucidated.
How is this possible?
“Hyaluronic acid works by absorbing moisture like a sponge. When applied to dry skin in dry weather, it absorbs moisture from the skin instead of getting it from the atmosphere. When this happens. hyaluronic acid has the opposite effect as against its intended purpose,” explained Dr Sarin. As a result, it is more dry and thirsty, leaving the skin prone to signs of aging.
Should you avoid hyaluronic acid?
It depends on how you use it. Dr Sarin suggested using HA on damp skin and then sealing it with a moisturiser. “When used together, a moisturiser will help lock in the hydration from the HA, instead of letting it escape,” she concluded.