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Hyaluronic Acid, why you want to use it, correctly. (updated)

Updated: Mar 5, 2022

As we age we find that the skin plumping actives really get our attention. Why? because our skin stops making as much collagen and it may start to lose its condition, fullness and vitality.

One of the 'ingredients' in our collagen (and what helps to both make it and protect it) is this marvellous stuff called Hyaluronic Acid (HA), and it helps us to retain moisture levels in our skin cells and the connective tissue of our dermis. Y'still with me? It's alright I'm not going to get overly technical.

HA has been thrown into just about every 'anti-aging' (ugh...) lotion and cream around. It's in everything and it's expensive. I have a friend who's been in the skincare industry since she was a teenager, and at nearly 60, has beautiful, soft, plump skin. She also has a refreshing brevity about the 'wonder ingredients' in skincare, because she's seen it all, literally. Her take on HA when I asked about it? "Hah! you can make more HA in your own body by splashing your face each morning with cold water!" (which is true...cell turnover is key to stimulating HA in your epidermis).

But what about someone with very dry skin condition? or if they have not looked after their skin very well, or if they have damage to repair...can HA help that sort of thing? The answer is YES, of course topical applications will assist, but it doesn't end with the HA product. Your endogenous HA production depletes with ageing, UV exposure, hormonal fluctuation and vitamin deficiency.

All of those listed concerns can be addressed, but your skin's Barrier Function is key to repairing and maintaining that plump, dewy complexion.

You've got to eat well ...and understand that if you are maturing, going through hormonal episodes or vitamin deficiency due to metabolic imbalances (particularly regarding magnesium and zinc), have extreme UV damage, then you must address those concerns as well so that you get the best outcome possible. This is Holistic Skincare philosophy, and it is common-sense.

Explaining HA Types

That information collected, I decided to go research more about HA and find out the nitty gritty on this wonder ingredient. Typically HA products may contain one or more types of molecular weight HA. So to begin with there was the issue of which weight to get the HA in...I hadn't realised that it was sold in different molecular weights, but, being an acid, it makes sense (really, it does). Then there was the issue of the origin of the HA. Some is still produced from animal by-product, whereas more frequently now we see it being of plant and algae based origin. I chose to get mine from a plant based origin, specifically a bio-fermentation process using a corn derived glucose.

The High Molecular Weight (HMW) absorbs slowly and reaches the upper dermal layers where it can affect the best outcome for plumping up fine lines and soothing inflamed conditions (acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, dermatitis). As a humectant it draws water into the cell structure assisting with basic detox functions within the cell, therefore, it makes sense to use products that have low to no synthetics or bio-accumulative toxin in them, so as to ease the stress on the individual cells and get the very best out of your HA product.

There is also Medium Molecular Weight (MMW) which as the title suggests, is going to absorb into the midway layers.

The Low Molecular Weight (LMW) absorbs deeply and reaches the lower dermal layers, which you may think at first is 'better'. However, given that the serums that LMW HA is in contain (usually) high amounts of preservative and other ingredients, is it really good that they get to go straight to the layer in contact with your lymph and blood? I am also unconvinced that the 'preserve just in case' mentality of modern day formulating is best for people's skin. I've reacted to certified organic preservative that was 100% botanical and synthetic free... for me, and many others, not all natural preservative is safe.

My Experiments

For this reason I chose to experiment with HMW HA in a purer formulation and found it to be fabulous at delivering almost instant results. The fine lines reduced with only a few applications and the deeper crease lines seemed to 'fill in' over a few days. Of course, I was amazed. I'd been re-hydrating my skin for nearly a decade after recovering from Peri-Oral Dermatitis and the steroidal cream treatments I'd been given. I know I have great barrier function and didn't think I'd find a water based plumping solution that would be A) pure enough to use and B) give me such great results.

But the HA serum I made delivered on both accounts. And here's the thing I discovered... when mixed with oils in a formulation, the effectiveness of HA is reduced. The oils, when mixed in a solution with HA, limit the extent to how far the HMW HA can penetrate. The other issue for me with water+oil formulations was that they required emulsifiers and preservatives.

The serum I've formulated uses pure natural self-preserving ingredients that are also incredibly good for healing and protecting the skin. The product is silky to use with a conditioning, toning effect that makes the skin firmer, plumper and smoother. It's essential oil free meaning it is suitable for virtually everyone's skin and any kind of skin condition/situation.

But let's get back to Barrier Function

Ok, so I've got all the skin plumping action 'going on' but I found that the plumping effect wore off over the first hour. The skin got tight and papery. Alarm bells were going off! So THIS is why it's being added IN to lotions and creams...the HA was literally pulling water from lower skin layers into the top layer acting in a similar fashion to an osmotic pump. This water is then lost into the atmosphere (and I live in a humid climate). OK, so I've established that on its own HA does not really penetrate into the dermis and stay there. The solution (pun intended) is to lock in the HA with a barrier cream or lotion in a 2-part application.

So during my trials with the HA serum I dubbed 'SKINDEW', I developed SHIELD Protective Cream as a support product for it. Shield uses a combination of UV protective botanicals, painstakingly formulated so they are in quantities that provide a balance of care and nourishment without being reactive. Specifically containing Tamanu, Carrot Seed, Raspberry, Peppermint and Lavender oils to kick-start that cell renewal process, its base of Shea Butter, Coconut and Camellia Seed provide a nutrient dense layer of calming balm. When applied over a treatment of HA serum the effect was lasting all day. I repeated the process at night and had similar positive outcomes. You could also use any purely natural oil based moisturiser. An organic Facial Oil like SERENE if you wish for a lighter formulation, or one of the vegan Silk balms like TEA SILK made on a base of Jojoba infused with Jasmine Green Tea, boosted by cell regenerative Pomegranate and Tamanu Oils.

The original formulation was paler and more fluid. The new SkinDew is a deep indigo hue with more botanical extracts.

SKINDEW is made on a base of Certified Organic Neroli & Rose Hydrosol infused with Blue Butterfly Pea, boosted with self-preserving and skin healing Colloidal Silver in a cosmetic concentration high enough to keep this serum at room temperature (around 25C) for the life of its use. Pure Silver has been used for thousands of years to purify and maintain the quality of water. Extracts of Green Tea and Kakadu Plum are rich in antioxidants that add to the preservative quotient, helping to maintain the potency and freshness of the product. The new SkinDew also contains Radish Root Ferment to help stabilise the formulation with anti-microbial and anti-fungal actions, making sure the active constituents maintain their effectiveness.

To finalise the formulation I added Rose Quartz Crystal Essence to embed that frequency of loving self-care and heartfelt attention to personal needs.

I recommend using a super-nourishing and protective oil-based product like Shield, Blessing, Panacea Balm, Petal Silk, Tea Silk, Oh My Greeness or Veritas (or other Facial Oil) just after applying SkinDew in a 2-part application process to restore suppleness and smoothness. This locks in the moisture and restorative power of the Hyaluronic Acid.

Happy plumping! and make sure to get a broad range of vitamins and minerals in your diet, as well as rest and recuperation from everyday stress, to really help your skin glow and maintain your complexion at its best. Gentle massage regularly to stimulate circulation of blood and lymph is also a 'must-do' for your skincare regime. You can use your hands, fingers or a gua sha tool, just remember to relax and massage the skin from the head to the chest each day, to promote a glowing complexion and the best skin you can have.



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