A Deep Dive Into The Need-to-Knows About Hyaluronic Acid

There are a few things you should keep in mind when using hyaluronic acid. // Photo via Getty Images

While HA is safe and effective for most clients, there are some things you should keep in mind when using it.

“One of the biggest things to remember is that using HA alone, particularly in a dry climate, won’t provide the necessary hydration your skin needs,” says Shannon Esau, CEO and national educator at Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals. Instead, she recommends using a heavy water, also known as deuterium oxide (D2O), before applying HA to allow the acid to work more effectively and increase the hydration faster. Heavy water has been shown to be more resistant to vaporization, which keeps it on the skin longer. Esau cautions that using hyaluronic products without sealing in the additional hydration can do more harm than good. “The trick is to use hyaluronic in conjunction with natural moisturizers to prevent the hydration from escaping and taking more of the skin’s water with it,” says Esau. “An easy way to do this is by applying a moisturizer over top of the HA product or looking for an all-in-one cream formula.” 

Vegan spa-goers will also be happy to learn that HA is an option, depending on how it is made. It can be animal, plant, or bacteria derived. According to Biologique Recherche’s Laure Bouscharain, when HA is produced through bacterial fermentation, which it often is, it is considered vegan. 

You’ll also want to keep in mind that HA must be combined with other liquids in order to penetrate the skin. That is because the ingredient is so viscous. There is a reason it was once called the “goo” molecule. As a result, it’s a misnomer when you see a serum described as having 100 percent pure hyaluronic acid. “It could mean that one is selling a gel dilution of 1 percent HA in water and that is 100 percent pure,” says Dan Fryda, president, Spa Technologies International. According to him, most manufacturers rely on a pre-hydrated form of HA, which is typically a 1 percent solution of HA to water. Fryda suggests a range between .5 percent and 5 percent, as it will produce more effective results.

Want to know what to look for when perusing a product’s ingredient deck? Here are some common names used to refer to HA:

  • Glycosaminoglycan
  • Hyaluran
  • Hyaluronan
  • Hyaluronate Sodium
  • Hylan
  • Sodium Hyaluronate


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