Welcome to the ultimate guide on how to get the most out of your hyaluronic acid products!
- Hyaluronic acid can be used twice a day
- A hyaluronic acid moisturizer should be applied after cleansing, exfoliating, and/or applying a serum
- Hyaluronic acid boosts collagen production and plumps the appearance of wrinkles
- Apply a generous amount of hyaluronic acid to damp skin before adding a moisturizer
Skincare products range from inexpensive to expensive. And they’re available everywhere from your local pharmacy to exclusive spas and department stores. But with such variety, how do you choose the right skincare products for you?
How do you know what will work best, and which products will deliver on their claims? What ingredients should you look out for, and what are all those fancy terms anyway?
We’ll take an in-depth look at the variety of skin care products that exist from cleansers to moisturizers to serums, masks, and more. We’ll also explore their specific functions and benefits as well as how to select the ones that will be most effective on your skin type.
Hyaluronic acid is an ideal ingredient to address skin aging, help your skin retain moisture, plump skin, and smooth wrinkles. Sodium Hyaluronate (the salt form of hyaluronic acid) is a sodium molecule and a key element to create hydrated skin.
You might be asking yourself, does hyaluronic acid really do all of that?! Yes, yes it does!
With the popularity and efficacy of the ingredient, incorporating hyaluronic acid into your skin care regimen is super easy. In fact, you probably use hyaluronic acid products already without even realizing it!
See Related: What To Pair With Glycolic Acid
The difference between hyaluronic acid cleansers, toners, serums, masks, and moisturizers
With so many hyaluronic acid skincare products on the market, it only makes sense to categorize them. After all, you’ll find hundreds of products that do exactly the same thing.
The difference between this variety of products will be the quality of their ingredients, their prices, and even how manufacturers and distributors market them.
In this guide, we’ll explore the five categories of hyaluronic acid skin care products: cleansers, toners, serums, masks, and moisturizers. HA molecules are super powerful and can even slow down the aging process.
Each hyaluronic acid product performs a different function and, as you’ll see, the efficacy of these functions will boil down to how much you know about the product and how best to use it.
There are so many benefits of hyaluronic acid that you might find yourself wanting to use it all the time. While it is available over the counter, it is always a good idea to consult a board-certified dermatologist first!
Hyaluronic Acid Cleansers
Cleansers have been on the market for a long time. In fact, they’ve been around long enough to have undergone several changes with more than enough formula variations to choose from.
Types of Cleansers
If you’re wondering how often to use hyaluronic acid (and if you’ve come across some variants of cleansing or makeup-removing beauty balms), here’s a quick rundown of what they are meant for. A good way to classify them is by their types and when to use them.
These are ideal for oily and combination skin types. Foam cleansers typically strip your skin of dirt and excess oil but let the moisture balance thrive.
These are perfect for dry and sensitive skin types. Gel cleansers hydrate the skin while decongesting clogged pores, making them an ideal option for those with acne-prone skin.
Oil is a fantastic way to cleanse your skin because it removes grime without stripping away natural oils from your face. The best part? It can be used on all skin types!
Micellar water was first invented as a type of soap-free alternative to traditional detergent-laden formulas. They’re made with surfactants and moisturizers that won’t disturb your skin’s pH levels, so they don’t require rinsing off. You can use them on basically any skin type.
These work both as a makeup remover and as a skincare cleanser.
If your skin is extremely dry, flaky, and sensitive to detergents, try using a cleansing bar. That way, you won’t have to deal with harsh substances like sodium Laureth sulfate or benzoyl peroxide that could cause inflammation, and neither will you strip the skin of its natural oils.
Hyaluronic Acid Toners
Toners have undergone several changes since they first came into vogue. These are light, liquid-based formulas used after cleansing but before applying serums and moisturizers.
Types of Toners
Toners mask the appearance of pores, provide deep hydration, nourish the skin, increase the absorption of active ingredients applied afterward, and prevent dehydration. Many toners also contain retinol which stimulates cell turnover.
Also known as skin fresheners, these are very mild toners. They mostly contain humectants and a little alcohol, usually less than 10%.
A little stronger than skin bracers, skin tonics contain up to 20% alcohol as well as humectants like glycerine and water. These toners can be used on oily, normal, and combination skin types.
As the name suggests, these toners exfoliate the skin chemically. They contain beta hydroxy or alpha hydroxy acids.
These are the strongest toners containing up to 60% alcohol; as such, they should be used cautiously as they can strip the skin’s protective lipids while also acting as an antiseptic agent.
Hyaluronic Acid Serums
Serums are water-based, liquid skin care products that help boost your skin’s appearance and structure by making it firm, thus smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles.
Types of serums
There are several types of serums, each offering a different function. You’ll find that most serums contain hyaluronic acid to varying degrees. Before you apply hyaluronic acid, always conduct a patch test to ensure you avoid allergic reactions.
Anti-aging serums are designed to target the signs of aging. The most common components of these types of serums are antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin B3, which fight free radicals. Other ingredients that may be in anti-aging serums are peptides and hyaluronic acid.
Peptides encourage skin renewal while hyaluronic acid plumps up skin cells to create a more youthful-looking appearance. Applied to the skin’s surface, these products reduce visible fine lines as they draw moisture into the deeper layers of the skin, keeping your complexion moist.
These are used to give the skin a rosy, youthful glow. They contain ingredients that stimulate melanin production, reduce the size of skin pores, and prevent hyperpigmentation.
Most brightening serums will contain ingredients such as Vitamin C, arbutin, licorice extract, niacinamide (vitamin B3), and kojic acid.
Hydrating serums, as the name implies, are made to keep the skin from drying out. Humectants like glycerin and honey work to attract moisture from the environment to the skin. Botanical extracts and oils also add additional levels of hydration.
A common ingredient in hydrating serums is hyaluronic acid, a powerful antioxidant that protects skin cells against harmful UV rays and environmental stressors like pollution. HA also improves the skin’s ability to retain water as well as its elasticity, so adding a few drops to your routine will go a long way.
Exfoliating serums work by penetrating deep into the skin and removing dead skin cells. This process reveals a younger-looking layer of skin and reduces age spots, acne scars, and fine lines, leaving you with an even-toned complexion.
The most common ingredients found in these exfoliator treatments are salicylic acid and glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is derived from cane sugar and works by dissolving keratin that bonds dead skin cells together.
As the name implies, firming serums work to smooth out and tighten skin. One of the most popular ingredients in these types of serums is retinol, a form of vitamin A.
Retinol stimulates collagen synthesis, boosts cell turnover rates, and helps repair sun damage. Niacinamide is another ingredient quite similar to retinol.
Firming serums are often combined with other skin-plumping and moisturizing agents like hyaluronic acid to maximize the benefits. Antioxidant serums focus on preventing future damage from free radicals.
Hyaluronic Acid Masks or (Masques)
Masks are a less-frequently used but highly effective skin care product. These masks trap moisture in the skin to aid hydration, making them perfect for those looking to moisturize dry skin.
Types of masks
Depending on the ingredients used, these masks can also exfoliate the skin, allowing easier penetration of other skincare ingredients.
Sheet masks are usually soaked in a solution of hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and other substances. They’re typically worn for 10 to 15 minutes, although some people opt to wear them overnight.
This type of mask has become hugely popular due to its ease of use. However, many sheet masks are laden with chemicals and preservatives, such as parabens, benzoyl peroxide, and fragrances.
These are masks that require more active participation than the other three listed here. These masks are applied to the skin and left to set.
After a designated amount of time, usually anywhere from 5-30 minutes, they are peeled off. This allows the peel-off mask to remove impurities from pores without the mess associated with clay masks.
These masks are the bread and butter of any beauty routine. They are the perfect way to give your skin a much-needed boost.
They are made from clay and sulfur and are thus ideal for extracting dirt and excess oil from the skin. One significant advantage of clay masks is that they aren’t chemical-laden.
Hydrogels are a slightly different take on the masks mentioned above. Hydrogels are clear, gel-like sheets that are saturated with peptides or other skin-nourishing ingredients.
They work the same way as other masks by providing intense nourishment to the skin.
HERE ARE A FEW GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW WHEN APPLYING A MASK:
- Always apply masks after cleansing. This removes oil, dirt, and makeup residue that might interfere with the mask’s effectiveness.
- Apply the appropriate amount of liquid or cream to create a thick paste before applying it to your skin.
- Overuse can cause sensitivity, flaking, and redness. For those who have sensitive skin, the signs of overuse are easy to spot. If you notice redness, peeling, and sensitivity developing, discontinue usage. Though masks contain far fewer chemicals than other skin care products, the damaging effects of high concentrations are just as real. Stick to a maximum of one mask per day and no more than two masks a week if you want to keep things safe!
Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizers:
Moisturizers seal in water, trapping it against your skin. The water molecules then bind to the fats (lipids) in the upper layer of your skin, which leads to improved elasticity and reduced wrinkles.
This means that moisturizers are essential if you have dehydrated skin or live in an especially dry climate.
Types of moisturizers
Applying sunscreen will further protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
These are great for dry skin as they lock in the necessary oils to hydrate your skin. Emollients like shea butter, cocoa butter, and almond oil are natural moisturizing agents that maintain a healthy sebum balance on your skin. They are often found in lotions or body oils.
Humectants like glycerin and honey suck up water from the atmosphere and pull it deep into the layers of your skin. Humectant moisturizers are also effective in relieving skin irritation. Ingredients like aloe vera, rose water, and witch hazel are all well-known for their soothing properties.
These are the most powerful type of moisturizer. Occlusives form a thin, protective barrier between your skin and the environment to prevent moisture from escaping. They’re recommended for extremely dry skin as they have a very thick consistency.
Usage and application suggestions
Different skincare products follow different application instructions, but it also depends on how often you use them. Here is a breakdown of how to use the above skincare products on a daily and weekly basis:
One pump of foam cleanser is all that’s needed for daily usage. Two pumps are more appropriate for washing off a face full of makeup or cleansing after an intense workout session.
Gel cleansers should not be used more than 2 times per day. This should be once in the morning and again at night before bed.
Oil-based cleansers should be used only once a day, while micellar water can be used twice a day in place of a traditional cleanser.
A quarter-sized amount of cleansing balm every night or morning is sufficient for those who want to use this product as a regular moisturizer.
Apply the toner after cleansing either with a cotton ball or a cotton pad soaked in the toner. You can also pour some onto your hands and rub it into your face.
How often you use topical HA and how much will depend on your specific skin needs as well as how sensitive your skin is. Most people with normal skin types use toners once every other day or so.
But there are some people who need to apply a toner three times a day if they have extremely oily skin that needs extra cleansing.
Once applied, a serum can take a few minutes to absorb fully into the skin. After this period, makeup can be applied over it without causing any buildup or clogging of the pores.
It is recommended that serum be applied roughly five minutes before layering on another product so that each layer has time to sink in properly.
Apply serums twice daily either in the morning and the evening or after waking up and before going to sleep. If used as part of a treatment regimen for acne, look for serums with low glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide, which may irritate dry skin types.
Use masks anywhere from 1-2 times per week. Those with sensitive skin should limit mask use to once a week.
Always allow masks to sit on the face for 10 minutes before rinsing off. You can also use overnight masks.
Using a moisturizer twice a day is enough for most people, though those living in dry climates may need to use a moisturizer 3-4 times per day. People with very oily skin might not even need to use moisturizers at all.
Oily skin types are better off using lighter, oil-free moisturizing lotions or gels instead of richer creams; lotions tend to produce less grease and reduce shine.
How often should you use hyaluronic acid? Well, the answer is simple – twice a day!
You’ll want to incorporate hyaluronic acid into your routine for many reasons. Most importantly, it boosts collagen production and plumps the appearance of wrinkles. When applying, apply a generous amount to damp skin before adding a moisturizer.
The importance of a good skincare routine:
A good skincare routine should include a moisturizer, serum, and sun protection factor (SPF). Moisturizers replenish moisture lost from the skin while serums hydrate and work in tandem with moisturizers to keep skin healthy.
There are also products specifically formulated to prevent breakouts, fight acne, and provide anti-aging benefits. SPF is necessary for protection against harmful UV rays as it provides UVA and UVB protection.
Generally, a good skincare routine allows your skin to glow and grow and, oftentimes, prevents breakouts or other aging signs.
The do’s and don’ts of using hyaluronic acid skincare products:
Don’t use products that are not meant for your skin type. As a general rule, if you have dry skin, use moisturizers and creams with ingredients such as glycerin, shea butter, and ceramides.
If you have oily skin, use oil-free moisturizers, creams, and treatments. If you have acne-prone skin, avoid heavy oils and opt for non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores) options.
As for how often to apply any given product? That’s entirely up to you.
Some people prefer applying it only at night, while others like using it in both the morning and at night. Some people may even prefer applying it multiple times per day, depending on their needs.
At this point, you know how to use the different skincare products, as well as how they work to give the desired results.
Keep Reading: 6 Signs You Have Dehydrated Skin & Tips On How To Fix It
For over 60 years, Viviane Woodard has represented “The Purity of Skincare”. We are the leading beauty brand for skin care products and promote the importance of good skin hydration. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for skin care tips, product discounts, and more.