Wait, topical hyaluronic acid?

Remember hyaluronic acid, that crazy-huge glycosaminoglycan we talked about yesterday? I mentioned how it’s used as a cosmetic filler because of its ability to fill space and hold water (it’s actually insane how much water it can hold: one GRAM of hyaluronic acid can hold six LITERS of water).

The skincare industry has been adding hyaluronic acid (HA) to creams and serums for years – but since the skin can’t possibly absorb anything as gigantic as HA (on average, HA has 25,000 disaccharides!), such products were little more than marketing hype.

But new ways of formulating HA (chopping it up, putting it in microspheres, etc.) seem to have solved the size problem – and there are now lots of topical HA products that actually work. You won’t get the dramatic effects of injectable HA – but maybe that’s a good thing.

If you’re interested in learning more about how topical HA works, and which HA-containing products are legit, this New York Times article is a well-researched and accurate review.

The Second Coming of Hyaluronic Acid
New York Times | Courtney Rubin | December 30, 2015

After spending hours on airplanes to help run her family’s photography business, Sonia Deasy was desperate for a quick solution to her dehydrated skin. “I’m a mother of five,” Ms. Deasy said. “I don’t have time for a fuss.”

So Ms. Deasy, who lives in Dublin, enlisted her sister, a biochemist, to help make a hyaluronic acid serum. Within a week of its release last year, the product, Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum, sold out.

Cameron Silver, who owns Decades, a vintage boutique in Los Angeles, described the serum as being “like Xanax for your skin: It kind of takes the edge off.”

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