The More You Know: Hyaluronic Acid

What is it?

What do all of these bubbles have in common?  If you guessed hyaluronic acid, you're right!  (Or did you read the giant capitalized word and cheat?  Pish posh!)  Hyaluronic acid was originally discovered in cow eyes, and used to be sourced from rooster combs (which made it quite expensive indeed).  Scientists eventually enslaved bacteria to produce it, which is how it can be so much more affordable today (although it's still pretty pricey).  It is not just a skincare ingredient though.  Like collagen and ceramides, it's naturally found right in our skin.  Actually, it's all over the place, hydrating cells and lubricating joints (which is why some people take them as supplements). 

What does it do?

It is widely considered to be one of the best humectants, which hold water and retain moisture in skin.  Hyaluronic acid is capable of holding up to 1000 times its weight in water!  (And it's a pretty huge molecule!)  As expected, as we age, the level of hyaluronic acid in our skin drops.  You can take some extreme measures like injecting hyaluronic acid as a filler for wrinkles or plumping up certain areas, but you have to realize that hyaluronic acid's turnover rate is usually a day, so fillers will only last around 6 months.  What you can do is incorporate hyaluronic acid into your regular skincare routine to keep your skin hydrated and stimulate production of more hyaluronic acid by adding actives and exercising.

More Science Please!

Hyaluronan molecule.  Image from Wikipedia.

These are some blogs I frequent, so they're not full blown, Ben Stein monotonous, heavy diction science.  If you want that, check out some of these:

Prepare yourself.

Where can I get some?

Hyaluronic acid is ridiculously common in skincare, but of course the concentration is not disclosed.  A very popular product is Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion, which contains several types of HA, and is quite beloved because of how well it works and how affordable it is.  Many regard it as a serum rather than just a run-of-the-mill toner.  I, unfortunately, cannot use it, as it gives me tons of blackheads for some reason.  I have, and recommend, the Hada Labo Shirojyun Arbutin Lotion (reviewed here), if you have the same problem or would like some arbutin in your routine.  It contains HA, but doesn't offer the same level of moisture sucking that the Gokujyun line does.  Hada Labo has also renamed (possibly reformulated?) their stuff for the US market, so some stores carry it as the Hada Labo Tokyo Replenishing Hydrator instead of the Lotion. - $12.58 with Prime Shipping - $19.99 - $19.99 - $17.99 for Hada Labo Tokyo Replenishing Hydrator - $11.87 for Hada Labo Tokyo Replenishing Hydrator

You can also get 4% Cashback at or, 3% Cashback at Ulta, or 2% Cashback at Target by using Ebates (referral link).

This apparently is a cult beauty product too, but I've never used it and I think it's too overpriced for me to consider trying.  It's recommended by some bloggers and beauty gurus though, and it's a specialty hyaluronic acid product.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Can I DIY it?

Hecka yes, you can!  It's one of the easiest DIYs I've ever done.  In fact, when I first ordered everything for my Vita-Sea (just plain Jane Vitamin C+E+FE at the time...), that was my first cosmetic DIY, as I needed to make a stock HA solution.  You can check my tutorial out here.

And of course, if you want to stimulate hyaluronic acid production via Nia-Nag combination, you can check out Shark Sauce in the Holy Snails shop.  If you would like to see other topics, please let me know in the comments!