Do Hyaluronic Acid Serums Really Work?

What is Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic Acid (HA) consists of a very long series of carbohydrate polymers. Imagine a chain with thousands and thousands of links. This is essentially what hyaluronic acid is.

Why is Hyaluronic Acid important for skin

Hyaluronic acid similarily to collagen and elastin ads firmness and elasticity to the skin. By attracting water molecules it puffs up the skin to give a smooth and youthful appearance.

It’s not only used as injectable fillers, your skin naturally produces hyaluronic acids and it is a key factor in healthy youthful looking skin

Why Hyaluronic Acids Serums Don’t Work

The size limit for skin absorption of a molecule is around 400 Dalton.
Hyaluronic acid is a very large molecule. The polymers can be composed of millions of hyaluronic acids subunits making it virtually impossible to penetrate the skin.

The low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid molecules are typically between 8,000-15,000 Dalton meaning even low weight HA is far too large for readily skin absorption.

High Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid vs Low Molecular Weight Weight Hyaluronic Acid

When it was discovered that higher molecular weight HA was almost unable to penetrate the skin, many companies in the beauty industry started producing HA serums with low molecular weight HA.

Low molecular weight HA is when chains of HA are split into shorter fragments which can drastically reduce molecular weight and size, thus allowing for more chance of skin absorption.

However, there is no scientific evidence indicating that these low molecular weight HA serums are able to penetrate the skin and current evidence suggest that the molecular are still far too large to penetrate the skin without the help of pharmaceutical grade penetration enhancers.

Is Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid as Effective as High Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acids?

Short answer, yes and no.

Long answer: The lower molecular weight HA does not draw water molecules like the high molecular weight HA. As a result, it provides far less structure and support to the skin.

However, the high molecular weight HA almost doesn’t absorb at all in to the skin so it is also useless to apply on the skin

What version of Hyaluronic Acid Serums work

Studies have shown that hyaluronic acid which has been encapsulated in phospholipids (which is a form of pharmaceutical grade delivery system for topical drug delivery) does absorb into the skin and thus can actually present improvements in the skin.

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