Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is all the rage these days. And rightfully so, as the benefits of hyaluronic acid for plump skin are tremendous. Hyaluronic acid is a truly amazing skin moisturizer. It is able to hold 1000 times its weight in water and if used properly, it can hydrate at the skin’s surface and penetrate the layers beneath it, helping plump and smooth the skin’s texture.
Hyaluronic acid – or hyaluronan – is a clear, gel-like substance that is naturally produced inside our bodies. With age, though, our ability to produce enough of this substance diminishes slowly. It is not only the effect of the natural aging process but also due to exposure to toxins. Pollutants such as ultraviolet radiation, smog, and tobacco smoke cause this hydrator and lubricant to slowly decrease in our skin.
Hyaluronic Acid Supplementation
This is why it makes sense to take Hyaluronic Acid internally – in the form of a supplement – and externally as a topical in hydrating face serums, gels, creams, and lotions.
Taken internally, hyaluronan can help decrease wrinkles and leads to the overall improvement in skin’s suppleness and general appearance (check out the complete study here). When taken orally, HA can also help lubricate bones and relieve joint pain, aid with some digestive issues (e.g. acid reflux), as well as lead to the strengthening of hair and alleviating dry eye symptoms.
Hyaluronic Acid is Key for Plump and Hydrated Skin
When applied topically, Hyaluronic Acid will plump and hydrate your skin and make it look and feel smooth, dewy, and radiant.
“Topically, Hyaluronic Acid has water storing properties, making it an ideal swelling agent and lubricant, enabling its incorporation into cosmetics leading to a perceptible and visible improvement of skin condition.”Lotioncrafter
When choosing hyaluronic acid to use on your skin, it is crucial to watch out for different molecular weights. Not to get too geeky here, but a little bit of science is in order.
There are two types of hyaluronan on the market. High molecular weight hyaluronic acid (HMW-HA) and low (or ultra-low) molecular weight hyaluronic acid (LMW-HA). The high molecular form of hyaluronic acid has large molecules and when mixed with water, it binds to it, forming a gooey gel.
Unlike regular HA, Hyaluronic Acid LMW will not form a gel in water. It has much smaller molecules, and they don’t bind so well to water but they can penetrate the skin easier. BUT, I would caution against using low molecular weight hyaluronic acid. In several studies, it has been linked to increased inflammation. As such, it could be seen as a potential contributor to chronic diseases, including cancer.
“HMW-HA promotes regenerative healing in adult wounds. On the other hand, LMW-HA and intermediate-weight HA increase the expression of macrophage inflammatory proteins, which may suggest that LMW-HA is important in the induction of the inflammatory cascade.”Study
My Hyaluronic Acid and Aloe Vera Botanical Serum
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Ever since I discovered the amazing hydrating and plumping properties of hyaluronic acid, I wanted to include it in my skincare routine. It turns out, it is pretty easy to make. Just purchase the HA powder from a reputable source, making sure that the molecular weight is clearly stated and that it is high.
Hyaluronic Acid forms a thin transparent visco-elastic surface film that helps to preserve the characteristics of youthful and healthy skin: suppleness, elasticity, and tone.Lotioncrafter
The powder tends to clump in the distilled water or a hydrosol. One way to avoid it is to pre-mix it with glycerin (which is itself a great moisture-binding agent) and then add it to your water. Alternatively, you can add it to water in a jar with cover, shut it tight, shake and mix, and place it in the fridge for an hour or so. After this time to hydrate, mix the gel well and use it as is or add to the rest of your formulation.
Aloe Vera Gel
I add another superb hydrator that will quench the skin’s thirst instantly and improves its ability to hold moisture over time – Aloe Vera Juice. If you grow your own Aloe, you can scoop some of the gel from inside the leaves. Other than that, just get a good quality Aloe Vera juice (without any additives).
Aloe Vera Juice – $16.17
from: Starwest Botanicals Inc.
I also add one or two botanical extracts containing active Flavonoids and Essential Oil compounds to my serum. My faves are Chamomile (anti-inflammatory and soothing to the skin) or Helichrysum Extract (calming and anti-aging).
Essential Oils work synergistically to address some common skin aging concerns. Geranium and Lavender target wrinkles and fine lines. Frankincense Carterii helps improve scarring, skin discoloration, and other irregularities. And Juniper Berry tightens and plumps the skin helps diminish the appearance of discoloration on the skin.
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Virtually weightless, the serum sinks into my skin almost in an instant. It can be used alone as a serum or mixed in with other serums, gels, and creams. I use AM and PM on clean, almost-dry skin. In the AM, I dissolve some Vitamin C powder in a dropper-full of the serum. Moist skin absorbs products better than dry skin, so apply while the skin is still slightly damp. In the evenings, I like to mix the serum with my Blue Cactus Elixir or to follow with oil-containing moisturizers like the 14 Oils Facial Serum.
Recipe for DIY a Hydrating Serum with Hyaluronic Acid for Plump Skin
This recipe will make 100g of the finished product, with 2% HA concentration.
- 2 g HMW-HA (find at Lotioncrafter)
- 60g distilled water or hydrosol of choice (lavender, rose, etc.)
- 25g Aloe Vera
- 5g Chamomile Extract (find at Lotioncrafter)
- 5g Helichrysum Extract (find at Lotioncrafter)
- 10 drops each of Geranium, Juniper Berry, Frankincense Carterii, and Lavender essential oils
- 3g Leucidal Liquid (preservative, accepted by the Whole Foods Acceptable Premium Preservative List, and approved for use in ECOCert Certified Organic products) (find at Lotioncrafter)
- Pre-mix HA with distilled water or hydrosol. Let stand in the fridge for one hour or until fully hydrated and gel-like without clumps.
- Add other ingredients, mix well, put it into bottles. Done!
- Use it daily and see it do its magic.
If you are not ready to make your own hyaluronic acid serum, pop into my Etsy store. I offer freshly made batches of the 2% Hyaluronic Acid Serum for sale. The serum is customizable. If you tell me your specific skin concerns, I’ll add essential oils or botanical extracts to address these accordingly.