Dear readers, If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my almost three years spent at Ashtoria, it’s that working at a med spa makes you your friends’ skincare guru. A recent girls' night out brought up the question, “What is hyaluronic acid and why should I use it?” Before I started at Ashtoria, my skincare knowledge was pretty obsolete but one of the first things I remember hearing Valerie, Ashtoria’s founder, recommend to clients was the use of products containing hyaluronic acid (HA). At the time I had never heard of it. Now, it’s everywhere- even over-the-counter brands have caught on. But what exactly is this miracle ingredient? And should you believe the hype?
Hyaluronic acid is a clear substance naturally produced by our body to keep our skin, connective tissues, and eyes lubricated and moist. It has become an incredibly popular skincare ingredient thanks to its capacity to hold water more than any other natural or synthetic skincare component. It can be applied topically in the form of serums or moisturizers, and is also a main component in many temporary dermal fillers. When applied topically, hyaluronic acid penetrates quickly, leaving wrinkled or loose skin looking instantly dewy and youthful. Yet another perk to HA products is that they help the products you layer on top of them penetrate more efficiently. Despite having “acid” in the name, hyaluronic acid doesn’t work like other skincare acids. It doesn’t exfoliate or lighten skin like glycolic acid and it doesn’t treat acne like salicylic acid. When used as directed, HA carries a very low risk of complications (with the exception of rare allergic reactions) and it’s been tested to play well with other products. So, yes - you should believe the hype!
Now like I mentioned above, it seems like every beauty brand known to man has developed a hyaluronic acid product, which sparks the question: “Which one should I buy?” Knowing what we do about the effectiveness of medical grade versus over-the-counter products should help weed out some of the overwhelming options that are out there. Products purchased at Sephora or a drugstore simply aren’t going to give the lasting results that a medical grade product can. My favorite HA serum that I’ve tried is the Visual Changes Advanced Hydrating Serum ($56). It provides intensive nourishment and hydration, plumps fine lines, increases skin firmness, and works perfectly under any moisturizer I’ve used. Hyaluronic acid that’s been absorbed into the skin breaks down within twelve hours, so applying more than once a day is recommended. Let me go a step further and recommend using a sunscreen formulated with HA. The EltaMD UV Elements ($34) is our best-selling product, period. We literally have to order multiple cases at a time because everyone who tries it ends up loving it. It’s a physical sunscreen with a slightly tinted, moisturizing base that layers perfectly under makeup. What’s not to love?
Every once in a while, a client will come in for a consultation and their skin is dehydrated for a variety of reasons: they may have sun damage, maybe they use products containing alcohols and detergents, they could be a smoker, or perhaps they just don’t take care of their skin at all. One of Valerie’s favorite things to do for this type of client is to apply a couple of products (the Advanced Hydrating Serum and UV Elements sunscreen I mentioned above) to their skin just to show them the visible difference that deep hydration can make. The results really speak for themselves- just by applying these products, they end up looking like they’ve had a light treatment!
I think I’ve hyped up hyaluronic acid as much as I possibly can in one post! I hope you find time this week to treat yourself or your skin in some way.
Love, your skincare guru <3