Do you, more often than not, look for skincare advice and find the term hyaluronic acid popping up? Have you wondered what makes hyaluronic acid a wonder ingredient for thousands of skin care products across the globe? Loved by every generation and used by every gender, hyaluronic acid, commonly known as HA, is known for its water retention properties. Right from wound healing to reducing inflammation to elasticity, it helps with a range of skin conditions.
Let's deep dive into understanding more about hyaluronic acid, when and how to use it, and the Ayurvedic herbs and ingredients it is compatible with.
But first, what is hyaluronic acid?
As a naturally occurring substance produced by your body, hyaluronic acid binds water to collagen, thus giving your skin that dewy and plump effect. Research proves that this sugar molecule can hold and absorb up to 1000 times its weight in water, making it a powerful ingredient for rehydration.
Biologically speaking, this molecule is a humectant and is commonly found in various areas of your body, including the skin, eyes, and synovial fluid of the joints. Your body also uses it to keep your skin and its connective tissues, nerves, eyes, and joints healthy and lubricated.
As you age, like other naturally-occurring substances that keep your skin healthy, such as hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin, decline. Dehydrated skin that lacks these substances often looks washed out, and dry with fine lines and wrinkles.
Understanding its benefits for the skin
Some of the key benefits of adding hyaluronic acid to your daily routine are:
- Hydration: Research has proved that using hyaluronic acid regularly can improve your skin's texture significantly. Whether ingested or used topically, it can do wonders for dehydrated skin.
- Wound-healing: Aiding the tissue regeneration process, studies have revealed that applying hyaluronic acid to the skin can help relieve inflammation while promoting skin and wound healing.
- Increases resilience: Fortifying the skin's natural barriers and locking moisture, your skin can better protect itself from environmental damage with the use of hyaluronic acid.
- Anti-aging: A study conducted in 2014 revealed that women who applied products containing hyaluronic acid twice a day reported a 40 percent decrease in the visibility of wrinkles, crow's feet, and fine lines.
- Smoother skin texture: Using products that contain hyaluronic acid can improve your skin's overall texture, making it free of imperfections.
- Reducing symptoms of eczema: Studies have proved that the regular and appropriate use of hyaluronic acid in the form of foam as compared to ceramides can reduce the symptoms of eczema.
Who can use hyaluronic acid?
Revitalizing the skin's outer layer, hyaluronic acid helps your skin look and feel firmer, softer, supple, and glowing while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Known to be good for all skin types, it is non-irritating and does not aggravate acne or rosacea. While this molecule, in general, does not have any side effects, let's understand how it might work for you depending on your doshas_._
For Kapha Dosha: Kapha skin is predominated by the mahabhutas (elements) of prithvi (earth) and apas (water). When balanced, this skin type is thick, oily, soft, and cool to the touch. With the combined energies of earth and water, this skin type is supple but tends to accumulate ama (toxins) in its large pores. This skin type tends to produce excess sebum leading to blackheads and cystic acne. Hyaluronic acid formulations help decrease sebum production and maintain overall moisture balance.
For Pitta Dosha: Pitta skin is predominated by the mahabhutas (elements) of agni (fire) and apas (water). When balanced, this skin type is dewy, warm to the touch, and moist. When imbalanced, this skin tends to show signs of acne, blemishes, and scarring. It is photosensitive, has the least sun exposure tolerance, and is most likely to accumulate sun damage over the years. Hyaluronic acid can help reduce acne scars, inflammation, and help this skin type retain moisture, and reduce signs of aging.
For Vata Dosha: Vata skin is predominated by the mahabhutas (elements) of vayu (air) and akasha (ether). When balanced, this skin type is thin, fine-pored, delicate, and cool to the touch. When imbalanced, this skin tends to be dry, leading to discomfort and irritation. It is also the type of skin that is first to show signs of aging in the form of wrinkles, fine lines, and crow's feet. Hyaluronic acid formulations help this skin type by maintaining the skin's hydration, improving its moisture balance, and visibly reducing signs of aging.
Compatibility with other herbs and actives
While acting as a cushioning and lubrication agent, hyaluronic acid pairs well with several Ayurvedic herbs and actives, making it a wonder molecule. Let's have a look at some of them here:
Hyaluronic acid + Vitamin C
As two superstar ingredients, both hyaluronic acid and vitamin C can give you an anti-aging boost while protecting you from sun damage. The pumping properties of hyaluronic acid, along with the brightening and antioxidant properties of vitamin C, can together work wonders for your skin. You will not only notice a boost in collagen synthesis but also brighter and supple skin.
Hyaluronic acid + Manjistha (Rubia Cordifolia)
Manjistha, or rubia cardifolia, is an ancient Ayurvedic herb used to treat a range of skin conditions. As a Raktadoshahara (blood purifying) herb, it improves Pachana (helps in digestion), Rochana (stimulates appetite), and Varna (improves complexion). It also has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce acne. Along with hyaluronic acid, it helps in depigmentation and improves hydration to make the skin look radiant, smooth, and supple.
Hyaluronic acid + Ghrit Kumari (Aloe vera)
Aloe vera, or aloe barbadensis, is known to be a wonder herb, according to Ayurveda. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cooling properties. These properties help improve skin moisture and water retention significantly. When combined with hyaluronic acid, it acts as a natural humectant or moisturizing agent. Aloe vera can promote hyaluronic acid synthesis in the body and protect photosensitive skin against sun damage. Care should be taken for adverse reactions like contact dermatitis and eczema when combined with hyaluronic derivatives.
Hyaluronic acid + Black seed (Nigella sativa)
Black seed, or kalonji, is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used in skin care regimens for diminishing fine lines, fighting acne, unclogging pores, and fading dark spots, since this herb is rich in amino acids and essential vitamins, including omega-3,6, and 9. This herb, when combined with moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, can help keep the skin supple, smooth, and free from acne.
Hyaluronic acid + Niacinamide
Niacinamide can reduce skin itching and also shows antimicrobial activity. It is used for its photoprotective activity to minimize sun damage and improve cell turnover. When used appropriately, it can also reduce the appearance of acne and improve the overall texture of the skin. When combined with hyaluronic acid and its derivatives, it can help lock in moisture and keep the skin free from stress caused by environmental factors.
Hyaluronic acid + Retinol
As a form of vitamin A, retinol is considered a standard ingredient for antiaging since studies have proved that it increases the production of collagen in the body, thus reducing the appearance of wrinkles. A match made in heaven, retinol and hyaluronic acid together have a synergizing effect while increasing the permeability of the skin. With hydrating and calming ingredients to help mitigate irritation, they work together in harmony while fighting acne and softening wrinkles.
READ MORE: Hyaluronic Acid With Ayurvedic Herbs: Rare But Excellent Compatibility
Boost the natural supply of hyaluronic acid
The 5000-year-old science of Ayurveda recommends cleansing the body from the inside out. There are several natural food sources from which you can attain hyaluronic acid. Consider adding the following to your Dincharya (daily routine) and ahara (diet):
- Nuts and seeds (almonds, chia seeds, pine nuts, cashews, and walnuts)
- Soy or soybeans (including tofu or edamame)
- Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, and lemon) help in the breakdown of hyaluronic acid
- Tuber vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, or lotus root)
- Bone broth (gravies and soups)
- Fermented food (yogurt and sauerkraut)
- Leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, collard greens, bok choy, and kale)
Regular consumption can help you keep the levels of hyaluronic acid in your body elevated. This will not only help keep your tissues and joints healthy while preserving your bone health and keeping your skin hydrated.
As you begin to age, your skin becomes sluggish owing to poor cell turnover resulting in the debut of fine lines, wrinkles, and rough skin. If you want to keep these worries at bay, incorporating hyaluronic acid into your daily routine can be helpful. Whether it is in the form of serums, moisturizers, oils, supplements, or food, the incorporation of hyaluronic acid will help you get the radiance you desire.
Overall, this super ingredient is great when applied topically to prevent moisture from being lost to the environment. Add to it the tried-and-tested Ayurvedic herbs, you've got a winner in hand.