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Last week, Team Powder jetted off to Hamburg to have a nosy around Biersdorf’s laboratories – where some of the biggest brands in beauty, like Eucerin and Nivea, formulate their products. They gave us a guided tour and taught us lots of interesting facts about skincare – it kind of felt like we were on a school trip.
The first thing we learnt, was that if you’re really sensitive, you should always test products on your laughter lines (the most sensitive area, apparently). We also learnt that the best area to check your skin’s biological ageing (i.e. skin that hasn’t been affected by UV damage) is on your bottom. Yes, your backside really is the window to how your skin could have looked had you religiously applied your SPF. But what really stood out for us was the importance of hyaluronic acid. If you’re thinking ‘duh, heard that one before’ – stay with us.
You might already be aware that hyaluronic acid is responsible for keeping your skin hydrated, forms part of your skin’s connective tissue and is produced naturally by our bodies. But as we age, this production slows down, so it’s important to have this ingredient in your skincare arsenal. You probably have hyaluronic acid serum or moisturiser (gold star for you), but it might not be working to it’s full potential. It’s all down to the molecular structure of the hyaluronic acid itself. Typically, there are two forms:
Long chain hyaluronic acid: Much like a pearl necklace, these hyaluronic acid bonds are long and penetrate the very top layer of the skin.
Short chain hyaluronic acid: These bonds are smaller than long-chain, and penetrate down into the deeper levels that long chain molecules can’t get to.
Therefore, you might have a product that only contains long chain molecules, no shorter ones. This means that you’re only hydrating the very surface of your skin, which is all well and good, as these plump and moisturise the skin - but only superficially. To really reap the benefits of hyaluronic acid, you also need the short chain molecules, as these really deliver the hydration deeper to the epidermis, which is where a lot of deeper wrinkles form.
In a nutshell, using a hyaluronic acid product with just the long chain molecules is a bit like shampooing your hair, and then not conditioning it. To get the best results, you need both.
So what products can we trust to have both forms of HA? Look to products such as those in Eucerin’s Hyaluron-Filler Range, which also contain glycine saponin, which encourages the skin to produce it’s own hyaluronic acid. Or check out The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + BA serum, which also contains vitamin B5 to help keep your skin moisturised. We also like NIOD’s Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Acid, which boasts a whopping 12 forms of hyaluronic acid.
After a new moisturiser? Let us do the hard work for you with our moisturiser quiz below