Lisa Armstrong on an acid ally
HYALURONIC ACID IS the darling of the beauty industry. Rightly so. A gellike molecule that holds more water than a camel (relative to its size), it hydrates hair, plumps skin (thereby smoothing wrinkles), promotes elasticity and cushions nerves and joints – some have it injected to treat arthritis. It’s even thought to improve gum and eye health by boosting levels of fluid in the surrounding tissues.
One of the many irritating things about being young is that we produce oodles of the stuff without a thought. It’s only when production slows (by the age of 40 it’s probably dropped by half ) that we realise how good we had it. Too late. Now it’s scan-the-ingredientson-every-last-bottle-of-gunk time. Or find 5,000 ways to spice up tofu.
An ABC TV documentary on the agedefying appearance of some villagers in Japan, which went the equivalent of viral in 2000, traced their remarkable well-being and unlined skin to a soya, oestrogen-rich diet that sent signals to the brain to produce more hyaluronic acid. Not everyone wants to eat unrestricted soya, however – hence the spurt in hyaluronic acid supplements and topical preparations.
The problem is that not all HA ingredients are created equal. ‘Often when ingredients on the side of a bottle refer to hyaluronic acid, what they really mean i s s o dium hyaluronate,’ says Shabir Daya, chemist in residence at victoriahealth.com. ‘That is a smaller molecule that penetrates deeper down and helps to hydrate skin. But it’s of little value in the repair process carried out by pure hyaluronic acid.’
When you do find a good potion, the impact i s star tling and immediate. I road-tested Alexandra Soveral’s Super Hero Rejuvenating & Plumping Potion re c e ntly a nd c oul dn’ t be l i e ve the results. Even my lips looked fuller. Place a gauze infused with the tinture (which contains antioxidants, vitamins and naturally occurring HA) on your face for 20 minutes – and marvel. At £95 for a 15ml bottle and three gauzes, it seems pricey, but you could make your own gauzes once you’ve run out. Or apply with your fingers. It’s a wonderful tool to help you feel your most youthful.
Nio d’s s e cond- generation MultiMolecular Hyaluronic Acid contains 15 forms of hyaluronic compounds. It’s designed for daily use – under a moisturiser. The chronology is important: used wrongly, and HA could draw moisture out of the skin. Applying moisturiser on top will seal it and prevent that.
For internal health, a daily supplement is a good approach. Food Science of Vermont ’s Hyaluronic Acid High Streng h provides 225mg per capsule – more than enough. It’s hard to overdo it apparently, though pregnant women should consult their doctors first.
A molecule that holds more water than a camel, it hydrates hair, plumps skin, smoothes wrinkles