Madonna’s Dermatologist Swears By This $150 Hyaluronic Acid Serum
As far as skincare acids and buzzworthy ingredients go, hyaluronic acid (aka HA) is at the top of the leaderboard. Unlike other more aggressive acids like AHAs and BHAs, it plays nicely with all skin types, can be mixed and matched easily with favorite formulas and regiments, and does a whole lot of good for a parched complexion. In fact, it’s probably the most recommended ingredient and product type we hear touted time and time again from celebrity dermatologists and estheticians.
Essentially, the ingredient (and serums and other skincare products housing it) helps attract water to aid in skin hydration and to also help stimulate collagen production—two things that naturally wane as we get older. So, some high-quality supplementation is key. To get all of our HA facts in order, we reached out to a handful of the most sought-after skin experts in the industry (aka the board-certified dermatologists celebrities and other skin-obsessed peeps flock to) to get a better understanding of what HA is, how we should shop for it to ensure we’re getting a dependable formula, and the exact hyaluronic acid serums they actually love and recommend. Keep scrolling!
According to board-certified dermatologist Sheel Desai Solomon, MD, of Preston Dermatology + Skin Surgery, hyaluronic acid is a technically a protein called glycosaminoglycan that is naturally found in our skin, eyes, connective tissue, and joints.
“Think of hyaluronic acid as a powerful hydrator,” she explains. “It has an amazing ability to attract and hold water in the skin and anywhere else in the body where it’s found. It lubricates the joints and helps to repair damage to the body after an injury.”
However, as we age, our body’s natural hydration stores can start to decrease, which is where supplementing with a high-quality hyaluronic acid serum or skincare formula can come in clutch.
“As we age, our skin becomes increasingly dry and loses moisture,” adds Gretchen Frieling, MD, a board-certified dermatologist near Boston. “Aging skin loses its firmness, becomes less supple and often looks dehydrated. A product containing hyaluronic acid can replenish the moisture that aging skin is lacking and improve the appearance of fine lines and make the skin look smoother.”
Since hyaluronic acid is a big molecule, it doesn’t always penetrate down to the dermis, but it can definitely help improve hydration levels where the skin needs it, explains Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, celebrity cosmetic dermatologist and founder of PFRANKMD. However, that’s why it’s important to look for serums containing two different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid and/or serums formulated with ingredients that help seal in moisture and prevent transepidermal water loss.
To ensure you’re getting the most from a hyaluronic acid serum, Solomon recommends looking closely at a product’s ingredient list as you shop. “Some formulations claim that they contain hyaluronic acid even though the amount is very small,” she warns. “Look for the ingredient ‘sodium hyaluronate’ early in the ingredient list—since hyaluronic acid is a big molecule, and if not formulated well, it may just sit on the skin’s surface.”
Plus as Frank mentioned, look for helpful ingredient additions like ceramides, peptides, niacinamide, or other antioxidants which will only enhance the benefits of hyaluronic acid formulations.