Hyaluronic acid is the skincare ingredient that 99.9 percent of us have incorporated into our skincare routines, but that doesn't mean we're applying it correctly.
It's become an ingredient staple thanks to its ability to plump skin, minimize fine lines and reduce signs of dehydration, but only if you use it properly.
You've probably read that HA draws and attracts water from the environment into your skin, you know, the "attracts 1,000 times its weight in water" line. However, depending on where you live, there probably isn't that much water in your air.
So if this moisture-loving little guy can't draw water from the environment, it will draw it from your skin. Think of it like a big ole straw slurping up all the water from your skin and bringing it to the surface. Your skin feels great, but it's actually just had the reverse effect that you wanted.
Then I saw a TikTok by esthetician @bauerbeauty. In her video, she claims you need to keep hyaluronic acid in your shower, so you can apply it onto wet skin, whilst you're still in the shower in order to combat trans epidermal water loss.
Trans epi what now?
Right, so I went to my go-to dermatologist, Dr. Justine Kluk, to finally clear up this hyaluronic acid confusion once and for all.
"Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) is the process whereby water moves from the dermis through the epidermis and then evaporates from the surface of the skin," explains Dr. Kluk.
Sounds kind of complicated, but as she explains, "This process is regulated by our skin naturally, but can be impacted by certain skin conditions e.g. eczema, as well as external factors acting on the skin barrier, such as low humidity, skincare products, etc."
So basically if we want plump, hydrated skin, we want to reduce this TEWL, which Dr. Kluk advises can be done in a couple of ways.
"The first is the application of humectant ingredients such as hyaluronic acid. Humectants help to draw moisture to the epidermis, either from the air if it is humid enough, or from the underlying dermis in low humidity conditions."
Remember, we went over that earlier.
"This is why applying a moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid may be more effective if used in damp, steamy conditions, such as when you just get out of the shower."
So, not in the shower, but when you step right out, got it.
"The second way to reduce TEWL," Dr. Kluk explains, "is through the application of occlusive agents to the skin surface which seals the moisture in." Basically, that means applying a moisturizer on top of your hyaluronic, essentially sealing it in.
A moisture sandwich if you will.
So, just to make it crystal clear to everyone, when should you apply your hyaluronic acid?
"I would tend to recommend getting out of the shower, patting the skin dry gently with a towel, and then applying while the skin is still slightly damp and the room is still steamy," advises Dr. Kluk.
And don't forget to seal in with a moisturizer and avoid having your shower too hot.
Right, I'm off to the bathroom.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.