The key to keeping your skin looking younger and healthier is keeping your skin’s moisture levels topped up. Hydrated skin is happy skin, and here are the ingredients and products to know to keep it that way.
Hydration heroes: the best ingredients to hydrate our skin
• Hyaluronic acid
You may have already heard of hyaluronic acid’s hydrating benefits. This powerhouse ingredient forms part of your skin’s framework and is responsible for its plump and hydrated appearance. It functions as a humectant – a substance that helps the skin hold onto water to stay hydrated – and can bind to up to 1,000 times its weight in water.
It’s produced naturally by our bodies, but ageing and exposure to external threats like UV radiation from the sun and pollution can cause levels to deplete. Fortunately, it’s available in topical products such as serums, so you can top up your supplies and give parched skin a healthy dose of moisture.
When your skin is hydrated, your skin may appear smoother and fine lines and wrinkles can be softened. Hyaluronic acid serums can therefore be effective in reducing signs of premature ageing. Hydrated skin also appears more radiant and can help your makeup glide on more easily.
Turn over your moisturisers and you’ll probably see glycerin among the ingredients. It’s one of the most commonly used ingredients in skincare. It’s a natural softener that’s derived from vegetable oils or animal fats and a humectant, which attracts moisture from the air into the top layer of your skin (the stratum corneum). It helps to keep skin soft and supple, and prevent moisture loss.
Our skin barrier helps seal in the good stuff our skin needs to stay healthy (moisture) and keeps out harmful elements such as pollution and UV rays. Ceramides are the glue that holds our skin cells together, the mortar in our brick wall if you like, that keeps our skin barrier intact and functioning properly.
Like hyaluronic acid, a version of squalane (squalene) can be found naturally in our bodies. It is a main component in sebum, the oily substance that moisturises and protects our skin and skin barrier. And like hyaluronic acid, the amount made and retained by our bodies declines with age. Fortunately, the squalane found in skincare is as effective and safe as that we naturally produce. It is also gentle enough for all skin types, and can provide relief from skin conditions such as inflammation, eczema, acne and rosacea, which are linked to a compromised skin barrier.
Our best hyaluronic acid serums for healthier and younger-looking skin