Natural or Synthetic: Both
The Science: Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide (carbohydrate) that is found in humans and animals. It plays a key role in cushioning and lubricating the body and is abundant in the eyes, joints and heart valves. Babies are born with a high level of hyaluronic acid and that is why their skin is so plump and soft.
The Source: Hyaluronic acid is either extracted from rooster combs or made synthetically through bacterial fermentation.
Beauty Benefits: Now the fact that it has 'acid' in the name may make you think hyaluronic acid is harsh on skin, however this couldn't be further from the truth. Hyaluronic acid actually provides a large number of benefits to the skin. Hyaluronic acid's main benefit is its ability to hold 1000 times its weight in water - making it one of the most powerful natural moisturising ingredients known to science. It is also popular for its ability to deeply penetrate the skin. In addition, when applied topically, hyaluronic acid improves elasticity, decreases wrinkles and helps to repair environmental damage.
Hyaluronic Acid is such a powerful ingredient that many people have hyaluronic acid injections. Hyaluronic acid injections - Restylane being the most popular - are a type of dermal filler administered by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Hyaluronic acid fillers are used to support facial structures and tissues that have lost volume or elasticity due to ageing. They also bring water to the surface of skin to keep it looking supple and fresh.
Warnings: Hyaluronic acid is safe to use topically
Found in: The Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum (£33.00 pestleandmortarcosmetics.com). This serum is a hydrating power house! It glides on the skin easily, absorbs incredibly quickly and, unlike some hyaluronic acid-based products, isn't at all sticky. It plumps and soothes the skin and does a great job at reducing fine lines.