Hydrate Your Skin (Sans Stickiness) This Summer
As it becomes steamier and stickier outside, many of us wrestle with the right way to moisturize our aging skin. Slathering on a rich cream worked well in mid-February, but that same product probably now leaves you feeling more gooey than dewy—and it may be causing your makeup to slip and slide around your face. Not good. My solution? On days that are super-soupy, I skip lotions and creams altogether and sub in a hyaluronic acid serum.
Don’t let the word acid scare you. Hyaluronic acid (henceforth HA) is not of the stinging, peeling variety. It’s a sugary molecule known as a humectant (that means it attracts water) that occurs naturally in your body, keeping joints lubed, and holding onto moisture in the skin. As we age, we have a harder time retaining moisture (maybe you’ve noticed this? Hah). We also have less naturally-occurring HA in our bodies, which is one reason joints become stiffer and skin becomes dryer. Thus, applying a light serum with HA in it boosts your skin’s capacity to hold onto moisture and look and feel hydrated—without any tacky-ness.
Most HA serums are super lightweight and disappear into the skin, making your face feel smoother, softer and plumper instantly. The latter benefit is the result of that aforementioned humectant quality; HA can draw and hold onto water 1000 times its own weight. HA is also the primary ingredient in many injectable fillers, such as Restylane, Juvederm and Voluma, because of this same ability to plump and boost volume. Slathering on an HA serum will not give you injectable-like results, of course, but it will make your complexion look and feel more cushiony.
Finally, HA is suitable for all skin types, from the driest to the oiliest/acne prone Truly. It's like a cool glass of water for thirsty skin (of all types) on a hot day. That said, serums do range from liquidy to gel-like. The one that's best for you is a matter of personal preference, though I'm guessing dryer types will gravitate toward the slightly-thicker formulas, while the acne-prone will want their HA serum as light as humanly possible.
PCA Skin Hyalunonic Acid Boosting Serum is on the thicker, milkier end of the spectrum.
Rodan + Fields Active Hydration Serum is clear and slippery. Like water mixed with a teensy drop of lotion.
Simple Water Boost Hydrating Booster is not available until next month (it will be on shelves in early July), but I've been experimenting with a sample and it's the lightest of all—seriously water-like and only lightly scented, making it perfect for very oily, breakout-prone or sensitive types.