Much has been written on the internet about Hyaluronic Acid being a miracle moisturiser. In fact though, while temporary visible changes might happen, Hyaluronic Acid does nothing to improve skin anti-ageing.
In reality, the opposite is true. Hyaluronic Acid will actually dehydrate skin, one of the worst causes of skin ageing.
Simplicité founder, naturopath and herbalist David Lyons, with more than 30 years of clinical experience, says Hyaluronic Acid has its uses, but whether 'vegan' or otherwise it will not give lasting results.
He explains why below.
But first, what actually is vegan Hyaluronic Acid made from?
There isn't a 'plant based' Hyaluronic Acid
Many organic and natural skin care brands claim they use a vegan version of Hyaluronic Acid. What does 'vegan' mean here - is the Hyaluronic Acid made from plants? If not plants, what?
Some companies claim their vegan Hyaluronic Acid is extracted from wheat. or sweet potato, even cotton, through a fermentation process.
Sounds wholesome enough.
But when you look into details of this manufacturing, it’s not wholesome at all.
The fermentation process involves bacteria only. There isn't a plant in sight.
Hyaluronic Acid made from bacteria
Consider, for example, one vegan version of Hyaluronic Acid that is made using genetically manipulated Bacillus.
Bacillus subtilis is a bacteria that is found in soil and the gut of humans and some types of animals. This is modified (mainly in Chinese factories) by deleting certain genes, then inserting a gene from Streptococcus equisimilus, then cloning.
Another vegan Hyaluronic Acid is made (again mainly in Chinese factories) through the fermentation of Streptococcus zooepidemicus, a bacteria commonly found in the bowels and lungs of horses with influenza.
Does anyone really want to put this stuff on their skin?
One version of vegan HA is made from
Streptococcus zooepidemicus (horse flu) bacteria.
No Hyaluronic Acid is made from plants
Hyaluronic Acid (Sodium Hyaluronate is another name for it) exists only in the tissues of mammals or the exterior wall of Streptococcal bacteria.
'Natural and organic' skin care claims that Hyaluronic Acid is made from the Cassia/Senna plant are untrue. This applies to any claims made about Hyaluronic Acid being sourced from any types of plant.
That's because Hyaluronic Acid is a substance made by the human body.
Plants cannot and do not make Hyaluronic Acid.
- There is no proof given for this claim that sweet potatoes provide Hyaluronic Acid
- Or this claim that "eating a diet rich in dark, leafy greens as well as some starchier veggies (sweet potato, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama) may provide some hyaluronic acid."
Nor can plants 'mimic' Hyaluronic Acid
Polysaccharides from the Cassia/Senna plant are not Hyaluronic Acid/Sodium Hyaluronate. These polysaccharides are merely claimed to 'mimic the action of Hyaluronic Acid.'. Which isn't even true.
The Cassia/Senna plant has a long history as being used as a laxative. It’s also a known sensitiser to human skin.
Alleged proven science about Senna polysaccharides on manufacturers' websites is nothing more than a simple self-run test. These tests are not properly controlled, independent studies. They are not published on any recognised reference websites such as NCBI.
Animal sourced Hyaluronic Acid
In our view, whether vegan Hyaluronic Acid is made from one or the other types of bacteria fermentation methods explained above, both are as off-putting as non-vegan Hyaluronic Acid, which is made from rooster combs, animal eyeballs and giblets.
Doesn’t bear thinking about, really.
Non-vegan Hyaluronic Acid is made from rooster combs
and other animal tissue.
Whatever its source, Hyaluronic Acid can't help skin
Surely no self-respecting vegan would use this stuff if they knew its true origins - whether that's from bacteria or animal tissue?
However even ignoring its origins, our point is that man-made Hyaluronic Acid is of no use to skin.
By contrast, Hyaluronic Acid as a naturally occurring molecule in our epidermis is a marvellous thing.
It can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, promote collagen production and give skin that delightful plumpness we all associate with youth.
But, sadly, once our body’s naturally occurring HA is lost through ageing, it is gone forever.
Man-made Hyaluronic Acid is the essence of facial fillers, and can be applied topically as a humectant.
However, using products that contain Hyaluronic Acid (however this is sourced) in the hope they will give lasting, effective hydration is wishful thinking.
This applies equally to Hyaluronic Acid supplements and Hyaluronic Acid skin care.
Because the worst (and ironic) part of the false marketing of Hyaluronic Acid is that, as it sits on the surface of the skin, Hyaluronic Acid – with its great affinity for water – can actually draw moisture out of the epidermis where it is most needed.
Skin can't even absorb Hyaluronic Acid
Due to the very large size of its molecules, Hyaluronic Acid has a hard time penetrating the epidermis. Users of Hyaluronic Acid skin care products frequently complain of the product “pilling” on their skin, which is all the evidence you need that it is not being absorbed.
What about low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid (LMW-HA)?
This hydrolysed (munched up into tiny particles) version is claimed by some to be a more effective type of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) to apply on skin.
They say because the particles are smaller than in regular Hyaluronic Acid it is better absorbed.
Hyaluronic Acid is not a miracle moisturiser
Skin care brands quote scientific studies and trials in order to ‘prove’ that Hyaluronic Acid is an effective skin hydrator.
However these studies are all funded by the makers of Hyaluronic Acid products.
Better to believe a major (non-funded) study of Moisturisers that dismissed 'Humectants' as effective skin hydrators because they actually ended up drawing moisture away from the skin.
Humectants are a double-edged weapon as they increase TEWL by enhancing water absorption from the dermis into the epidermis where it is easily lost to the environment.
As says Naturopath David Lyons.
More scientists on Hyaluronic Acid false claims;
"We at BFT have found a major disconnect between what the cosmetic industry says is true, and what actual scientists say is true. So here we go again. We find a number of products claiming to contain a new, improved form of HA that is “low molecular weight”. As is typical we can trace this myth making back to the ingredient manufacturers, who of course provide “proof”. But, in keeping with their usual habit, do the wrong experiments and then misinterpret the results to put a positive spin on the matter."
Using Hyaluronic Acid will deplete your skin
Yes, despite claims to the contrary, Hyaluronic Acid will dehydrate your skin over time
Because Hyaluronic Acid is yet another of the skin care industry's short term moisturising 'solutions'. HA is claimed to be a humectant that supposedly bathes skin in the moisture it has pulled from the air. Wrong.
Humectants are primarily used in skin care to keep the product itself moist (exactly why humectants are used in food) and also help ingredients to mix together.
In our bodies, HA lubricates moving parts and keeps our fluids fluid. But it is just a much repeated myth that man-made Hyaluronic Acid can do any of this when applied to skin (or ingested). It gives little or no lasting improvement to skin hydration.
Here's the test of that - if humectants such as HA in skin care are supposed to draw moisture from the air and so make skin look and feel moist and plumped - why is the most frequently heard skin complaint dryness?
If there is any 'drawing of moisture' this is coming from deeper down in the skin, from the epidermis. The supposedly ultra moisturising skin care you're using that contains Hyaluronic Acid will actually give the opposite result.
No one needs moisture being sucked out of their skin on a twice daily basis.
Apparently to counteract this, skin care advice we've read advises to apply another type of product (occlusives i.e. mineral oil, petrolatum) OVER the Hyaluronic Acid so as to "seal in" moisture.
The better alternative to using Hyaluronic Acid
Our hope is that anyone who chooses to use the various forms of Hyaluronic Acid in skin care products will back up their regime with true plant-sourced nutrients.
When we say our products are ‘natural’ we mean they are handcrafted from plant extracts that can be readily absorbed, are of highest quality and used in concentrations designed to resist the damaging effects of sun and ageing.
We don’t use dubious factory-made 'plant extract' powders or liquids. We don’t bulk up our products with unnecessary fillers or use fragrance to pretend there is more than a tiny percentage of plants in a product.
We certainly would never use cheap ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid that promise results but don’t deliver.
Instead, we are meticulous in creating the concentrated, medicinal-grade plant extracts that go into our certified organic products.
We are a cruelty-free vegan brand accredited by PETA Beauty without Bunnies.
Most importantly, for more than 30 years, our products have consistently given stunning results for perfectly hydrated skin.
Use ingredients that really will hydrate skin
Our products give long lasting results for hydrated skin because in them we use a range of plant extracts that variously promote, hold and balance moisture.
Widely used are Wheatgerm, Almond, Avocado and Hazelnut, all known for their moisture-promoting qualities as are Burdock, Petitgrain, Sesame and Banksia. Australian Bush Flower extracts we include that promote moisture in skin are Mulla Mulla, Banksia, Flannel Flower and Sturt's Desert Rose.
Our skin care products contain effective, concentrated - and hydrating - nutrients will give you youthful looking skin at any age.
The best way to start with our Basic Six Trial Pack.
Simplicité Face Oils are especially formulated for deep rehydration and leave your skin feeling soft and supple, never oily. Apply as a nourishing primer before makeup and under moisturiser before bedtime.
You’ll sleep easier, knowing you’re properly hydrating your skin, not just giving it a merely temporary (and eventually depleting) boost.