The Science Behind: Hyaluronic Acid (incl. a SPONSORED product review of Pascoe’s Hyaluronic Body Serum)

New series alert: informed choices is certainly not done and I want to keep chipping away at it in the new year, but I also want to bring a more widely applicable series to the blog. “The Science Behind” is going to be an evidence review of common products, medications, vitamins, supplements and more so that you can gain a better understanding of 1) what different things are; and 2) what they are proven to work for. As a previous student of history, I will also do my best (where information is available) to look at any historical and/or cultural uses/applications of different things.

This is generally what I do on my blog – evidence reviews! But, I want to focus on “hot topic” ingredients and products I see advertised a lot so we can all gain a better understanding of what we might use or consider using. It is essentially another version of informed choices – but not just for pregnancy and birth.

Disclaimer: this is not medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Please seek medical advice from your trusted, regulated healthcare professional. There is an affiliate link and code in the end of this post – please be aware I may earn from your purchase. Please note I am sharing a review of this product from a personal standpoint of my own use of the product.

What is hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a substance that retains moisture (a.k.a. a humectant). We actually already have it in and on our bodies – including on our skin and it is a part of synovial fluid (around your joints). But as we get older, hyaluronic acid decreases in these areas – which is why older people may experience dry skin and other related symptoms.

The hyaluronic acid that is in your skincare products is made in a lab through biofermentation. This actually enhances its ability to be absorbed by the skin. This is not a scientific link but it actually is a very good/interesting article and slideshow on biofermentation.

What are the claims – what is it supposed to do?

Hyaluronic acid generally claims to hydrate the skin. Drs. Liu and Nassim say this does happen – but it depends on the size of the molecule, as they vary. With larger molecules, hydration only happens at a surface level with skincare products, whereas smaller molecules are able to penetrate deeper though still only into the top layer of skin, the epidermis (excuse my vary basic image!). A small study done in 2014 showed that Nano-HA was beneficial for wrinkles, hydration and even skin firmness within 2 months. A more recent but still smaller study done in 2021 similarly showed benefits from topical HA for skin hydration.

Drs. Liu and Nassim recommend looking for products that contain a variety of molecular sizes for maximal hydration.

Does it work?

So the conclusion is – yes, hyaluronic acid is an effective moisturizer for your skin on the surface and/or outermost layer, depending on the variety in molecular size. Smaller sizes may have the potential (based on some research) to provide increased benefits to the skin.

It does not work as well in a skincare product for changes in skin volume and/or laxity, as it would in a hyaluronic acid dermal filler though. This requires access to deeper layers of the skin.

It is safe?

Yes! Generally, HA is safe and tolerated by most peopleyou should always consult your doctor if you have questions or concerns though about its use. It is not related to many allergic reactions, and bonus: it’s safe in both pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Pascoe’s Hyaluronic Body Serum {Sponsored}

Keeping in mind what we learned above, in terms of moisturizing – Pascoe’s body serum is great for this. It does provide a top-level moisturizing effect that I noticed over the time I have used it and I am prone to dry skin in the winter. I don’t suffer much from blemishes, but I do experience dry patches and it has helped with those quite a bit especially in the creases of my arms. It also has helped to reduce the irritation I get from dryness on my hands. The body serum is ultra-light, oil-free and fast-absorbing.

I am only 31 years old, so I can’t comment on it reducing the signs of aging or plumping up my skin, as I (thankfully) have skin that still has quite a bit of volume and youth to it. Studies have shown an impact on both wrinkle appearance and plumpness (though keep in mind these were still smaller studies and they may have had additional limitations). A good part about this product is that it’s suitable for all skin types.

Additionally, we know that every layer of the skin is not in fact impacted by most topical HA serums and that in this format it is unlikely to affect skin plumpness- however, I will say that how the other herbs in the body serum’s composition impact the skin, is less studied and/or recognized (you can see the composition of each product they make on the product page). Newer studies do show that there is potential for wider impact though, seemingly based on the molecular size.

The plants included, according to their website: passionflower, marigold, pansy, thyme, gentian, echinacea, sage and hops. As you can imagine, there is very little research put into how these things independently impact your skin. Here is what I was able to find:

Does it provide moisturizing effects to my skin? Yes. Has it helped with dryness and irritation? Yes. And I’ve had no issues using it on my somewhat sensitive skin.

You can use my code KATE15 for 15% off – this is an affiliate code and I may earn from your purchase.

Additional Resources

“The hype on hyaluronic acid” by Drs. Liu and Nassim (Dermatology)

Passionflower – A Mini Review (by Kim et al., 2017)

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