The Panel: Drink Up... and rehydrate your tired skin
January's over and you need a drink, or at least your skin does, so let hyaluronic acid help
If you aren't using hyaluronic acid, or haven't even heard of it, then this is the perfect time of year to get up to speed with it and begin slathering it all over your poor dehydrated face. And anywhere else you fancy. Never mind the height of summer, it's right about now that your skin is the most raisin-like it will be all year, thanks to central heating, air conditioning and the dramatically different temperature that our skin endures outdoors.
To check if your skin is dehydrated, drag it lightly with your fingertips. Very fine, silvery lines on the surface indicate dehydration, which, unlike dryness, is a lack of water rather than oil. Depleted oil levels can be topped up with an extra-rich cream, but dehydration needs to be worked on differently. One tip is to drink more water, but the other is to use hyaluronic acid.
Don't let the word acid scare you. This isn't skin-stripping stuff, but is instead a component present in your skin, which attracts and holds moisture, thus plumping out the skin. With age, we lose hyaluronic acid, so we introduce it through skincare, for a temporary but obvious effect. It's an easy way to get one up on age and the elements, which is a nice double-whammy.
Trilogy Age Proof Hydra-Tone Softening Lotion, €21.95, Arnotts; selected pharmacies and health stores nationwide, or see cloud10beauty.com
What makes this product an outright winner is its range of uses. As the 'softening lotion' name suggests, it's a new-age toner, devoid of alcohol, with no astringent properties, and designed to boost hydration and prepare the skin for moisturiser. It's so gentle, however, that you can use it as a cleanser, and it works well as an eye-make-up remover. Its ingredients include soothing mallow and a dose of hyaluronic acid. "This has a lovely fresh feel on the skin," said a panellist, "and I really enjoyed using it, as well as it leaving my skin soft. Like a moisturiser partner."
Best Skin-Soaking Serum
Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum, €74, Chanel counters nationwide
Primarily, this serum boasts camellia oil in a 'micro-droplet' form, which they say helps the serum to absorb more efficiently, but it's also a carrier of hyaluronic acid. It's all about hydration and more comfortable skin, and it's a good serum option if you don't already need a specifically anti-ageing serum, or if you want a break from the lines-and-wrinkles product you normally use. "I like the light freshness of this product," one panellist said. "It soaks in fast, and doesn't make you feel like you're wearing layers of skincare."
Best Toner for Thirst
Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Balancing Softener, €52.50, Brown Thomas; Arnotts; Debenhams; selected pharmacies nationwide
Softening lotions, like our beloved BB creams, originated in Asia, so this Japanese brand is all over them and has several to its name. The Benefiance range is all about age-resistance, and good old hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient to bring to that effort. Packed full of hyaluronic acid, this post-cleanse solution will plump out and soften your wrinkles, though nothing can hold back the ageing tide altogether. "I expected the usual toner effect, by which I mean nothing," said a panellist, "but my skin seemed to get an actual drink from this."
Best Juicy Gel
SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Masque, €58, for stockists, see skinceuticals.co.uk
Hyaluronic acid is the number-four ingredient of this hydrating masque, which promises, if used weekly, to correct the 'water balance' in your skin. It's a clear, thick and slightly tacky mask that works wonderfully as a pick-me-up, either before or after a night out, or whenever your skin needs a drink, so to speak. "I put on a thin layer of this when I go for a run," a panellist said. "I think it protects my face from the cold and improves texture and dewiness."
Best Clever Concoction
Nivea Q10+ Anti-Wrinkle Serum Pearls, €14.99, available nationwide
This brand's Q10 range is a great-value choice for older skin, particularly if you are at all sensitive. Pearls of serum are suspended in a formula that is high in Q10 and hyaluronic acid. Both occur naturally in the skin, but less so as we age. The pearls burst as you pump out the product, and the result is a lightly creamy treat. "It feels cool and fresh and I see a restored, resilient plumpness in my face," a panellist said.
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