Hyaluronic acid in skincare: everything you need to know about the “gold standard” ingredient for hydration
July 30th 2019
December 21st 2018 / 0 comment
Inspired by medical technology, hyaluronic microneedling eye patches plump skin in a way that a serum can’t. Here’s how…
Putting tiny needle plasters anywhere near your eye region sounds torturous, but microneedling patches were actually originally designed as a more comfortable, long-term strategy for delivering drugs through the stratum corneum rather than via an injection. From vaccines to insulin, microneedle patches have been used in clinical settings to treat children and diabetic patients in particular in order to minimise pain and reduce a buildup of scar tissue caused by multiple injection sites in the latter case. Medical innovation has now made its way to the skincare aisles, with microneedle delivery coming to the fore to encourage the absorption of the hydrating yet tricksy hyaluronic acid especially. Here’s how they work and why they’re perfect for a post-party lift…
First off, they’re not the big pointy needles you’re imagining. Microneedling eye patches use self-dissolving micro cones to enhance the penetration of plumping, moisturising hyaluronic acid, often alongside other beneficial skincare ingredients. Hyaluronic acid is the main player as it’s so effective for instantly hydrating and smoothing the thin, generally drier eye area, but as hyaluronic acid is a large molecule, it’s often not readily taken up by the skin. Diffusing the dose deeper into the skin results in improved moisture retention, plus the fact that microneedling patches are designed to be worn overnight allows hyaluronic acid to fully absorb while avoiding further external water loss. Double smarts.
I’ve been through several packets of Vichy Liftactiv Micro Hyalu Patches, £20, and can report that they’re a little prickly on application, but the sensation subsides after a few minutes. They feel quite tight and thick on the skin - I would liken them to the feeling of wearing tiny Spanx around your eyes as they suck everything in and ‘freeze’ your under eye area. It’s not uncomfortable per se, but you definitely know they’re there. This adherence does ensure that they don’t slip off when worn overnight, and once peeled off in the morning post-work Christmas party, there was minimal evidence of my five hours’ of sleep and 29 glasses of prosecco
All was calm and bright in the eye department, with no dehydration lines to speak of, which is saying something because I really deserved them. I've since taken to wearing them at my desk, but clearly they work far better if you’re not wearing makeup, and they’re an expensive habit to adopt on the regular (plus I imagine not too eco-conscious). If you’re in need of a smoothing quick fix, however, they quite literally patch things over.
Most microneedling patches on the market target the eyes as this area is the most prone to moisture loss and crepiness, however many can also be used to moisturise and temporarily soften lines around the ‘nasio label’ fold region too (where smile lines spring up).
In a word, no. While they’re microneedling and mesotherapy inspired, any patch effects are short-term, although regular use will help your skin to conserve moisture more effectively, which will boost skin health and appearance in the long-term. A study published in the journal Dermatologic Therapy last year identified that hyaluronic acid enriched microneedling patches significantly reduced the appearance of wrinkles and improved skin elasticity after eight weeks of treatment without inducing skin irritation, and the effects of the patches on wrinkling especially was was found to be superior to the impact of a topical hyaluronic acid essence.
Hyaluronic acid microneedling patches have also been found to be effective for reducing the incidence of skin plaques in psoriasis sufferers who had previously not responded to topical treatment with an ointment. The study’s authors described the improvement as “remarkable”, but more research is required to identify exactly what contributed to the reduction of plaques (it could be that the patches themselves helped skin to retain moisture). However you look at it, patches show serious promise, but they’re not comparative to in-clinic results just yet.
With both a high and low molecular weight form of hyaluronic acid (to ensure deep moisture delivery and form a barrier to keep it in) these multi-pronged patches are also rich in strengthening peptides and fragrance-free so go gentle on the delicate eye area.
First thing’s first, these hurty sounding patches contain actual bee venom, so if you’re allergic, don’t go here. If not, the hyaluronic acid plus sodium hyaluronate combo is the main draw - there are 350 cones of the stuff in each patch. Antioxidant plant extracts help to fight free-radical damage and bee venom is intended to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect, although the research jury is still out as to whether bee venom can have rejuvenating action when applied topically on the skin.
Our eyes are watering profusely at the price point, but if money’s no object, these copper peptide and hyaluronic acid loaded gel patches are designed to be used as a four week course and can be adapted to your eye shape and any facial contour you’d like to apply them to. Fans claim that they plump and enhance radiance in as little as two hours.