Hyaluronic acid, collagen, glycerin and keratins: what are these substances capable of?

Every beauty product strives to prolong our youth with super effective products. Among them there are also substances that are very popular. How did they deserve their fame?

Hyaluronic acid

We’ve all heard about the talents of hyaluronic acid, but what is it really capable of? They say that it perfectly moisturizes the skin, so it can be found in almost every cosmetic product. If you call on chemistry for help, it turns out that this is one of the main substances of the dermis and connective tissue, from which collagen fibers are also built. But the molecules of hyaluronic acid are quite large in size, therefore, when applied externally, they are not absorbed into the skin, but remain on the surface.

This substance can penetrate into the layers of the dermis and bring maximum benefit only with a syringe. Then hyaluronic acid works wonders: it has no equal among moisturizing components. When applied topically, it creates a temporary film on the skin surface that prevents moisture from evaporating until it is washed off. And this quality is also valuable.

True, only for aging and dehydrated dermis. If the skin is oily or prone to breakouts, the film creates an additional breeding ground for bacteria, and this is no longer comme il faut. And hyaluronic acid is also able to visually smooth out wrinkles: when applying the cream, large molecules purely mechanically fill microcracks and pores, creating the effect of a “smooth surface”.


Currently, science knows 19 types of collagen. In our body, this is the main substance of connective tissue. Collagen resembles glue in its purpose and properties. Its mission is to hold cell structures together. In the dermis, by the same principle, collagen forms a network that creates a spring effect and determines the degree of skin elasticity. The older we get, the more we need it, because tissue elasticity decreases with age. However, as is the case with hyaluronic acid, collagen can only get inside with a syringe.

External use gives only a slight cosmetic effect, which lasts until the first wash. Collagen also creates a film on the surface of the dermis, but the smoothing effect is achieved due to its gluing properties. This is especially noticeable on dry skin: ruffled scales are instantly smoothed, and we immediately feel a big difference.

Moment of truth

Our skin needs both hyaluronic acid and collagen equally, but everyone’s sensitivity to them is different. Any component can cause an allergy, but collagen provokes it more often, because it is an animal protein. If you have food intolerances, especially if your body does not accept eggs, it is better to choose a cream with hyaluronic acid.


In recent years, everyone and everywhere has been talking about peptides, and some even call them “natural botox”. The only pity is that chemists are so easily able to destroy this promising illusion. Peptides are small proteins with a short amino acid chain. They are of three types. Oligopeptides have more than 10 links in their chain, polypeptides have less than 10, and tripeptides have 3. This is really important to know if you do not want to fall into marketing networks.

Clever names build a reputation and add “high tech”, but the essence remains the same. In addition, leather accepts all three varieties with gratitude, even if applied to the surface, and here’s why.

Peptides are bioregulators that are involved in all metabolic processes. Their main task is to stimulate all the most important functions of our body. In cosmetology, they are used to enhance metabolic processes directly in the cells of the dermis. The most famous peptides are Argylerine and Matrixil.

The first one brought all its brethren the fame of “natural botox”. In fact, Argylerine Botox is not a competitor, but an assistant: when Botox is already injected, creams with this class of peptides perfectly enhance its effect and noticeably prolong the result obtained after the injection. Matrixil has outstanding protective and antioxidant properties. Conclusion: peptides for the skin are very good, the main thing is that they should be in the 3rd or 4th place in the list of ingredients.


There are mixed rumors about glycerin, but if you rely on your own feelings, the result is amazing: the skin transforms instantly, becomes smooth and tender, like a baby’s. Yet this is precisely the case when your own eyes and receptors cannot be trusted. Glycerin is a trihydric alcohol, one molecule of which attracts 10 water molecules. It would seem that exactly what we need to moisturize the dermis. But glycerin products only work for us in Bali, the Bahamas or the Seychelles.

It’s all about humidity. When it is above 60–70 percent, as in the tropics, glycerin perfectly moisturizes the upper layers of the skin and draws “water” from the external environment. When the humidity is lower, as in our mid-latitudes, it turns into a time bomb. Especially in winter, when we are attacked by frost and dry air in heated rooms.

According to objective sensations, glycerin also moisturizes the upper layer of the dermis and makes it silky, but secretly from us, its molecules take water from the deep layers of the dermis, drying them out. And the more often a cream with glycerin is used, the drier the “bowels” become, which are responsible for the beauty and elasticity of the skin. In order not to harm yourself, in our climate it is better to use glycerin creams only in summer in the company of thermal water. In this case, the face must be irrigated at least three times during the day.

a panacea for hair?

Keratin is the most popular component in hair care products after argan oil. From a chemical point of view, it is a protein and at the same time the main component of the hair. It acts like glue, smoothing small naughty scales. After such “styling” the strands acquire a restored and shiny look. When choosing between keratin and silicone, keratin is the best choice. Silicone itself is heavier, which means it pulls back the hair quite a bit. As a result, the microcirculation of blood in the scalp slows down, the follicles receive less nutrition, and the hair begins to thin.


The action of oils has been tested for centuries. Their concentrated viscous formula reflects the experience and wisdom of ancient peoples accumulated over thousands of years. Oils moisturize and nourish the skin, protect it from ultraviolet radiation, smooth wrinkles, but their most important skill is to create a protective lipid barrier on the skin, which is very fragile in itself. Anything can destroy the “armor”, from the mechanical action of the simplest scrub or washcloth to too caustic soap or alcohol tonic.

Oils are able to quickly patch up these gaps, because they contain the main building material – amino acids. It is only important to know a couple of tricks. The oils should be used as a mask, leaving them on the skin for 15 minutes. In the summer – once a week, in the winter – two. If used instead of a cream, it will be harder for the pores to breathe. Before applying a few drops of oil, it is better to warm it in the palm of your hand,


Vitamin C is legendary, and he rightfully deserves this fame. We are dealing with a basic catalyst that participates in all chemical reactions in our body. But it has one drawback: it collapses very quickly upon contact with oxygen. This means that the declared dose of vitamin C in the cream is not easy to maintain and guarantee. At least the bottle with this wonderful component will have to be stored with a tightly closed lid in a dark place. The other two vitamins, A and E, are more stable and equally important for the skin.

The first activates cell division, the second acts as a powerful antioxidant. Professional cosmetologists claim that this pair is best at fighting the signs of skin aging. With their regular use, you can see real positive changes, because both vitamins are able to penetrate into the deep layers of the dermis. True, provided that in the composition of the cream they will not be at the very end of the list.

But you can also go for a trick: buy vitamin E in capsules at the pharmacy and add it one drop to a portion of the base caring cream before each application. Note that vitamin A is also called retinol, and the term retinoids is a generic name for the structural analogs of vitamin A. They all have similar properties.

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