Every year like clockwork, I am lulled into a false sense of complacency by the humid summers of the Northeast. Right up until October, I falsely believe that I have magically cracked my skin’s source code and have transitioned from dry to combination skin. Dear reader, this is always a lie. As soon as November rolls around, I start to experience the telltale signs of wintertime dryness—tight, itchy skin first thing in the morning and at the end of the day—and adding oils to my moisturizer only helps so much. This is when I usually turn to heavy hitters like hyaluronic acid, as well as sleeping packs for nighttime wear. This year, my transition into a winter skin care routine is so much easier, and this is largely due to the SkinCeuticals H A Intensifier serum.
A Little About My Skin Type
I have dry, sensitive skin that usually needs a lot of TLC in the winter. Even during the summer, I have to ensure that my routine features an adequate amount of hydrating and humectant products to keep it happy.
This year, my transition into a winter skin care routine is so much easier, and this is largely due to the SkinCeuticals H A Intensifier.
As I mentioned earlier, I’d just recently started to feel autumnus at my heels, and had started to do some research on which products would be appropriate. The opportunity to test the H A Intensifier came along at the perfect time, right when the rich moisturizers and hydrating essences I’d been using since early fall stopped feeling like they were enough. Even the drops of oil mixed into my moisturizer and my trusty bottle of COSRX Advanced 96 Snail Mucin Essence didn’t help much. But after two weeks of testing the SkinCeuticals H A Intensifier night and day, my skin feels a lot less parched, with minimal effort applied.
So Let’s Talk About this Serum and the Brand
SkinCeuticals H A Intensifier is a corrective treatment from a well-known American dermatological company and is a relatively new addition to their product lineup. SkinCeuticals is a trusted brand, founded in 1997 by Dr. Sheldon Pinnell, a dermatologist and researcher whose contributions to skin care include the discovery and development of antioxidants in topical skin care, and a deeper understanding of the importance of vitamin C for skin. The SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum is well-known and liked by many skin care enthusiasts, as is the Triple Lipid Restore moisturizer, as well as many other SkinCeuticals products.
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The H A Intensifier is touted to work well for all skin types and promises a 30 percent boost in the skin’s hydration levels. Its star ingredients are 10% Proxylane, a hydrating molecule developed by parent company L’Oreal, 2.0% licorice root extract, 0.2% purple rice extract, and 1.3% hyaluronic acid, which might not seem like a lot but is, in actuality, a high concentration, with 1% being the ideal amount for an effective hyaluronic acid serum. Anything higher is counterproductive, as it will dry out the skin instead of hydrating it.
Proxylane is derived from beech trees and supports the production of collagen and elastin while preventing water loss. This translates to skin that looks youthful and firm thanks to the anti-aging effects of this ingredient.
Licorice root is a great ingredient for brightening purposes, lightening dark spots and evening out skin tone. This root contains the compounds liquiritin and licochalcone, which inhibits tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for excess melanin production, otherwise known as hyperpigmentation.
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Purple rice extract is derived from purple rice, also known as black rice. It’s an antioxidant ingredient that also improves circulation, fends off wrinkles, and brightens skin. According to SkinCeuticals, they included purple rice in this formula for its ability to support hydration by preserving hyaluronic acid content.
Lastly, hyaluronic acid, which we’re all familiar with by now, is one of the best ingredients for thirsty skin, its ability to hold 500 times its weight in water a boon for anyone who wants healthy-looking, plump skin.
My Experience With SkinCeuticals H A Intensifier
The H A Intensifier comes in a dark purple glass dropper bottle and contains 30ml of product. The serum itself is a pleasant light magenta color, with a viscosity that’s thicker than most serums. To use, I applied one relatively large drop to each cheek and my forehead, preceded by a post-cleanse toner and followed by eye cream, moisturizer, and sunscreen whenever necessary. It absorbed fairly quickly into my skin and, although fairly tacky, wasn’t uncomfortable. It played nicely with all the other steps of my routine.
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It took about five days of use twice daily to stop feeling the usual tight itchiness that usually plagued my skin. By day seven, I could eliminate oils from my routine, didn’t need to 3-skin or 7-skin, and my skin felt adequately hydrated using only toner and moisturizer as additional moisturizers. I’m usually unable to do minimal routines during this time of year, and always have to pile on the layers of hydrating products. Thanks to this serum, my routine is short and sweet.
I put its claims of a 30 percent hydration boost to the test, employing the assistance of a skin analyzer. During one application, I measured my skin’s moisture and sebum levels after cleansing, after toner, and then again after applying the H A Intensifier. On a different day, I applied the serum directly after cleansing and measured the difference before and after. On the day when I used toner, I saw only a 14 percent jump in moisture levels, and on the day that I used the H A Intensifier right after washing my face, my moisture levels were boosted by 30 to 50 percent. The SkinCeuticals directions for this product make no mention of a toner, so maybe optimal results are best achieved without one.
Its effects overall don’t completely blow me away, but I am impressed by its effectiveness at upping my moisture levels even when used alone. Since I don’t have any significant signs of aging, there were no differences to measure other than overall skin texture. That, unfortunately, did not change much, but my sensitive skin didn’t react negatively to the product. I’m looking forward to how my skin fares after continued use.