The properties of hyaluronic acid have made it probably the best known active ingredient in the world of beauty. For years, it has been a common component in a multitude of treatments and formulations aimed at slowing down aging.
Beyond the fashions and trends that tend to guide the aesthetics market, hyaluronic acid has maintained its weight thanks to the numerous benefits that we can obtain from it.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a polysaccharide, which is found in almost all fluids and tissues of our body, mainly in the skin, eyes and joints. Approximately 50% of the body’s hyaluronic acid is in the skin.
It is recognized in cosmetics as one of the active ingredients with anti-aging properties and is therefore one of the most widely used.
This substance can be found naturally in tissues and organs of the human body. One of its most important functions in the skin is to attract and retain water. But, depending on the area of the body where it is located, it has other functions:
- In the joints it helps to avoid pain from friction.
- And in the cartilages it acts as a restorative.
Hyaluronic acid and skin aging
Despite the benefits of hyaluronic acid, as we age its presence diminishes and the skin loses hydration, elasticity and firmness, which favors the appearance of wrinkles. It should be taken into account that after the age of 50, only half of the hyaluronic acid remains in the body.
Loss of hyaluronic acid, together with reduced collagen production, are the main components of skin aging. These factors contribute to the apparent dehydration, atrophy and loss of elasticity that characterizes aging skin.
Therefore, the topical application of hyaluronic acid can help prevent aging, caused both by the passage of time and by external agents.
How is hyaluronic acid obtained?
Hyaluronic acid is obtained by bioengineering, through a fermentation process using natural sources.
The most commonly used natural sources are rooster combs, shark fin and umbilical cord. Once the hyaluronic acid is synthesized, when it is mixed with natural hyaluronic acid, it promotes the production of more hyaluronic acid.
Although hyaluronic acid is present in many cosmetics, it is most commonly used for the treatment of joint pain, such as osteoarthritis, by injecting the product. Laboratory studies have shown that hyaluronic acid can be used against many diseases.
It is also used in aesthetic medicine as an injectable product. For this purpose, hyaluronic acid can be presented in two forms:
- Gel (cross-linked): as it is in a dense state, it maintains stability for a longer period of time. It is the one used with injections.
- Liquid (not cross-linked): it is stable for a shorter period of time. About 3 months. The one we use, for example, with creams, in order to moisturize.
Uses of hyaluronic acid
Medical and sports
In dentistry and medicine it has various uses, especially for gum regeneration and as a filler in surgery. It is usually used to improve healing, regenerate gums and oral mucosa.
Its most important use is for the treatment of degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis.
The purpose of hyaluronic acid injection is twofold. Firstly, to relieve pain and secondly, to try to regenerate the cartilage.
It is also commonly used to restore synovial fluid lost during arthroscopy.
In professional sports it is used to accelerate recovery from joint injuries.
Aesthetic use of hyaluronic acid
The basic objective of cosmetics is to moisturize the skin to prevent the effects of aging. Hyaluronic acid is the active ingredient that stands out the most in this function.
As a cosmetic, it cannot be used to combat general wrinkles because its molecular weight prevents it from penetrating the skin,
If we remember the Law of 500 Daltons, any molecular weight greater than 500 is impossible to pass through the skin unless other methods are used. The weight of hyaluronan is ULMW: 3000 Da and LMW: 200000 Da.
With electroporation technology we can penetrate the skin with hyaluronic acid, so we can introduce all its benefits in the layer where it will be most effective.
In aesthetic medicine, by injection, in addition to moisturizing, hyaluronic acid promotes the activation of collagen and fibroblasts. In this way, it is possible to combat some wrinkles.
It is currently used with positive results to reduce wrinkles on the forehead, between the eyebrows, creases at the corners of the lips, furrows between the nose and mouth and crow’s feet.
Properties of hyaluronic acid
Due to the properties of hyaluronic acid, this natural component has been thoroughly researched and formulated into creams, serums and moisturizers as a powerful anti-aging ingredient.
- Moisturizes: the main property of hyaluronic acid is its moisturizing capacity, since according to several studies, it is capable of retaining up to 1000 times its molecular weight in water.
What hyaluronic acid does is to penetrate the skin and absorb water to bind it to the skin cells. This infiltrates moisture to all layers of the skin.
It is also a great humectant, which means that it absorbs moisture from its environment, providing continuous hydration to the skin.
- Protects: we know that the main function of the skin is to protect our organs and prevent external agents from damaging us.
But, like our entire body, from a certain age, protection is reduced. If we add to this the action of pollution, poor diet, lack of physical exercise and smoking, spots, wrinkles and dryness appear on the skin much faster.
However, hyaluronic acid helps to reinforce the skin’s natural barrier. By preventing moisture loss, skin damage can be delayed and skin defense can be enhanced.
- Firming: hyaluronic acid is also capable of restoring some of the firmness lost due to decreased elastin production. Once again, hydration plays a crucial role in this step, as it tightens the skin and firms the contours of the face.