Hyaluronic acid is the ‘it’ skin care ingredient of the moment. Chances are you’ll find it in any number of products in your bathroom cabinet; a premium eye serum perhaps, or your favorite anti-aging cream. It is everywhere, and rightly so – because hyaluronic acid is the superhero your skin needs. But why?
How Hyaluronic Acid Works
commercially as an egg white substitute (seriously) in the 1940s, hyaluronic
acid is found around the body, in various molecule sizes. Larger molecules are
found fighting inflammation in the body’s tissues; smaller molecules promote
immune response and help with wound healing.
In the skin, hyaluronic acid is found in the extracellular matrix. While when we talk about skin care most of the conversation is around the skin’s layers, the ECM is the molecules that live between the cells of those layers – and it’s really important. The ECM helps build up the skin’s layers and regulates skin cell function. Hyaluronic acid is the most abundant substance in the ECM, but collagen and other proteins live there too.
Because hyaluronic acid also slows down
collagen loss as well as reducing water loss, it can also help improve joint
lubrication, reduce pain, and treat various problems of the eyes and mouth. And
even hyaluronic acid found in other areas of the body has shown anti-aging
Science, Science, Everywhere
One of the
major advantages of hyaluronic acid is its incredible capacity for retaining
water; whether that water is on the skin, in the eyes, or in the body.
Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan (try saying that five times fast), which
makes it super-viscous and gives it this amazing ability to hold huge volumes
of water – up to 1,000 times its weight. About half of all the hyaluronic acid
contained in the body is in the skin.
We all know it has huge benefits for the skin, but in recent years, studies have shown that hyaluronic acid has other benefits including hydration, repairing wounds, regulating inflammation and boosting the immune response.
Along with squalene, hyaluronic acid is the key natural ingredient for maintaining skin moisture. However, both of these skin-boosting substances naturally decrease as we age; this is why many skin care products contain both. These hyaluronic acid-heavy products claim to smooth, plump, refresh and even out the skin. However, because hyaluronic acid has larger molecules than most acids, getting the product to penetrate the skin has not always been easy.
More recent advances in technology have
allowed skin scientists to develop more advanced hyaluronic acid-based formulas
that can get deeper into the skin. These products have been proven to improve
skin moisture levels and reduce wrinkle depths in a matter of weeks. Hyaluronic
acid also reduces damage to the skin from UV radiation.
Hyaluronic acid products often also contain
glucosamine, which also helps promote elasticity and structure and prevents
collagen loss in the skin, which combined with the huge volume of moisture
hyaluronic acid can hold, is a dynamite formula for fantastic skin!