What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic Acid (HA or hyaluronan or hyaluronate) is a substance that attaches to collagen and elastin to form cartilage. It helps increase supplies of joint-lubricating synovial fluid. It is mainly found in the dermis of the skin and forms an important part of the skin matrix, it decreases with age. As we get older our bodies produce less and less hyaluronic acid. The drop starts at around the age of 18-20 years. But 40-50 year olds are estimated to have less than half the hyaluronic acid they had in youth. Lack of hyaluronic acid causes wrinkles on the face and may also be cause for loss of skin elasticity.
Hyaluronic acid is a special protein occurring naturally throughout the human body. Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by the body as a constituent of synovial fluid that lubricates the cartilage between the joints. Hyaluronic Acid also plays an important role in tissue hydration, lubrication and cellular function, and is able to hold more water than any other natural substance.
Its unmatched hydrating properties result in increased smoothness, softening and decreased wrinkles. Like many other essential factors, the levels of HA in the body decreases with each passing year. As the levels of hyaluronic decrease it adversely impacts the skin’s ability to retain moisture, thus leading to those inevitable wrinkles.
As we age, the body produces less HA and it becomes more difficult to replace the lost HA. Consuming HA supplements help to replace the lost HA.
In the last two decades, the therapeutic and aesthetic uses of hyaluronic acid have been extended to a number of areas, including treatment of joint pain, use in fertility clinics, and tissue augmentation. In the past few years, biotechnology has been used to develop hyaluronic acid derivatives with tailor-made molecular sizes, which will further increase the potential applications of this remarkable molecule.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) was first used commercially in 1942 when Endre Balazs applied for a patent to use it as a substitute for egg white in bakery products. He went on to become the leading expert on HA, and made the majority of discoveries concerning HA during the next 50 years.
What does HA do for my skin and how does it help in anti-aging?
Although Hyaluronic Acid (HA) can be found naturally in most every cell in the body, it is found in the greatest concentrations in the skin tissue. Almost 50% of the bodies HA is found here. It is found in both the deep underlying dermal areas as well as the visible epidermal top layers. Young skin is smooth and elastic and contains large amounts of HA that helps keep the skin stay young and healthy. One of the principle characteristics of HA is its ability to retain water, which contributes significantly to the skin maintaining a youthful appearance. The HA provides continuous moisture to the skin by binding up to 1000 times its weight in water. With age, the ability of the skin to produce HA decreases.
Many actually prefer hyaluronic acid over collagen because the effects last longer.
HA helps your skin regain its youthful look. Moisture is the key to soft, healthy, vibrant complexion. Moisture depletes with age. By replacing the moisture-generating components that naturally deplete with age, we can reverse the signs associated with aging and restore radiance and youth. Hyaluronic acid is an excellent alternative to collagen, particularly since both anti-aging treatments accomplish similar rejuvenating goals.With its gaining popularity, hyaluronic acid is quickly becoming one of the active anti-aging ingredients to look for in skin rejuvenation products.
Topically, the benefits of HA can be quite significant. Unlike topical collagen treatments, HA has the ability to be effectively absorbed by the skin as well as serves as an efficient “carrier” of other anti-aging ingredients to cells.That means that the active anti-aging ingredients are transported to the cells through the layers of skin.
As a result, hyaluronic acid is preferred over topical collagen treatments mainly because HA can actually reach the cells!
Hyaluronic Acid in the skin
The skin is the largest organ in the body comprising about 15% of the body weight. Roughly 50% of the Hyaluronic Acid in our body is found in the skin. HA and Collagen are vital to maintaining the skin’s layers and structure. It is the collagen that gives the skin its firmness but it is the HA that nourishes and hydrates the collagen. Imagine the collagen as the stretchy fibers that restore the skin back to shape when stretched. Collagen is like a rubber band but stretch that rubber band a million times, like what we do with our skin and without any moisture. Eventually that rubber band gets overstretched (saggy) and dried out and will most likely break. This is much the same way the collagen in our skin reacts leaving our skin in need of moisture. Now imagine that same rubber band stretched a million times while under water the whole time. Chances of that rubber band drying out and breaking are minimal. Consider the Hyaluronic Acid as the water that keeps the collagen moist and elastic. Collagen is continuously surrounded and nourished by the gelatinous HA substance. Young skin is smooth and highly elastic because it contains high concentrations of Hyaluronic Acid, which helps skin stay healthy. As we grow older, the body loses its ability to maintain this same concentration in the skin. With decreasing levels of HA in the skin, so goes the ability of the skin to hold water. The result, the skin becomes drier and loses its ability to maintain it’s hydration. Hyaluronic acid acts as a space filler by binding to water and thus keeping the skin wrinkle-free.
Keeping Your Skin Hydrated – Hyaluronic Acid
The spaces within this sponges are filled with a composition of water, protein complexes, and hyaluronic acid. This jelly-like complex transports essential nutrients from the bloodstream, via the capillaries in your skin. Hyaluronic acid attracts and hold water, which is what plumps your skin so that wrinkles and lines are less visible. With properties like that, it is clear that hyaluronic acid is vital to:
- Curb premature wrinkling
- Increase skin hydration
- Keep skin moist and smooth
- Boost skin elasticity
- Enhance collagen synthesis
- Nourish healthy skin cell growth
- Promote firm skin tone
- Support healthier joints
You can spend hundreds – even thousands of dollars each year on topical moisturizers that help soften your skin. But if you want to truly give your skin the moisture it needs to maintain elasticity, strengthen collagen and minimize wrinkles, it’s a good idea to increase your levels of hyaluronic acid. Although it’s not proven, it makes sense that a natural hyaluronic acid supplement might help. If maintaining healthy, beautiful skin is important to you, then it’s definitely worth a try.