Hyaluronic Acid

What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid, or hyaluronan, is one of the main components of our connective cellular matrix. It is a component of the body’s synovial fluid, which protects and lubricates the skin, joints, and eyes. With regard to the skin in particular, the extracellular matrix needs HA to combine with collagen and elastin to form water in the body. When the elastin of the skin does not have a continuous supply of water, it tends to become brittle and dry. This is the typical setting for wrinkled skin to develop.

HA is also incredibly important in its role in helping cells reproduce in a healthy way and ensuring that they do not develop into malignant tumors. Another important function of hyaluronic acid is its ability to act as a cellular cushion, protecting the cell from damage and lubricating it for added elasticity and turgidity.

How Does Hyaluronic Acid Boost Skin Health?

Having the correct amount of hyaluronic acid in the body is important for overall health. Lowered levels of the substance have been linked to poor scar formation and acrogeria (prematurely wrinkled skin). As we age, hormonal imbalances can cause lowered levels of HA. Similarly, cigarette smoke and environmental toxins may also lower healthy levels. In the skin in particular, hyaluronic acid acts as a cushioning liquid between the layers of the elastin fibers and collagen in the epidermis. It also aids the cells in detoxification processes, helping to provide the cellular layers the moisture they need to excrete waste effectively.

A wide array of studies has linked lack of hyaluronic acid to premature aging and premature aging disorders, such as Progeria and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Laboratory studies on rats show that hyaluronic acid levels were directed related to diet and physical activity. In this sense, we can use diet and exercise to keep optimal levels of the substance. As with hormones, a balanced amount of HA is optimal since overly high levels have been associated with some forms of cancer. For this reason, it may be advisable to avoid supplementing with HA and to only use topical applications for the skin.

Hyaluronic Acid may also offer the following potential skin benefits:

  • As it is a hydrophilic molecule, HA acts as a protectant, moisturizing water-retainer, and internal cosmetic - keeping the skin smooth, soft and hydrated.
  • Acts as a free radical scavenger.
  • Injected into the skin (a process that has been recently approved by the FDA), HA has a plumping effect on the skin cells, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • May reduce the overall signs of aging, and reverse the harmful effects of sun exposure to the skin.
  • May act as a protective mechanism, acting against formation of cancerous cells in the skin.
  • May increase the volume and fullness of the skin.

Did You Know?

Did you know that a 150 pound person holds about 15 grams of hyaluronic acid in their body? Every day, the amazing human body synthesizes, breaks down, and recreates a third of this amount.

Dosage and Potential Side Effects

Creams, chemical peels, facials cleansers and moisturizers with moderate levels of HA are currently available over the counter. Injections require a prescription and administration from a doctor. Common side effects include skin reactions at the site of the injection. This may involve swelling, bruising, pain, irritated skin, redness, tenderness and swelling. Natural forms of supplementation are also available, and are extracted from rooster combs. Taking Vitamin E, St. John's Wort, aspirin, or other anti-inflammatory drugs like Aleve or Motrin, in combination with hyaluronic acid, may increase the amount of bruising or bleeding that may occur. Effects of using creams include redness, itching, allergic reactions, irritated skin and acne. As with any medication, it is wise to consult with doctor before taking hyaluronic acid. Also, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, avoid taking this supplement or injection.

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed physician. If you require any medical related advice, contact your physician promptly. Information presented on this site is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard medical advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.
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