What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Daniel Judd Bsc MBiol
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What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a large, sugar based molecule that is naturally produced in large quantities by the body. It is used in skin care as both a topical cream and as injected fillers. It is a ‘humectant’, something that helps you retain water. Around half of your body’s total hyaluronic acid is found in the layers of your skin where it acts to keep you skin hydrated. It also acts as a natural space-filler and plays a role in the healing of wounds.

As you age, your natural levels of hyaluronic acid decrease, leading to dry skin and wrinkles as your skin loses its moisture and shape.

Commercial hyaluronic acid is produced from either rooster combs or bacteria specially modified to produce it in large amounts.

What does it do?

When used as an injected filler, hyaluronic acid is injected into the deeper layers of your skin to replace the natural hyaluronic acid lost through aging. This is done to soften wrinkles and lines of the face although it only last for a few months and requires regular top-up injections to maintain the effect.

Hyaluronic acid creams act as moisturisers, holding in the moisture that is lost in dry skin. Evidence suggests that hyaluronic acid applied directly to the skin can sink in deep enough to cause wrinkle-softening and skin tightening effects similar to the fillers as well as the basic moisturising ability. Hyaluronic acid molecules can vary in size though, and larger molecules won’t be able to get as deep into the skin so the effects can be variable.

 

Safety

Side effects:
Topical hyaluronic acid creams have no reported side effects.
Injected fillers can cause temporary swelling, bruising and pain. There are also reported cases suggesting that injected fillers can migrate from where they were injected to other places around the face.

People who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised not to undergo hyaluronic acid injections as there is not much research on the possible effects on the child.

Interactions with other medicines:
Hyaluronic acid has no reported interactions with medicines.

 

Some other names it goes by

Acide Hyaluronique, Ácido Hialurónico, Glycoaminoglycan, Glycoaminoglycane, Hyaluran, Hyaluronan, Hyaluronate de Sodium, Hyaluronate Sodium, Hylan, Sodium Hyaluronate.

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