Hyaluronic Acid occurs naturally within the human body. It is a carbohydrate that binds itself to water, making its consistency similar to a gel. Its function is, amongst other things, to lubricate the moving parts of the body, such as joints and muscles. It holds moisture in the areas between our cells and keeps our skin plump.
How can Hyaluronic Acid (HA) help my skin?
Our skin starts to lose its hyaluronic acid when we reach our 20s. However, damage and age lines caused by hyaluronic acid loss, don’t generally show up until we reach our late 30s or early 40s. Preserving and regaining our HA, will help to keep skin firmer, smoother and more supple. It softens fine lines keeping the skin youthful-looking. Almost half of our body’s HA is found in the collagen within our skin. Babies have very high levels of hyaluronic acid, accounting for their plump and soft skin.
Hyaluronic Acid and Sodium Hyaluronate within products
Due to its consistency, and being compatible with our tissue, HA is highly beneficial in skin-care products, particularly as a moisturiser.
Within cosmetics, you may see the ingredient Sodium Hyaluronate listed. This is the water-soluble salt form of HA. It helps to retain over 1,000 times its weight in water within skin cells. It is the only biological substance which can retain this amount of water, smoothing, softening and decreasing the appearance of wrinkles in the skin.
The size of the molecules within sodium hyaluronate are smaller than that of HA. This means it can penetrate the skin better. When applied topically, it can get into the skin’s surface and draw in moisture. This gives the soft plump appearance to the skin we desire.
Apart from providing moisture, HA also provides cushioning for the skin. Aiding in tissue repair, it holds together the skin structural components which are collagen and elastin. This helps to create a protective barrier and strengthens the skin against harmful micro- organisms.
Specific Areas which Benefit from Hyaluronic Acid
The lips are covered by skin tissue which covers a core of skeletal muscle. Hyaluronic acid and collagen give structure (shape) and plumpness to the dermal layer of the lips which is composed primarily of connective tissue. The HA will bind to the water creating a gelatinous fluid which hydrates the surrounding tissue of the lips, keeping the collagen nourished and healthy. Lips will be plump, well hydrated, healthy and protected from the environment.
The fluid inside the eye is called the vitreous humor and is composed almost completely of hyaluronic acid. The fluid, therefore, will have the consistency of a gel and acts as a shock absorber for the eye; it also serves to transport nutrients inside. In addition, HA is used as a wrinkle filler for lines around the eyes, especially for the common complaint of crow’s feet.