Hyaluronic acid is capable of holding up to 1,000 times its weight in water and because of this propriety it is an ingredient that works well in formulations with hydrating benefits. Recognised as one of the most famous hydrating ingredients in skincare, hyaluronic acid is good at providing surface hydration and therefore in maintaining skin’s moisture levels.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a natural humectant composed of disaccharide (sugar) chains found in every tissue of the human body. It is present in high concentrations within the skin and in the fluids around the eyes and joints. As the body’s natural hydrator, this hydrophilic (water-loving) molecule acts like a sponge to attract and retain water, making it an excellent moisturiser when applied topically.
What role does hyaluronic acid play in ageing skin?
While hyaluronic acid is present throughout the body, it is highly concentrated within skin tissue, notably in the surface layers, where it attracts water, as well as the dermal layers, where it acts like a scaffold for essential proteins such as collagen and elastin. This molecule, however, has a short lifecycle in skin, with 30-50% degrading every 24 hours. With age, the skin experiences a gradual decline in hyaluronic acid levels. Production starts to decrease in the 20s and accelerates in the 40s. The combined decline and rapid natural degradation of hyaluronic acid contribute to signs of ageing including dryness, fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin texture, loss of firmness, and the appearance of loss of facial fullness.
How does hyaluronic acid benefit my skin?
One of the hallmarks of ageing skin is loss of moisture, resulting in decreased firmness, plumpness, and elasticity. Hyaluronic acid is a fundamental molecule involved in maintaining skin’s moisture content due to its impressive capability to attract and retain water. As a result, this ingredient is often used in serums and creams formulated specifically to improve skin’s hydration.
What is the difference between topical and injectable hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid, while a powerful hydrator for skin, is a very large molecule that even when delivered topically in fragmented form, is still too large to penetrate skin for a significant transformation of volume. When injected, these fillers both fill space and absorb water to temporarily restore facial volume and smooth out wrinkles. Popular areas of the face for hyaluronic acid injections, also known as dermal fillers, include nasolabial folds (parentheses around the mouth or laugh lines), marionette lines (lines from the corners of the mouth down to the chin), the jawline, lips and cheeks. While the results of hyaluronic acid injections are immediate and can last between 3 to 12 months, hyaluronic acid is naturally absorbed by the body. As a result, repeat injections are required to maintain results. To find a certified professional for hyaluronic acid injections, visit the SkinCeuticals skincare professional locator.
Topical application of hyaluronic acid formulas are a good addition to an effective at-home skincare regime. They increase surface hydration and based on the product formulation may result in softer, smoother skin texture and an improved appearance in plumpness and firmness, making them an ideal complement to professional in-clinic hyaluronic acid injections.
Why is hyaluronic acid a popular ingredient for injections (dermal fillers)?
As hyaluronic acid is already a natural component of the skin, this type of injection or dermal filler used to reduce wrinkles and increase volume in the skin is typically well-tolerated, with little to no side effects. Additionally, if the effects of the filler are undesirable, they can easily be reversed through a professional injection of an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which helps dissolve hyaluronic acid. This is not the case for other types of fillers such as poly-L-lactic acid and calcium hydroxylapatite injections. Visit a professional to learn more, to find a professional near you visit the SkinCeuticals skincare professional locator.
For more information on skincare ingredients, go to our Skincare Ingredients Dictionary.