Hyaluronic acid (HA) possesses some amazing properties and is widely used as an active agent in anti-aging skin care products. But, what are these properties and in what way are they beneficial to our skin?
1) As a humectant, one HA molecule can hold 1000 times in own weight in water molecules, through absorption, making it an excellent moisturizer.
2) It has anti-immflammatory properties.
3) It triggers communication between cells; which means that HA actively encourages, even speeds up, the healing process. This includes not only dry or sun-damaged skin but also cuts, grazes and other types of open wound.
What is it?
HA is a clear, lubricating substance which helps retain collagen, increase moisture and provide elasticity and flexibility. It is naturally present in the body and is found in high concentrations in the eyes and joints, but is also widely distributed throughout connective tissue. What’s important for us to know is that it’s one of the chief components of the extra-cellular matrix, the structural support for the skin.
As mentioned, it’s a very powerful humectant which means that it attracts and retains the moisture in the air nearby via absorption.
How does it Work?
The primary way in which Hyaluronic acid helps improve the appearance of dry, aged and especially chronoaged or sun damaged skin is by reducing water loss. Increasing HA concentration will plump the skin, giving it a more youthful appearance.
Dryness, drooping eyes or lips and sagginess are associated with aging because as we get older, molecules in our skin lose some of their ability to bind and retain water. This not only causes dryness but also decreases the skin’s volume. Skin aging is triggered by both intrinsic and extrinsic aging, meaning daily environmental exposure to pollutants and UV light, along with the normal process of aging.
Dryness caused from prolonged sun exposure plays an important role in wrinkle formation. Wrinkles and fine lines are usually also more visible in low humidity climates compared to high humidity environments because they further reduce the water-holding capacity and elasticity of the skin. HA can help naturally reduce signs of aging by decreasing ‘epidermal water loss’ associated with sun exposure, skin dryness or flakiness.
Treats Sores, Sunburns & Wounds
Aside from lowering the appearance of wrinkles and dryness, HA is beneficial for treating cold sores and mouth sores, ulcers, wounds, bites and burns, by keeping damaged tissue moist. It also provides sunburn relief. Many cold sore treatments for the lips and mouth contain hyaluronic acid gel to speed up the healing process and prevent cracking or bleeding.
HA is part of the structural component of the mouth and the lips, which are made up of connective tissues made partly from collagen and water. Collagen and HA help give lips their structure and shape. Because HA binds to water, it hydrates the skin and tissues within the mouth/lips and keeps skin junctions tight, helps bring nutrients to damaged tissues, controls inflammation and helps fluids carry out waste.
Summary of Benefits
- Excellent topical moisturizer
- Reduces moisture loss
- Aids skin repair at cellular level
- Anti-inflammatory agent
- Decreases look of fine lines & wrinkles
- Improve skin’s texture & appearance
- Excellent for chronoaged skin which is skin that has aged significantly due to sun exposure
Products we Recommend
For a natural form of botanical hyaluronic acid (from marshmallow plant extract): rather than a lab made product, we recommend Éminence Organics’ Strawberry Rhubarb Serum– this up to 84% active serum is an excellent hydrator; plumps and smoothes and is therefore ideal for mature or dry skin.