Hyaluronic Acid in Skin Care
Hyaluronic acid, or HA, is a gel-like substance that's found in abundance in young skin, according to Cleveland Clinic. HA helps keep connective tissues well lubricated and also provides a protective padding. The aging process generally causes a loss of skin volume due largely to the decline of hyaluronic acid along with the loss of collagen and elastin fibers, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). This is why hyaluronic acid is injected into the skin and used topically in an effort to reverse the signs of aging.
Hyaluronic acid has many functions throughout the body, especially in the connective tissue. It may help control tissue repair and manage the movement and production of cells.
Hyaluronic acid can help hydrate the outer layer of the skin. SmartSkinCare.com reports that HA is an excellent humectant that helps skin retain moisture and increase its thickness.
HA can hold hundreds of times its weight in water. One molecule of hyaluronic acid holds 214 molecules of water, according to the Beauty Naturally website.
HA may also improve the skin's resiliency and suppleness, which can theoretically make it an attractive ingredient in anti-aging products. However, the effectiveness of topical HA for wrinkles is unproven, according to SmartSkinCare.com
Actinic keratoses are precancerous inflammatory skin lesions that may develop after many years of sun exposure. People with fair skin are more susceptible to developing actinic keratoses.
Hyaluronic acid is used along with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication called diclofenac to treat actinic keratoses, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. The diclofenac is used to avert inflammation, while the hyaluronic acid slows the uptake of the diclofenac, leading to greater absorption in the skin. This gel product is applied to the lesion two times per day for up to three months.
Soft Tissue Fillers
Hyaluronic acid is commonly used in injectible soft tissue fillers, such as Restylane and Juvederm, to minimize wrinkles, create fuller lips, diminish the appearance of scars and give skin a more youthful overall appearance, according to the AAD.
Side effects of soft tissue fillers may include temporary swelling, redness and bruising in the injection site.
HA may have to be injected every three to six months to retain its effects.
HA and Vitamin C
Skin care products that contain hyaluronic acid are often used in combination with vitamin C. Vitamin C is added to hyaluronic acid to enhance its ability to penetrate the skin, according to Cleveland Clinic.
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