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Hyaluronic acid and skin care medical science weighs in

Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a carbohydrate polymer we are all born with but lose as we get older. HA enables our cells to retain moisture and keep our skin’s smoothness and elasticity. It has been a staple of certain Japanese societies and has contributed to their youthful appearance. People of this particular population are known to live well into their 90s and even to over 100 years old. Reportedly, if you were to visit, you’d have a difficult time deciphering between a 60-, 80-, or 90-year-old if you were simply looking at the condition of the skin, which tends to be more youthful in appearance than you would expect of anyone that age.

After scientists analyzed their subjects’ diets over the past few decades, it became apparent that the key was Hyaluronic Acid. Though most would consider the food bland and even unappetizing, HA has now made its way into supplements and other skin care products.

One of Japan’s leading pharmaceutical companies tested the HA supplement on 1,000 people. Roughly half of the participants reported smoother skin, less fatigue, and better eyesight. Western medicine, on the other hand, is just beginning to understand the full potential of HA.

For years, it has been used in eye surgery as a shock absorber to protect the retina. In gel form, it has been proven helpful in lubricating arthritic joints. Its ability to restore moisture and elasticity to tissues is a big reason why you’ll find it in some cosmetic applications.

New Research on Hyaluronic Acid Proves Beneficial for Managing Aging Skin

In the June 2011 edition of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, researchers reported their beneficial findings of a combination of Retinal and Hyaluronic Acid. They tested topical treatments with intermediate-sized hyaluronate fragments. More than 1,400 subjects participated in a 90-day assessment. Measurements were taken according to established dermatological guidelines. The assessment showed significant reduction in forehead wrinkles and laugh lines around the nose and mouth. There was even a decrease in the depth of crow’s feet. Overall, the ingredients were well tolerated by the participants. Researchers concluded that there is efficacy and value in this Retinal/HA combination to support the management of aging skin.

As we age, the underlying tissues that help keep our skin looking youthful and firm begin to break down. This is due to the effects of gravity, sun exposure, diet, genetic factors, and years of facial muscle movement. Over time, these lead to the development of lines, wrinkles, and folds in the face.

Skin consists of two layers, known as the dermis and epidermis. The epidermis is the outermost, visible layer. It acts as the skin’s primary shield from the environment. The dermis, or innermost layer of skin, is composed primarily of connective tissue and provides the skin with a support network. Most wrinkles and facial folds occur within the dermal layer. Within the connective tissue, collagen, elastin, and HA form a network that provides the skin structure support and elasticity. Fat cells and other molecules, including HA, help to create volume beneath facial skin.

With time, this network begins to break down, and HA molecules and fat cells are depleted. Injectable fillers and topical applications can help prevent these wrinkles, reduce scars, and even prevent loss of volume in your cheeks. Furthermore, topical applications offer a safe, effective alternative for a maintaining a smooth and  youthful appearance.

Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring molecule. Much like a sponge, its primary function is to bind an absorb water, which creates volume in the face. It can be thought of as the body’s internal moisturizer. By applying products that contain HA, you are restoring your natural HA that has depleted over time.

Allergy skin testing is not required before treatment because all naturally occurring HA is biocompatible, meaning that it circulates in the blood with little or no immune response. Despite the biological source the HA comes from, it is all identical in composition.

Hyaluronic Acid has come to the forefront of skin care and maintenance. It is an amazing, naturally occurring molecule that continues to be safe and effective for overall health and beauty.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing lrstewar@gmail.com.