What is hyaluronic acid – Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide that is found almost everywhere in the human body. It can be found in large amounts in the skin, bones, cartilage, synovial fluid and the vitreous body of the eye.
Read more about what is hyaluronic acid good for, effects, uses, benefits and side effects.
What is hyaluronic acid?
We will try to talk about this popular substance in simple terms.
Because in medical terminology, the definition of hyaluronic acid will give few people an understanding of what kind of miracle substance it is: hyaluronic acid is an unsulphated glycosaminoglycan, a component of the intercellular matrix and an organic polysaccharide.
Well, now in simple, non-medical terms.
Hyaluronate, or in a simple way – hyaluronic acid (this is how consumers most often call it), is an organic substance that is produced in greater or lesser quantities in almost all cells of the fluids and tissues of our body . A large amount of hyaluronic acid is produced in the molecules of tissues of articular cartilage, the eyeball, brain, heart valves, saliva and, of course, skin. It is the skin that accounts for more than half of all hyaluronate found in the human body.
Hyaluronic acid provides elasticity and normal functioning of tissues by retaining water molecules and binding them in the intercellular space. This is its main task – to maintain the water balance of all body tissues. This is the hydration of cells, the preservation of their youth and functionality. Hyaluronate also promotes cell proliferation and their restoration.
The most important and amazing feature of hyaluronic acid is the ability of one molecule of a substance to retain moisture a thousand times more than its own weight. Due to this property, connective tissue cells are protected from dehydration.
So, one gram of hyaluronate can attract up to 6 liters of water, while only the right amount of water is retained, it is impossible to oversaturate the cell – this is the unique ability of hyaluronate.
That is why hyaluronic acid has become so popular in the beauty industry.
But if our body is capable of producing hyaluronic acid on its own, why is it so popular in external use? There are several reasons for this.
- About 0.2 grams of hyaluronate per kilogram of the whole body. With an average weight of 65 kg, the human body contains only 14 grams of hyaluronate (about one teaspoon of the substance for the entire body), while a third (about 5 grams) is broken down and synthesized daily.
- The process of splitting hyaluronic acid is accelerated under the influence of ultraviolet rays, its synthesis stops in the skin cells, therefore, after prolonged exposure to the sun, the skin becomes dry and dehydrated, the aging process is accelerated.
- After various injuries and operations in the composition of the skin, hyaluronic acid becomes much less, because. its consumption for the restoration of organs and affected tissues increases.
- The production of hyaluronic acid is also affected by a number of different external factors. The amount of the produced substance decreases for the following reasons: bad habits, malnutrition, stress, unfavorable environment, poor quality water and other negative external factors.
- The most weighty, because the most inevitable reason is age. In sufficient quantities, hyaluronic acid is produced at the age of 25 years. After 25 years, the synthesis of hyaluronate slows down, after 40 years, due to its lack, the body cannot synthesize collagen in sufficient quantities, the aging process becomes irreversible. Accordingly, if there is not enough hyaluronate in the body, the first signs of aging appear – dry skin, wrinkles, dull complexion. Replenishing the lack of hyaluronic acid, we thereby slow down the aging process.
This is the secret of the popularity of hyaluronic acid.
Ways to compensate for the lack of hyaluronic acid in the body
Over the years, the production of hyaluronate in the body is reduced, the natural aging process begins.
What can we do to replenish the amount of hyaluronic acid, thereby slowing down the process of skin aging?
- Leading a healthy lifestyle (eliminating bad habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol).
- Compliance with the drinking regimen (a healthy person is recommended to consume 35 ml of water per 1 kilogram of body weight per day, that is, about 2 liters of water for women and 3 liters for men).
- Proper nutrition and the addition of foods containing hyaluronic acid to the diet (meat cartilage and broths, bananas, legumes, soybeans, cereals, as well as potatoes, beets and other starchy vegetables).
- Skin care (moisturizing with cosmetics and UV protection).
- Cosmetic procedures (injection techniques).
How is hyaluronic acid obtained?
Hyaluronic acid is obtained in two ways: animal raw materials and artificial method.
The first method of extracting hyaluronate from fish, cartilage of cattle and cockscombs is a thing of the past.
The second, artificial method is more widely and universally used – the synthesis of hyaluronic acid in laboratories, which produces a drug that is absolutely identical to natural, but with a high degree of purification and without foreign components that cause allergic reactions.
Hyaluronic acid is used in medicine, cosmetology, dermatology:
- Ophthalmology and eye surgery, production of contact lenses.
- Orthopedics: treatment of joints and bone diseases.
- Aesthetic medicine.
- Surgery: treatment of wounds, trophic ulcers, burns.
- Nutritional supplements.
- Facial skin care.
- Change and correction of forms, filling, modeling of the oval of the face.
Hyaluronic acid is in demand in cosmetology due to the amazing and visible effect that it has on the skin of the face.
Impact on the skin
Hyaluronic acid has an amazing moisturizing effect that is superior to any other moisturizing cosmetics:
- Attracts water molecules and holds them.
- Prevents the evaporation of moisture by forming a protective film.
- Protects from adverse external factors.
- Synthesizes elastin and collagen.
We can say that hyaluronic acid has a rejuvenating and refreshing effect. Hydrated skin is healthy skin.
Effect on the skin of the face :
- Intense skin hydration.
- Color improvement, radiance.
- Increase in elasticity.
- Reduction of roughness.
- Smoothing fine wrinkles.
- Slowing down the aging process.
A sufficient level of moisture allows the tissue repair process to work in full.
Hyaluronic acid for skin or for facial skin, hyaluronate is used for two purposes: moisturizing and contouring. The moisturizing effect is achieved with the help of cosmetic products containing hyaluronic acid. Contour plastic – smoothing wrinkles, correcting and changing the volume of various areas of the face – involves injections of the technique.
The use of hyaluronic acid in cosmetics
Every year, the popularity of hyaluronic acid is growing, it is used in the formulations of various cosmetic products – creams, lotions, masks, serums, lipsticks and other skin care products.
There is a misconception that this method of using hyaluronic acid is ineffective, because. the diameter of its molecule is many times greater than the distance between skin molecules.
However, research suggests otherwise. Hyaluronic acid, which is on the surface of the skin for a long time, enters both its upper layers and the dermis, giving the necessary moisture to the cells, thereby moisturizing them and preventing premature aging. By the way, to moisturize the upper layers of the skin, it is enough to find the substance on the surface.
For deeper penetration into the layers of the skin, cosmetics use a fragmented hyaluronate molecule.
But do not forget when using products containing hyaluronic acid that in the composition of cosmetics hyaluronate is only responsible for the moisturizing effect. A feeling of freshness on the skin, a rested face, a blush, protection from external adverse environmental factors – this result will give the product with daily use. Add here proper nutrition, proper sleep, walks in the fresh air – and the result will not be long in coming.
For deeper hydration, to smooth out wrinkles or change the shape of the cheekbones, lips and other parts of the face, injections and various hardware techniques using hyaluronic acid are used.
The use of hyaluronic acid in cosmetology and dermatology
Hyaluronic acid has gained immense popularity in cosmetology, because not a single cosmetic product will solve the problem of saturating the skin in the same way as cosmetic procedures do.
For a more effective and visible result in comparison with the use of cosmetics, injections with hyaluronate are used.
Let’s talk in more detail about the method – injections of hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic acid injections are by far one of the safest and most effective methods of skin rejuvenation. With their help, it became possible to change and correct seemingly irreversible age-related processes, such as deep and shallow wrinkles and folds, skin laxity; general rejuvenation, modeling and adding the missing volume to individual parts of the face, which change with age, became possible. The effect of the procedures is noticeable immediately – the skin acquires an even tone, becomes elastic and toned, wrinkles are smoothed out.
Such injection procedures have become an excellent alternative to surgical intervention. The procedure takes relatively little time, is practically painless and does not require time for recovery and rehabilitation. Injections are injected directly into the problem area, filling voids and correcting skin imperfections. The use of hyaluronic acid injections is possible both for the skin of the face and for other parts of the body.
Remember that for the application of these procedures, consultation with a cosmetologist or dermatologist is necessary. Also, do not forget that cosmetic procedures using hyaluronic acid have a long-term, but not life-long effect! The action of hyaluronic acid can last from 8 to 12 months. Further, part of the substance is excreted from the body, the other part is absorbed as a natural component.
Indications for the use of hyaluronic acid
Indications for prescribing procedures using hyaluronic acid:
- Deep and shallow wrinkles.
- Scars and stretch marks.
- Dark spots.
- Sagging and dry skin.
- Asymmetrical oval face.
- Adding volume, correcting the shape of individual parts of the face.
- Strengthening hair follicles.
Preparations with hyaluronic acid are prescribed for moisturizing, lifting, general improvement of the skin condition, smoothing wrinkles, correcting the shape and changing the volume of individual parts of the face (lips, cheekbones, cheeks, etc.). Also, drugs are used to heal the affected areas of the skin.
There are several types of injection procedures using different types of hyaluronic acid.
Types of hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid is a substance whose molecules can have a different structure. It is the structure of the molecule that determines what properties a particular type of hyaluronic acid has and how it affects the cells of our body.
Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid –
Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat various types of rashes, acne, and some skin conditions such as psoriasis. Also, low molecular weight hyaluronic acid is used in the composition of cosmetic creams, because. it is able to penetrate deeper into the layers of the epidermis (outer layer of the skin).
Medium molecular weight hyaluronic acid –
Medium molecular hyaluronic acid stimulates the process of cell division and triggers the synthesis of its own hyaluronic acid. It is most often used in medicine to treat eye diseases and arthritis.
High molecular weight hyaluronic acid –
This hyaluronic acid is in demand in cosmetology due to its slow breakdown in tissues. The function of a macromolecular acid is to hold water molecules. Such an acid retains and absorbs water more than other types of hyaluronic acid. It is used in medicine, in cosmetology and is not used in cosmetics.
The cosmetologist prescribes this or that procedure depending on the age, skin condition and needs of the patient. Let us consider in more detail the types of injection procedures using hyaluronic acid used in cosmetology.
Types of injection procedures using hyaluronic acid
In modern cosmetology, there are many procedures using hyaluronic acid, we will consider the most common ways to combat unwanted age-related changes.
This procedure involves the introduction of the drug through a series of injections. Due to the introduction of hyaluronic acid into the middle and deep layers of the epidermis and dermis, the work of fibroblasts of skin cells, which are responsible for the production of collagen and elastin, is stimulated, the result is deep skin hydration and its rejuvenation. Hyaluronic acid activates cell renewal, all metabolic processes are accelerated.
This procedure, as a rule, is carried out on open areas of the skin exposed to ultraviolet radiation – face, neck, décolleté, hands. Although theoretically this procedure is suitable for any part of the skin.
Biorevitalization is carried out both for therapeutic purposes (working with age-related changes and skin pigmentation), and for prevention (early aging, dry skin).
With the help of mesotherapy, the drug, which includes hyaluronic acid, together with amino acids, vitamins A, C, E, P, is injected into the deeper layers of the dermis (the layer of the skin that is deeper than the upper layer – the epidermis). The procedure is highly effective due to a deeper injection of the drug into the layers of the skin, the rejuvenation process starts inside. After the introduction, the drug begins to interact with water molecules, a gel-like substance is formed that fills wrinkles and other skin irregularities.
The mesotherapy procedure is prescribed in the presence of shallow scars, stretch marks, wrinkles, dry skin and acne. It is also used to correct body volumes.
This procedure is used both on open areas of the skin (certain parts of the face, arms, neck), and in the abdomen, thighs and buttocks.
- Injection contour plastic
One of the most popular methods of rejuvenation in cosmetology, a great alternative to plastic surgery. One hour of the procedure, no incisions, scalpels and dressings, the result is the correction of age-related changes, the elimination of skin imperfections and the replenishment of lost volumes.
Possibilities of contour plastics :
- Smoothing of interbrow and nasolabial folds.
- Improvement of the oval of the face.
- Correction of small wrinkles, crow’s feet (purse-string wrinkles).
- Smoothing of the nasolacrimal groove.
- Correction of the shape of the lips , nose and chin.
- Replenishment of lost lip volumes.
This is not all the possibilities of contour plastics. So, for example, you can even hide the protruding veins on the arms and other parts of the body.
In contouring, fillers are used as fillers. Do not confuse dermal fillers with Botox injections. These are two different drugs with different mechanisms of action.
Consider what hyaluronic acid fillers are.
What are hyaluronic acid fillers?
Fillers are injectable dermal fillers that are used in contouring and are an alternative to plastic surgery. They are used to smooth wrinkles and increase the volume of various parts of the face. Fillers with hyaluronic acid are a gel that, after injection, does not dissolve for a long time, thereby acting as a filler. The result is a lifting effect, modeling and volume increase.
The result is visible immediately after the procedure. Do not forget that the effect of any fillers is not lifelong. Thus, the effect of fillers based on hyaluronic acid lasts from 6 to 18 months.
Fillers have such properties as elasticity and plasticity – they restore their shape, while they do not spread and do not move with muscle mobility and under the influence of external factors.
Depending on the tasks that need to be solved, fillers of varying degrees of viscosity are selected.
To fill small wrinkles, fillers with a low degree of viscosity – soft gel are used. For deep folds and to add volume to forms (lips, cheekbones, etc.), fillers with a high degree of viscosity are used.
Most often, hyaluronic acid fillers are used for the following purposes:
- Face oval correction.
- Cheekbone line correction.
- Smoothing of nasolabial folds.
- Lip volume increase.
- Wrinkle smoothing.
One of the advantages of hyaluronic acid-based fillers is the ability to return everything back with the help of an enzyme that can break down the injected hyaluronate.
After performing procedures with hyaluronic acid injections, the following recommendations should be followed:
- Do not use decorative cosmetics for 2-3 days (powder, foundation, blush, etc.)
- Use the drugs prescribed by the attending physician
- Refrain from visiting the bath and sauna for 7-10 days
- Refrain from sports activities
- Avoid sun exposure for 14 days
Despite all the safety and effectiveness of the drug, do not forget about the contraindications to the use of hyaluronic acid. So, it is not recommended to inject hyaluronate in the following cases:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Oncological diseases.
- Infectious diseases.
- Acute form of herpes.
- Poor blood clotting.
- Skin hypersensitivity.
- Individual intolerance to the drug.
Also, the procedure is not recommended after laser and chemical peels and in the presence of inflammation on the skin in the area where the injection is necessary.
Remember that before carrying out injection procedures, a specialist consultation is required.
How does hyaluronic acid work?
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring compound in the body with water-binding, smoothing, wound-healing and lubricating properties. It is mainly found in the connective tissue, the skin, the bones, the joint fluid (synovial fluid), the cartilage and the vitreous body of the eye.
Hyaluronic acid is a natural multiple sugar (polysaccharide), more precisely a glycosaminoglycan, which is assembled from individual building blocks by the body’s own enzymes to form a complex structure. These building blocks are D-glucuronic acid and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine. The enzyme hyaluronidase, in turn, is able to selectively break down and inactivate hyaluronic acid.
Due to its spatial structure, hyaluronic acid can bind water and thus contribute to the stability and friction-free mechanics of the joints. In the skin area, for example, hyaluronic acid ensures the natural elasticity and firmness of the connective tissue.
With age, their natural proportion in the body decreases. The loss can be artificially replaced by certain preparations.
Intake, degradation and excretion
Hyaluronic acid taken by mouth is poorly absorbed due to its high molecular weight. In the body, it is broken down by special enzymes, so-called hyaluronidases.
The resulting metabolites are either recycled or excreted through the kidneys.
When is hyaluronic acid used?
Hyaluronic acid is primarily used to treat osteoarthritis in orthopedic medicine. Since the mid-1980s, many doctors have also been offering wrinkle injections with hyaluronic acid.
In addition, injections with the active ingredient are also used for breast or lip augmentation. Hyaluronic acid is also found in numerous dietary supplements and cosmetics, mostly with the aim of improving the firmness and moisture of the skin.
Furthermore, many eye drops and gels used to treat dry eyes contain the active ingredient in varying amounts. The higher the amount, the firmer and more viscous the drops or gels are.
How hyaluronic acid is used?
The active ingredient is available in numerous dosage forms. There are hyaluronic acid injections, hyaluronic acid ampoules, hyaluronic acid supplements, hyaluronic acid cream, hyaluronic acid gel, hyaluronic acid eye drops and hyaluronic acid capsules, among others.
As an injection, the active ingredient is primarily used for the direct treatment of osteoarthritis. In so-called viscosupplementation, the doctor injects the active substance directly into the spaces between the joints.
Since hyaluronic acid is a natural component of the synovial fluid, the mobility of the joint is supported in this way. So doctor is also advise hyaluronic acid for joints. The various preparations that are on the market differ in the number of injections required.
Local treatment with the active ingredient can also support the function of the nasal mucosa. Many of the commercially available nasal sprays today contain hyaluronic acid, which prevents the nasal mucosa from drying out.
In the same way, hyaluronic acid eye drops are primarily used to treat dry eyes. A thin, water-binding film forms over the eye, which keeps the eyes moist longer than natural or artificial tears.
Hyaluronic acid creams and hyaluronic acid injections are also used in aesthetic medicine. The focus here is on wrinkle injections with hyaluronic acid.
The different types of hyaluronic acid gel available differs in terms of molecular weight. In general, the effect achieved lasts about six to twelve months, after which wrinkle injections have to be repeated.
The active substance is also injected to shape the buttocks, lips or breasts.
In the cosmetics industry, hyaluronic acid cream applied to the skin is used to eliminate minor wrinkles. The achievable effect is limited to the physical water binding, whereby the upper layers of the skin should appear optically rejuvenated.
However, the hyaluronic acid used cannot reach the deeper layers of the skin. A long-term effect on the connective tissue (permanent wrinkle smoothing) is therefore excluded.
What are the side effects of hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid side effects are largely unknown as the substance occurs naturally in the human body. In rare cases, there are skin intolerance reactions or infections after an injection.
If the active ingredient is injected, care must be taken to ensure sterile work. Injection treatment for arthrosis should be interrupted if the joint is already or is beginning to become inflamed.
What should be considered when using hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid injections and wrinkle injections with hyaluronic acid are usually carried out by a doctor. Pregnancy, lactation and age generally do not play a role in the application.
How to get medicines with hyaluronic acid?
Some products with hyaluronic acid, such as creams and eye drops, are available over the counter in pharmacies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. An application for moistening mucous membranes (nose and eyes) as well as for skin care falls within the field of self-medication.
Dietary supplements and cosmetics containing hyaluronic acid can also be purchased without a doctor’s prescription.
How long has hyaluronic acid been known?
Hyaluronic acid was chemically isolated for the first time in 1934 by Karl Meyer and John Palmer. The first generation of hyaluronic acid preparations was launched in 1981.
The hyaluronic acid used comes exclusively from animal sources. Since 1997, preparations have been on the market in which the active ingredient is obtained by fermentation with the help of bacteria.
This significantly reduced the risk of side effects due to the allergenic potential of any residues of animal protein. Hyaluronic acid is also increasingly used in the cosmetics industry.
However, only small fragments are usually used here, as these are slightly better absorbed by the skin, which is intended to increase the effect of a cream.
Can hyaluronic acid be harmful?
Any interference from the outside, any manipulation, especially in relation to our face, causes many fears and doubts. Let’s see if hyaluronic acid can harm the skin and the body as a whole.
With the non-injection method, an allergic reaction is possible.
If you use a cosmetic product, be sure to familiarize yourself with the composition.
As for the injection method, the main risk is that with such a wide popularity of hyaluronic acid, many fakes have begun to appear.
Therefore, be extremely careful – check for the presence of a product certificate, and also insist that the drug is opened in front of you. Needless to say, it is better to turn to professionals for such procedures and avoid visits to unverified dubious specialists?
Possible minor complications after injection procedures:
- Pain at the injection site : In this case, painkillers (gels, ointments, etc.) are used.
- Redness and swelling : They pass within a short time – from several hours to two or three days.
Before prescribing any injection procedures, an experienced cosmetologist will definitely conduct a preliminary examination and identify a predisposition to the appearance of edema and bruising, if any. In this case, prescribed drugs that strengthen blood vessels.
Minor visible marks on the skin from the procedure are quickly and almost painless. Visit trusted specialists, reliable clinics, follow the recommendations and prescriptions of the doctor after the procedure, and the result will not keep you waiting!