Published: 12/19/2013 - Updated: 06/17/2016
Today, many products contain hyaluronic acid, also known as hyaluronate, and you can find it in supplements, creams, or even injections. It is a very interesting ingredient with skin caring properties.
What is hyaluronic acid?
It is a type of glycosaminoglycan polysaccharide found in connective tissues, epithelial tissues and nerves. It comprises of cells and can be obtained by taking food supplements.
It was discovered in 1934 by German chemist Karl Meyer. However, it drew more attention after tests related it to a younger looking and wrinkle free skin and healthier joints, among other benefits.
It is noteworthy that our body contains approximately 15 grams of hyaluronic acid, which plays different roles. According to scientific research, hyaluronic acid enhances the hydration of the skin, stimulates collagen production, is a potent antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It is also said to contribute to good eye health.
As the years pass, the levels of hyaluronic acid in our body drop and it is estimated that by age 40, the synthesis of hyaluronic acid in the body only covers half of the daily recommended amount.
Benefits of hyaluronic acid
Skin: Hyaluronic acid is widely known for the benefits it brings to our skin as it helps retain water in the cells, making it an excellent moisturiser. In fact, no other known biological substance can hold as much water as hyaluronic acid, resulting in smoother skin and reducing wrinkles. Its ability to remove waste products from the cells is equally important.
Along with collagen, it is considered of great importance to the skin and anti-ageing treatments.
Joints: Most of us have heard of glucosamine supplements to treat or aid in the treatment of arthritic conditions. Glucosamine belongs to a group of compounds known as glycosaminoglycans. These compounds help to keep joints healthy and strong. Hyaluronic acid is one of the principal glycosaminoglycans. As an antioxidant, it is also useful in protecting the joints from damage by the action of free radicals.
Eyes: Hyaluronic acid is found in the vitreous humor of the eye. Its function is to lubricate the tissues of the eye, which is a great benefit for those suffering from eye dryness. Oral hyaluronic acid supplements may also help sight in some cases.
For gums: Hyaluronic acid is a major component in the body's connective tissues. In the gums, it helps the regeneration of healthy tissue and redue inflammation that leads to bleeding gums. Its application as a gel onto the gums is useful to keep them healthy.
Hyaluronic Acid is considered useful when applied topically, as well as when consumed in supplement form.
Injectable hyaluronic acid solutions are used to "fill in" wrinkles, thus combating the signs of aging, but it is not the only way we can make use of this ingredient.
It is found in cosmetic products such as creams, gels and serums. It is able to penetrate the upper layers of the skin, so other benefits are obtained when used topically, such as helping to repair and protect skin tissues. When applied in a cream or serum, hyaluronic acid is absorbed through the skin, thereby increasing the elasticity and hydration of the skin and giving it a youthful appearance.
It can also be found as an oral supplement which can provide several benefits. Consumption of this supplement promotes the production of collagen, the most abundant protein in the body and is essential for the skin. As collagen in body decreases over time, wrinkles and discoloration become more evident on the skin.
Which product to choose?
It is recommended that you choose products whose hyaluronic acid is derived from plant sources. On the other hand, do try to avoid topical products containing sulphates, parabens, alcohol and other ingredients that can counteract the benefits of hyaluronic acid.
An ideal product will contain close to 100% hyaluronic acid content. Other products with low concentrations may not have the expected result.