Skin ageing is associated with a loss of skin moisture. The key molecule involved in skin moisture is hyaluronan or hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid (HA) occurs naturally in our bodies and has great water binding properties. Despite the name Hyaluronic “acid” it is not actually an acid, it is a type of sugar called glycosaminoglycan. Within our bodies HA binds with water to create a jelly-like substance. This substance acts like a moisturising lubricant and creates a cushioning effect between the fibres in the skin, the collagen and the elastin, and in the tendons, muscles and lungs.
50% of our body’s hyaluronic acid can be found in the skin, but mostly within the deeper layers of the dermis. HA has a half-life of 3 to 5 min in the blood, less than a day in the skin and 1 to 3 weeks in the cartilage. HA is degraded into fragments of varying size by hyaluronidases.
HA is responsible for maintaining an effective balance of moisture in the skin which is one of the main components for cell growth. It also gives your skin the foundation it needs to maintain full, healthy looking skin. This is why it is important to keep high levels of hyaluronic acid in the skin. When your skin lacks HA it causes it to lose elasticity and dries out your skin, thus increasing the appearance of wrinkles. HA belongs to the extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules. ECM molecules that lie between cells, they exert major effects on cellular function. These ECM molecules, form a highly organised structure, comprising mainly of GAG, proteoglycans, growth factors and structural proteins such as collagens. Yet, the predominant component of the skin ECM is HA.
Hyaluronic acid is costly to produce , so quality is important. If your HA product is very cheap, chances are that it has a very low concentration of HA .
It is important to maintain the moisture levels in our skin in order to guarantee good elasticity and to maintain healthy skin structure and tone. Hyaluronic acid is a sensitive molecule that is easily broken down by free radicals, UV light and oxidising agents. This is why sun damaged skin can become loose and wrinkly. Hyaluronic acid is slowly broken down by the body using an enzyme called hyaluronidase, and then slowly built up again. This happens regularly, and we replace our HA levels multiple times a day. For those of us looking for a very obvious result, injecting HA using fillers can temporarily restore lost levels in the skin. The effects of such a treatment is also temporary because it gets broken down by the body eventually. Some people naturally break down HA quicker than others.
HA is a popular skincare ingredient due to its moisture-locking ability . It also has long-term studies and is considered safe and stable to use in skincare products.
Hyaluronic acid comes in many forms and the most common variety has a long, moisture-locking molecular structure that is too large to penetrate the skin’s outer layer. When it is added to a cream it becomes a protective layer that locks in moisture and strengthens the skin’s barrier. Sensitive and dry skin needs large molecular hyaluronic acid in order to maintain good moisture levels and to help repair damaged skin. Small molecular hyaluronic acid can penetrate the space between the skin cells and moisturise from within whilst filling up the gaps, leading to a plumped effect. The type of molecular form chosen for each skincare product depends on what the product is for and for which skin type.
It can go by many names; hyaluronic acid/hyaluronan (protecting, softening, and stays on the surface layers), sodium hyaluronate (penetrates further down and has moisture-locking abilities) and sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer (penetrates deep within the dermis and has long-lasting moisturising effects, smoothes out fine lines). This is due to the different molecular structures and thus which properties it contains. Triple size molecule of HA is more effective as the smaller molecules bring active ingredients down into the deeper layers of the skin , plus the larger molecules hydrate the surface of the skin .
Here are some products that contain this amazing ingredient:
HA Intensifier delivers surface hydration, helping improve the visible appearance of firmness, smoothness, and facial plumpness. - Click here to view
Hydrating B5 Gel is a moisture enhancing, oil-free serum - Click here to view
Phytocorrective Gel helps to calm and soothe skin - Click here to view
Hydrating B5 mask infuses dehydrated skin with moisture - Click here to view
Phytocorrective mask restores a healthier and more youthful appearance- Click here to view
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