You may have heard the buzz surrounding hyaluronic acid in recent years and for good reason. This powerhouse ingredient has taken the dermatology and beauty world by storm, becoming a popular addition to many products on the market. But what exactly is it, and why has it garnered so much attention?
In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore how hyaluronic acid works, its uses and benefits, and potential side effects you should be aware of. By the end of this guide, you will have enough information to decide if you want to add hyaluronic acid to your routine and more. So, let's start to discover the wonders of hyaluronic acid!
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance that is present in our bodies. It is a type of carbohydrate called glycosaminoglycan that helps to keep tissues hydrated and lubricated. It is primarily found in our skin, connective tissues, and eyes.
Hyaluronic acid is also vital in maintaining the health of our bodies. It is also best known for its incredible ability to retain moisture, holding up to 1,000 times its weight in water. This remarkable property has made it a sought-after ingredient in various applications. Hyaluronic acid is often used in moisturising creams and serums. It even finds uses in anti-ageing treatments and even injectable fillers.
Hyaluronic Acid is most abundant in synovial fluid and articular cartilage. It helps to reduce friction between joints and prevent pain and injury from grinding bones against each other. When used topically in skincare products, HA serum can help hydrate the skin and reduce wrinkles. Let’s see some benefits of hyaluronic acid products.
What Are the Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid?
There are numerous benefits of hyaluronic acid, and its benefits cover various aspects, including the skin, bones, and general health. Let’s see some benefits of products containing hyaluronic acid.
Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid for Skin
Hyaluronic acid is prevalent in dermatology due to its numerous skin benefits. It has an inherent ability to hydrate and plump up the skin deeply. It is often sold as serums, creams, or even dispensed as oral supplements for skin health. The best concentration of hyaluronic acid for our skin is between 50 to 1,000 kDa. Here are some of the benefits skin care products containing hyaluronic acid offer to our skin:
Hydration: As mentioned earlier, hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. This makes keeping our skin hydrated easy. Also, topical hyaluronic acid is generally well tolerated by the skin, increasing its benefits profoundly. It helps to keep our skin replenished. It also retains moisture to keep the skin looking plump and healthy .
Anti-ageing: Our skin loses its natural ability to produce hyaluronic acid as we age. Skin ageing results in fine lines and wrinkles. It also affects our ability to retain moisture and hydration in the skin. Another one of hyaluronic acid skin benefits is its anti-ageing properties. Hyaluronic acid, when applied topically, helps reduce skin ageing by reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines  by plumping up the skin and restoring its elasticity. It also protects the skin barrier.
Improved texture: Another benefit of hyaluronic acid for skin that stands out is texture. We want to maintain it as well as we can. Products with hyaluronic acid help improve skin texture by promoting collagen and elastin production. These proteins are essential for maintaining the skin barrier—their production causes a smoother, more youthful-looking complexion.
Brightening: Most people suffer from uneven pigmentation and dark spots. Skin care consisting of the hyaluronic acid serum helps with this. It also helps brighten skin tone by reducing the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
- Reduced inflammation: HA has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This property allows it to soothe and calm irritated or inflamed skin. This makes it an excellent ingredient for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin. It also speeds up wound healing. If you are looking for a reason to use hyaluronic acid, this is a sure one.
Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid for Bones and Joints
Another way you can benefit from the best hyaluronic acid is in your bones and joints. Sodium hyaluronate is a salt of hyaluronic acid used in injection form for the joints. Here are the ways hyaluronic acid benefits the bones and joints.
Joint lubrication: Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in the synovial fluid of joints . In this space, it acts as a lubricant and shock absorber. However, when joints become damaged or arthritic, the natural levels of HA can decrease. This leads to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Hyaluronic acid injectables help to restore lubrication and reduce pain and inflammation.
Cartilage protection: Hyaluronic acid can also help to protect and preserve cartilage in joints. Cartilage is the smooth tissue that covers the ends of bones in joints. They allow us to move freely without friction. Hyaluronic acid is excellent in protecting the cartilage through the production of chondrocytes, the cells that produce cartilage.
Improved bone density: Hyaluronic acid can also benefit bone health by improving bone density. Research suggests that hyaluronic acid injected into the bone marrow can increase the production of bone-forming cells. This is especially beneficial for those with osteoporosis or other conditions that cause bone loss.
- Wound healing: Hyaluronic acid promotes wound healing in bones and joints. When our bones are broken or joints are damaged, the body produces a substance called fibrin. Fibrin forms blood clots to begin the healing process. Hyaluronic acid helps enhance the effectiveness of fibrin by improving its ability to bind to cells and promote healing.
Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid for Eyes
Hyaluronic acid also has several benefits for the eyes. It is also sold in the sodium hyaluronate form under the brand name Viscosup. Here are some of the benefits:
Improved hydration: Like the skin, the eyes can become dry. Applying hyaluronic acid eye drops or serums improves hydration and moisture levels in the eyes at 0.2-0.4% concentration. This reduces dryness and discomfort .
Improved healing: Hyaluronic acid can also help improve the eyes' healing process. After an injury or surgery, hyaluronic acid can help promote new cells and tissue growth. It also reduces the risk of scarring and promotes faster healing.
- Reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles: The delicate skin around the eyes is prone to fine lines and wrinkles. Applying a hyaluronic acid eye cream or serum can help to plump up this skin. This makes the eyes look brighter and more youthful.
Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid for Acid Reflux
There is limited research on the benefits of hyaluronic acid (HA) for acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, some evidence suggests that Hyaluronic acid benefits GERD.
Acid reflux causes damage to the lining of the oesophagus. Eventually, this leads to inflammation and irritation. Hyaluronic acid has been shown to help promote the growth of new cells and tissue. It also increases mucus production in the digestive tract, a protective trigger for acid reflux. The increased mucus can help to create a barrier between the stomach acid and the oesophagus, reducing the risk of damage and irritation.
Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid for Bladder Pain
Interstitial cystitis, also known as bladder pain syndrome, is a chronic condition that causes pain and discomfort in the bladder and urinary tract. While there is limited research on the benefits of hyaluronic acid (HA) for bladder pain specifically, there is some evidence to suggest that it may be beneficial for reducing symptoms and improving bladder health.
As it does in GERD, hyaluronic acid has been shown to help promote the growth of new cells and tissue. This will help to improve the lining of the bladder. Some studies have also shown that hyaluronic acid can help increase the bladder wall's thickness. This can be beneficial for reducing sensitivity and pain in the bladder.
Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid for longevity and healthspan
Ageing is a normal process that happens as we grow older. It is characterised by reduced metabolic processes such as hormone secretion and more. Protein accumulation is also another driver of ageing in the body. As we age, the body accumulates damaged proteins that cause cellular damage that contribute to ageing.
Hyaluronic acid offers a way to reduce the harsh effects of ageing on our bodies. The acid contains acetyl-glucosamine, a substance proven to extend lifespan. Acetyl-glucosamine is one of the building blocks of hyaluronic acid. Research shows that it extends its longevity activity to us when we use hyaluronic acid products. It also combats protein accumulation, leading to a healthier lifespan.
What forms does Hyaluronic Acid come in?
The great thing about using hyaluronic acid is the variety that comes with it. Hyaluronic acid comes in various forms. These forms may also have various concentrations depending on the targeted action. The most common form is raw hyaluronic acid with a large molecular size.
Another common form is the salt form. Sodium hyaluronate is the synthesized salt form of the acid. It offers the same benefits as hyaluronic acid, except it has the ability to penetrate deeply into the skin due to its smaller molecular size.
High vs. Low Molecular Weigh Hyaluronic Acid
When used as an ingredient in skin care and medical treatments, HA can be divided into two categories based on its molecular weight: high molecular weight (HMW) and low molecular weight (LMW) hyaluronic acid.
HMW-HA has a larger molecular size. Its larger size implies that it forms a thicker layer on the skin's surface or within joints. It acts as a protective barrier on the skin surface, prevents moisture loss, and provides lubrication to joints. HMW-HA also has an anti-inflammatory effect
In contrast, LMW-HA has a smaller molecule size. This allows it to penetrate the skin to the skin and joints. LMW-HA also has a hydrating effect, which can help to plump up the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
While HMW-HA and LMW-HA have unique features, there is no best hyaluronic acid. They often work together to maximise their benefits. Some products contain both types of hyaluronic acid to maximise their benefits.
Who should use hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is generally considered safe. It is beneficial for a wide range of individuals and safe for all skin types. Here are some people who may particularly benefit from using hyaluronic acid:
People with dry skin: Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant. It can draw moisture from the air and hold it in dry skin. This is beneficial for people with dry, dehydrated skin. It proffers its benefits by plumping up the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Ageing skin: As we age, the amount of naturally occurring hyaluronic acid in our bodies tends to decrease. This can contribute to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin. A hyaluronic acid serum replenishes this loss and keeps your skin moisturised and youthful.
Joint pain or osteoarthritis conditions: Hyaluronic acid injections are prescribed for joint pain and osteoarthritis. HA can help to lubricate joints and reduce inflammation.
Those with acne-prone skin: Contrary to popular belief, hyaluronic acid is not oily or greasy. It won't clog pores or contribute to acne. It is beneficial for people with acne-prone skin. It helps to hydrate the skin without contributing to excess oil production.
While hyaluronic acid is generally safe and well-tolerated, it's always a good idea to patch-test a new product before using it all over your face or body. Additionally, if you have any concerns or questions about using hyaluronic acid, it's best to consult a board-certified dermatologist.
Does Hyaluronic Acid Have Any Side Effects to Note?
Hyaluronic acid is generally well-tolerated when applied to the skin topically or as in injection or oral form. However, there are a few potential side effects. Here are some side effects of hyaluronic acid;
Allergic reactions: While rare, some individuals may be allergic to hyaluronic acid. It is rare since hyaluronic acid is naturally produced in our bodies. Still, there was a case of allergy when HA was applied to the skin.
Skin irritation: In some cases, hyaluronic acid may cause mild skin irritation or redness, especially for individuals with sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, doing a patch test before applying HA products is advisable.
- Joint pain: While hyaluronic acid is one way of reducing joint pain, it can also cause pain as an adverse effect. According to research, joint pain is a possible side effect of using hyaluronic acid.
Dosage: How Much Hyaluronic Acid Should I Take?
The appropriate dosage of hyaluronic acid varies depending on the specific health concern being addressed and the form of HA being used. Here are some general dosage guidelines for different forms of HA:
Topical HA: For topical products such as serums, creams, and lotions, there are always instructions on the product label. In general, a pea-sized amount is typically sufficient for the face.
Oral HA: Oral supplements containing HA are available in pill or capsule form. Generally, most oral supplements recommend taking 90-120 mg of HA daily.
Injected HA: When used for joint pain or cosmetic purposes, HA is typically administered as injections by a board-certified dermatologist. The dosage also varies based on the conditions.
What Happens If I Take Too Much Hyaluronic Acid ?
As mentioned, Hyaluronic acid is safe and well-tolerated when used as directed. However, taking too much may lead to some potential side effects of Hyaluronic acid, such as:
Increased risk of infection
- Gastrointestinal upset