The importance of hyaluronic acid in cosmetics
Hyaluronic acid is one of the key compounds that gives the skin its structure, suppleness and plump appearance. However, not all sources of hyaluronic acid are equal.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid or hyaluronan is a natural molecule found in connective and neuronal tissues as well as in the skin. Fifty percent of the hyaluronic acid found in the body is in the skin. This molecule belongs to the family of glycosaminoglycans, long chains of polysaccharides, composed of simple sugars units.
Its unique, highly hydrophilic molecular structure allows hyaluronic acid to retain the impressive amount of a thousand times its weight in water.
The best sources of hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid present in cosmetics can come from natural or synthetic sources. The importance is not so much the source but rather the molecular weight. Indeed, small molecules of low molecular weight are better absorbed. However, it has been shown (Skin Research and Technology. 2015) that variable sizes among low molecular weights have specific effects.
Small molecules tend to decrease the depth of wrinkles and improve hydration, while slightly larger molecules will stay more on the surface of the skin and play a role in reducing transepidermal water loss. This is why we have included 3 sizes of hyaluronic acid in our anti-aging serum, for optimal results in terms of wrinkles reduction and hydration.
Hyaluronic acid ‘s effects on the skin
Hyaluronic acid is used in cosmetics in the form of sodium hyaluronate. It is known to reduce the volume of wrinkles and fine lines. These effects are linked to its intrinsic elasticity and its hydrophilic properties which play an important role in the hydration of the dermis and epidermis. It also reduces redness and dermatitis or inflammation of the skin; one example of which is eczema. Finally, it plays a regenerative role. Indeed, its concentration increases during skin lesions.
Beyond its simple filler function, it is involved in the generation of signals inducing the body to produce more capillaries in damaged areas. It also stimulates the expression of genes involved in the differentiation of keratinocytes, cells of the skin epidermis, and thus contributes to its renewal. It also induces the formation of cell junctions, responsible for dermis firmness.
Lifestyle for an optimized effect
Research has shown that hyaluronic acid is also absorbed when taken orally; once again low molecular weight molecules yield better results (Journal of Clincical Biochemistry and Nutrition. 2015). The consumption of food supplements containing from 50mg of hyaluronan has clear benefits on wrinkle reduction. It is important to note that the skin, occupying an area of around 2m2, is the largest organ of the body and must be considered as a functional unit of the latter.
An exhaustive approach going beyond cosmetics is therefore essential. Good hydration plays a synergistic role with topical application or consumption of hyaluronic acid, because it gives this molecule its regenerative potential largely drawn from water.
Find all of our tips to keep your skin hydrated in our article.