Hyaluronic Acid - What is it?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a natural glycosaminoglycan found throughout the connective tissue of the body. Glycosaminoglycans are simply long-standing carbohydrates or sugars called polysaccharides.
HA is a key component of what gives your skin structure, and is responsible for that soft and hydrated look. You may have heard the whistle about collagen, but hyaluronic acid is where it is.
When you’re worried about aging, it’s time to talk about hyaluronic acid, its benefits to our skin, and why the molecular weight of an ingredient is important! It plays a key role in the wound healing process and decreases with aging, making us more prone to wounds and wrinkles.
Read on and learn about the science of hyaluronic acid to see that HA is not just an ingredient in bowel movements, but also a staple of your skin care routine.
What are the benefits of hyaluronic acid?
- moisturizes the skin
- wound healing
- face from wrinkles
- increases skin elasticity
- Redness of the face
Why is hyaluronic acid so miraculous? For starters, hyaluronic acid can bind up to 1000 times more weight than water! In other words, it acts as a moisturizer and traps water molecules on the surface of your skin to keep it pleasant and hydrated.
Whenever we talk about well-moisturized skin, we are mostly talking about skin that is high in water. You may have heard the term “transepidermal water loss“? It is a scientific term to measure how much water evaporates from the skin.
When the product protects against TVN, it means it will keep your skin hydrated, making sure water doesn’t get out of your skin’s surface. Hyaluronic acid does just that by slowing down the rate of water evaporation.
In addition to being a very effective moisturizer, several studies have also found that it can be beneficial for wounds as well.
Are there any side effects of hyaluronic acid?
If you formulate your products or buy HA products that contain a percentage, we recommend keeping the HA concentration below 2 percent. Why?
The very low, 5 kDa HA molecular weight property can penetrate the skin, which means it can carry other unwanted ingredients, chemicals and bacteria deeper into the skin. If you have skin lesions, this can be bad news. Fortunately, HA is not usually prone to allergic reactions, as our bodies do.
Fortunately, cosmetic chemists don’t have this science, so we can put aside our knowledge and what people are saying about certain HA products. But if you’re shaping your HA sera, be aware that not all hyaluronic acids are equal.
This holy grail of hydration can have unintentional side effects. Some types of HA are somewhat controversial, and their elevated levels are actually associated with inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis.
One study found that HA application slowed wound healing compared to pure glycerin. This may have been due to the concentration and molecular weight of hyaluronic acid.
The science lies behind hyaluronic acid
The benefits of hyaluronic acid to the skin are related to its molecular weight and concentration. In this case, size matters! Molecular weight refers to its mass or the size of the HA molecule. This is measured by what are called uniform units of atomic mass - daltons or kDa for short.
Based on the latest people research, 50 to 1 kDa HA is most beneficial for the skin, and about 000 kDa is best. Anything higher will not change too much. Anything below can cause inflammation.
How did we get this number? If you look at the research you will see the model, but in one of the most comprehensive research HA with different molecular weights, including 50, 130, 300, 800, and 2 kDa, was studied.
A month later, they found that the most effective treatment for 130 kDa HA was an increase in skin elasticity of 20 percent. In both the 50 and 130 kDa groups, wrinkle depth and skin roughness improved markedly after 60 days. All other molecular weights further improved elasticity and skin hydration.
What products should you use?
There are skin care products that eliminate all guesswork for you by combining different HA molecules to work as effectively as possible.
HA ingredients to look out for:
- hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid
- sodium acetyl hyaluronate
- sodium hyaluronate