THE BENEFITS OF HYALURONIC ACID: NATURE'S MIRACLE MOISTURIZER
- Hyaluronic Acid is also commonly referred to as 'Hyaluronan', 'Sodium Hyaluronate', or simply 'HA'.
- Initial research on this natural biopolymer was spurred by potential medical applications; it subsequently entered the cosmetics and beauty scene in the 1980s.
- Hyaluronic Acid can be found naturally throughout the human body, particularly within the skin's dermis. Its ability to bind with enormous amounts of water makes it a powerful natural inner moisturizer.
- NDA's Hyaluronic Acid products comprise of low molecular weight HA, which can penetrate the skin's surface and increase hydration for longer and at a deeper level, promoting a smoother, plumper, and more radiant appearance.
- Hyaluronic Acid creams or moisturizers may be preferred to serums as they already contain occlusive agents that help seal the hydrating effects of HA.
Hyaluronic Acid - also known as 'Hyaluronan' or 'HA' - has catapulted into beauty stardom in recent years. Now one of the most popular ingredients in the eyes of consumers, it is known for its excellent water-binding abilities that can boost skin hydration levels with immediate cosmetic effects.
But what exactly is this mysterious substance, and how can we get the most of it in our skincare routines? In this article, we'll explore the history of how this iconic ingredient was discovered, what it does to our skin, and how we can effectively maximize its benefits in our beauty regimens.
HISTORY OF HYALURONIC ACID
Hyaluronic Acid was initially discovered by biochemists Karl Meyer and John Palmer at Columbia University in 1932. While examining the eyeballs of cows, they identified a transparent, jelly-like matter that they theorized helped the eye maintain its structure and shape. They coined the then-unknown substance 'Hyaluronic Acid', from the words 'hyaloid' (meaning 'glassy') and 'uronic acid' (a type of sugar acid).
A decade later, Endre Balazs, a scientist, and an inventor from Hungary, successfully isolated this jelly-substance from the comb-like extensions on roosters' heads. Motivated by possible medical uses, he spent years of research developing the ideas and processes to bring these applications into fruition. In the late 1980s, he devised the term 'Hyaluronan', to reflect the nature of the molecule as both a salt and an acid.
At present, Hyaluronic Acid boasts a vast landscape of applications, having been first successfully implemented to treat horses and animals, and later on, in human eye surgery. More notably, since the 1980s and then the 2000s, there has been an explosion of Hyaluronic Acid applications in the beauty and cosmetic industry, with the ingredient being applied worldwide in various innovative cosmetic products and procedures.
WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID?
Hyaluronic Acid is a mucopolysaccharide - in other words, it is a molecule composed of repeating disaccharides, or sugar units. This sugary, colorless fluid is naturally found in several regions of the body, including the joints, bones, muscles, eyes, and skin. One of its primary functions is to support, cushion, frame, protect, or lubricate structures within the body. In the joints, for example, it is a component of the slippery fluid that fills the space between two connecting bones, facilitating pain-free movement. In the eyes, it is a component of vitreous humor (a gel-like liquid found within the eye chamber), supporting the integrity of its shape.
The skin, however, is where most of the body's Hyaluronic Acid can be found. Almost 50% of the body's entire composition of HA is located within the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the dermis, as well as the more superficial epidermis. HA in the skin has a plethora of important uses, including regulating hydration, shielding against free radicals, promoting wound healing, and supporting the shape of the skin's infrastructure.
Hyaluronic Acid's ability to attract a tremendous amount of water makes it the skin's powerful natural inner moisturizer - indeed, it is often quoted that the molecule has the ability to hold a 1,000 times its weight in water! Cosmetically, this translates into soft, hydrated skin that looks firm, plump, glowy, and youthful.
HYALURONIC ACID IN SKINCARE & COSMETICS
Hyaluronic Acid can be found as an ingredient in a massive range of cosmetics, including skincare products (e.g. moisturizers, serums, masks, and soaps) and even makeup (e.g. eye shadows, lipsticks, and powders). It is also a popular ingredient used in injectable facial fillers.
One of the main reasons for HA's popularity in skincare and cosmetics is that it is extremely skin-friendly. Because it is so readily available in our own bodies, it is unlikely to cause any irritation or adverse reactions and can be used on any skin type. As HA is non-comedogenic, it is also suitable for those with acne or oily skin.
How Hyaluronic Acid Benefits The Skin
When used topically, Hyaluronic Acid acts as a potent humectant, suctioning moisture from the environment, much like a vacuum rapidly sucking in air. By binding with water molecules, it moisturizes and boosts hydration, causing the skin to look smooth, refreshed, and dewy. When used together with occlusive ingredients, it also reduces transepidermal water loss (TEWL), or the gradual evaporation of moisture from the skin. In other words, HA can be a powerful agent in attracting moisture to the skin and trapping it in, thereby increasing and maintaining healthy hydration levels.
One of the other well-known effects of Hyaluronic Acid is the improvement in the topical appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other visible signs of aging. A common sign of aging is the appearance of dull, dry, rough skin that is also lacking in volume. One of the reasons behind this is the gradual loss of our skin's ability to maintain moisture and regulate hydration levels; the production of HA within the epidermis, in particular, is thought to decrease significantly. Dry skin is one of the major causes of the superficial signs of skin aging. While the topical application of HA cannot 'erase' wrinkles, it can boost hydration levels effectively and drastically, which helps to fill in the look of fine lines and loss of volume and actually make the skin look softer and younger.
Labels Used On Hyaluronic Acid Skin Care Products
It is important to know that cosmetic companies use the label 'Hyaluronic Acid' as a blanket term for both Hyaluronic Acid (in its original state) as well as Sodium Hyaluronate (the salt form of HA). While both may be formulated into skincare products with hydrating benefits, each of these has different impacts on the skin and are suited for different cosmetic purposes.
Hyaluronic Acid can come in multiple molecular sizes. Typically, this is simplified into just two forms: high molecular weight HA and low molecular weight HA. NDA's Hyaluronic Acid products are formulated with Sodium Hyaluronate, a low molecular weight HA that is functionally superior: it is more stable, more resistant to oxidation, and, because it can better penetrate the skin's deeper layers, it can give rise to more dramatic moisturizing and anti-aging results.
- High molecular weight HA (including HA in its original form) is comprised of larger, chunkier molecules. As they can't enter the deeper layers of the skin, they settle at the top, building and boosting hydration on the surface. Topically, high molecular weight HA is good at moisturizing the skin's surface but its effects are not as intensive and do not last a very long time.
- Low molecular weight HA (including Sodium Hyaluronate), on the other hand, is made up of much smaller molecules that can penetrate through the skin's surface and increase hydration for longer and at a deeper level. Not only is it good at moisturizing the surface levels of the skin, but the additional boost of moisture within the skin's deeper connective tissue also helps to firm up and plump the skin, diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
In other words, for those looking for more intensive and lasting results, products formulated with low molecular weight HA such as Sodium Hyaluronate can often be a better choice.
Where Does The Hyaluronic Acid Come From?
For commercial applications, Hyaluronic Acid can be extracted from animal derivatives (namely, rooster combs), or non-animal sources (normally through biofermentation). All of NDA's Hyaluronic Acid products are made from the biofermentation of 100% natural and non-GMO plant resources. Here, the raw material undergoes a fermentation process that transforms sugars into alcohol, which in turn undergoes further processing to extract the natural HA fluid.
HOW TO INCORPORATE HYALURONIC ACID INTO YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE
Hyaluronic Acid products can be used by all skin types, and are particularly suited for those with dry or mature skin. It is also a perfect skin booster for those who do a lot of traveling or are exposed to very dry climates.
Here are some tips to make the most of HA in your beauty regimen:
- Hyaluronic Acid creams or moisturizers are a great starting point because they already contain occlusive agents (such as natural butter, oils, and vegetable waxes) that help seal the hydrating effects of HA.
- If you're using a Hyaluronic Acid serum, be sure to use it in combination with an occlusive ingredient to seal in moisture. Using HA serums without an occlusive can lead to further drying out of the skin, especially if you live in a very arid climate.
- Make sure you know whether the product you are using incorporates low or high molecular weight HA. Some brands do not declare to consumers which form they are using; if the information is not available on the product label or website, you can ask the manufacturer.
- Incorporate Hyaluronic Acid daily into your skincare routine. It can be used either morning or night (or both!).
- Be sure to assess the ingredients list in your Hyaluronic Acid product. While HA in itself is not likely to cause any irritation, other ingredients that may be included in the formula, such as synthetic fragrances and glycols, could cause adverse reactions.
- Maximize the benefits of Hyaluronic Acid in your beauty routine by being mindful of other factors affecting skin health, especially by using sunscreen and avoiding smoking.
A GUIDE TO NDA'S HYALURONIC ACID PRODUCTS
Formulated with low molecular weight Sodium Hyaluronate, this luxurious face cream also features antioxidant-rich ingredients Shea Butter, Tucuma Butter, and Green Tea Extract for long-lasting and intensive hydration with skin-protectant benefits. The combination of HA and natural occlusives results in soft, silky skin accompanied by a glowing complexion, along with a diminished appearance of fine lines and loss of volume. Our formulation is free of parabens, synthetic fragrances, and mineral oils. Our Sodium Hyaluronate is also free of animal derivatives and is sourced purely from the biofermentation of non-GMO plant resources.
A natural white powder sourced from the biofermentation of non-GMO plant resources, NDA's Sodium Hyaluronate is a low molecular weight HA ideal for cosmetic formulators interested in promoting the appearance of refreshed, hydrated, and rejuvenated skin. It can be used in various formulations, including face washes, creams, lotions, as well as hair care products. For more information and ideas, we invite you to check out our previous blog posts on skincare and haircare.
HYALURONIC ACID SIDE EFFECTS
As with all other New Directions Aromatics products, Hyaluronic Acid skincare products and Sodium Hyaluronate raw material are for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this product for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women, as well as those with sensitive skin, are especially advised not to use Hyaluronic Acid skincare products and Sodium Hyaluronate raw material without the medical advice of a physician.
Hyaluronic Acid skincare products and Sodium Hyaluronate raw material are not recommended for those under the age of 20. Products should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.
Prior to using Hyaluronic Acid skincare products and Sodium Hyaluronate raw material, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by applying a small amount of your preferred HA skincare product to the inside of your wrist. To test sensitivity to the Sodium Hyaluronate raw material, dissolve 0.5 tsp of the powder in 15 ml of water and apply a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Sodium Hyaluronate raw material must never be used near the inner nose and ears or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin.
In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.
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