Today I was graced with a question that made me incredibly happy: “What exactly is Hyaluronic Acid and what does it do?” Unfortunately that question was asked because this person had overheard someone explain it completely incorrect to someone else then sell them products based on that false information. So I’ll set the record straight! What is this shit!
So what is it? Hyaluronic Acid, in short, is a complex sugar. In long, it’s a glycosaminoglycan or humectant that helps transport nutrients through the body and facilitate water retention in body tissue. It is found throughout our body; in joints, eyes, the immune system as well as many other places. This means it is naturally found in the body and so our body will recognize it and allow it to work properly. What’s a humectant though? A humectant is a substance that retains or preserves moisture. This word is commonly used in the esthetic world and is a happy substance that we all grow to love =] (yay humectants!)
Let me break it down into easier words so that it’s a lot easier to picture, not that I’m saying you guys don’t get it, but sometimes it’s just fun for me to do this for myself for when I’m having an off day….. Mhmm… So I don’t know about you but when I think acid, I think burn my face off. Fortunately that isn’t true. Picture hyaluronic acid as this little guy, we’ll call him Hal. So Hal is this super complex guy, he’s a good sugar! Hal likes to hang out in different spots of our body and lubricate everything that needs lubricating.. He’s your personal lube guy, sloppin’ up your eyes and joints and immune system. Scientists love Hal so much that they decide to clone Hal in a lab, making him literally identical to the original Hal, and want to use him in all sorts of products to help with lubing up our outsides as well as our insides.
Anyways, back to the real shit. What does this crazy sugar crap do? Well hyaluronic acid is found in many serums and moisturizers because of its humectant properties. Well, hyaluronic acid’s molecules are actually too large to soak into the skin themselves so they sit on the surface of our skin when applied. These molecules attract hydration both from the product applied to the skin or hydration from the environment to sit on the skin too and to absorb easily. This keeps the skin really hydrated as well as protected.
So far this sounds all fine and dandy for people with mature or dehydrated skin, but what about those who get breakouts and find their skin is oily? Well, the protection aspect of hyaluronic acid helps with breakouts which is just peachy. But that’s not all, oh no it isn’t all. Don’t you worry little birds, I’m going to feed you… Hyaluronic acid is anti-inflammatory and therefore very soothing for the skin, as well as healing.
Hyaluronic Acid isn’t just used in products though, it’s also used in most injectable fillers! This is because the body doesn’t find it to be a foreign substance, it recognizes it and accepts it into the skin. Topically it is a lot of help, however because it doesn’t penetrate you will get better results from filler injections – not everybody’s cup of tea but it’s da truth!
Want to know something interesting? Hyaluronic acid is completely identical in all species! Before being created in labs, hyaluronic acid was extracted from a rooster for use in products and procedures.
Anyways, that’s all I have to say for now. If you have any questions let me know!