Hyaluronic Acid: Fountain of Youth?
What gives skin the volume to make it look healthy and young? What acts as a lubricating fluid in our joints and eyes? Hyaluronic acid (HA) does both. It’s a kind of amino polymer naturally present in our body, a building block for collagen. Howeve
r, our body’s ability to produce HA diminishes as we age.
When HA was successfully extracted from rooster comb, a lot of interest in its anti-aging use began. In fact, HA has been promoted as a “fountain of youth. ” Now, it is commercially produced by synthetic process or by natural fermentation.
Certain injectable brands were approved by USFDA as dermal filler, to fill up lines and wrinkles, and to plump up lips. For osteoarthritis, it is injected in joints to replace lost lubricating fluids. It is
also used during removal of eye cataract to help replace natural fluids. The effect of injectable HA typically lasts for 6 months or so.
With its ability to attract water, HA is the favored moisturizing ingredient in high-end skin care products. Well, only in high-end products simply because it is so expensive. It has been noted that it also helps in healing skin with burns, wounds, or ulcers.
For anti-aging skin care, the challenge is how to improve skin penetration of HA, thus improving its efficacy. HA is a polymer that repeats itself, creating a very long chain molecule. Big molecules will just stay on top of the skin, with limited anti-aging benefits when used in creams and serum.
The breakthrough solution:control the polymer size. That paved the way for the development of the new HA with low molecular weight (LMW) that can work from within to smoothen out fine lines. The LMW grades come in different sizes, with increasing effectiveness as molecular size decreases.
HYAL-C serum from SkinStation is an excellent example of a product with the new LMW hyaluronic acid. It contains nano-sized hyaluronic acid, the LMW grade with the smallest molecules. The nano-grade can go deep into the dermal layer of the skin where hyaluronic acid is needed most.
The name HYAL stands for hyaluronic acid, while C refers to vitamin C,a popular anti-aging and lightening ingredient, also present at high levels in the serum. HYAL-C serum is a consistent best seller, loved for its instant lifting effect. It might just be the“fountain of youth” you have been looking for.
How about HA as a food supplement? Say, for joint pains? So far, results from clinical studies on oral HA supplements have not been
encouraging. Orally taken HA do not simply migrate into the affected joints. However, there are suggestions that the new LMW grades may yet provide positive results.
The author is the CEO of SkinStation. He received the 2011 Outstanding Chemist Award from Professional Regulations Commission for his achievements in the field of cosmetic chemistry. He can be reached at