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Hyaluronic acid: everything you need to know

Hyaluronic acid: everything you need to know
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Hyaluronic acid in the body serves multiple functions, acting as a natural component that is essential for health. We explore where and how it works in the body.

Where hyaluronic acid is found in the body

About 50% of the body’s total hyaluronic acid found in the skin tissue. Hyaluronic acid is a key component in keeping skin looking plump and fighting the signs of aging, but naturally decreases as we age.

Hyaluronic acid is also found throughout the body, moisturizing and holding water in the different tissues, while transporting nutrients through the matrix structure.

The skin tissue
concentrates about50%of the body’s total
hyaluronic acid

It is more concentrated in certain areas such as the bones, cartilage, synovial fluid (which reduces friction between joints during movement), connective tissue, scalp tissue, skeletal tissue, hair follicles, lips, eyes, gum tissue and skin.

Hyaluronic acid acts as a cushioning and lubrication agent that is resistant to pressure for joints, nerves, hair, skin and eyes.

Biological properties of hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is naturally found within the body, and is invaluable for its hydrating capabilities, as it can retain up to 1,000 times its weight in water and is able to hold approximately 15 kg of water in the body.
It is classified as a glycosaminoglycan belonging to the polysaccharide family, which means that it is a sugar molecule that attracts water and moisture because of its specific structure.

How it functions in the skin

Hyaluronic acid is one of the chief components within the skin, allowing tissues to resist compression, which is achieved by counteracting the force of pressure with water. In addition, it also helps with the free movement of cells and their interactions, while keeping tissue hydrated. Hyaluronic acid is mostly distributed in the dermis, but can also be found in the epidermis, which is vital for the hydration of skin[1].

In addition, it also holds water for natural moisturizing factor molecules. It captures and maintains water in the skin and tissue regulation, while functioning like a sponge. Hyaluronic acid retains a reserve of water in the dermis to prevent the epidermis from drying out, while keeping the amount of water in the skin balanced[2].

Hyaluronic acid’s life cycle in the body

The human body is able to produce and renew hyaluronic acid, making approximately 3g of HA per day, accounting for one third of the total hyaluronic acid in the body being renewed daily. The average person has approximately 15 grams of hyaluronic acid in the body, which is distributed throughout all of the body’s tissue.

The average person
has approximately15 grof hyaluronic acid
in the body

One third of it is turned over (degraded and synthesized) every day, broken down in the presence of iron, and excreted via the liver to make space for a fresh supply.
In addition, hyaluronic acid is cleared from the epidermis and degraded rapidly during the desquamation process (referring to skin peeling), with a lifespan of less than a day in the skin.

The body’s ability to produce and renew hyaluronic acid declines with age[3]affected by hormone changes and the process of aging.

Incorporating external hyaluronic acid in the form of serums and creams into your skincare regime can help to replenish the decreased levels, while stimulating the natural synthesis of hyaluronic acid in the skin.
Studies suggest that skin is more hydrated and moisturized after the topical application of hyaluronic acid[4].

[1] Papakonstantinou, E. et al, 'Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging' in Dermato Endocrinology 4.3 (2012) pp. 253-258 [Accessible at:]

[2] Papakonstantinou, E. et al, 'Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging' in Dermato Endocrinology 4.3 (2012) pp. 253-258 [Accessible at:]
[3] Levin, J. et al, 'How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients?' in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology 3.2 (2010) pp.22-41 [Accessible at:]
[4] Jegasothy, S.M et al, 'Efficacy of a New Topical Nano-hyaluronic Acid in Humans' in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology 7.3 (2014) pp. 27-29 [Accessible at:]

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