Hyaluronic acid is a cosmetic ingredient that has long intrigued me. It first caught my interest when I learned it has outstanding moisturizing/hydration properties and is also produced naturally. The human body has a natural supply of hyaluronic acid (as do all mammals). It is part of the connective tissue beneath the top layer of skin along with collagen and elastin.
Hyaluroic acid is such a great hydrant because it has sponge-like qualities which allows it to hold 1000 times its weight in water. The result is well hydrated skin with a more plump, smooth appearance. Overtime, the body's production of hyaluronic acid begins to decline. The end effect is dull, dry skin that begins to show signs of fine lines and wrinkles. In today's society, women over thirty are on a quest to look ten years younger. Enter hyaluronic acid in anti-aging serums, cellulite creams, skin and lip plumpers, and even skin injections (similar to BOTOX). It can also be introduced in food or as an oral supplement.
Used topically, hyaluronic acid is said to act as a 'protective film' to trap moisture and reduce/prevent evaporation over time. It is not a permanent solution because the molecules are much too large to be absorbed by the skin. In essence, as soon as you bathe, you wash away the desired properties. This is typical of most topical applications which is why you must continue to use a product for 'lasting' results.
One of my concerns about this ingredient is how it is obtained. Because hyaluronic acid is only produced by mammals, you could imagine how many vegans and animal rights activists oppose its use. I was not yet able to pinpoint the exact method of extracting hyaluronic acid from animals, nor am I knowledgeable on what animals are typically used. I did however find a study (research) conducted by a team of japanese scientists that were looking for a way to promote hyaluronic acid synthesis. In other words they wanted to try to force the skin to produce more hyaluronic acid to counter the natural affects of aging. They were successful in making a cosmetic with egg white enzyme hydrolysate (from chicken eggs) that was deemed very safe in its use. I look forward to learning about further advancements in this science.
Learn more about the japanese study