Hyaluronic Acid - The Amazing Skin Plumper
We have plenty of it when we're born. Hyaluronic Acid (INCI: sodium hyaluronate) is actually native to the skin – being one of the main components of the extracellular skin matrix and a significant contributor of cell growth. It is also found in the connective tissue of many parts of the body, where it performs cushioning and lubricating functions. In the skin, hyaluronic acid's job is to give volume and fullness.
Why it's So SpecialHyaluronic acid (also called hyaluronan or hyaluronate) has the ability to retain water – much like a sponge. Not just a little, mind you: it goes above and beyond, happily carrying up to a thousand times its own weight, making it a superb skin humectant.
Because of this amazing quality, hyaluronic acid plays a vital role in tissue hydration and moisturization. It's quite simply the ultimate skin plumper! It increases skin smoothness, softens and decreases wrinkles, and even protects cell structure – defending it against bacterial attacks.
No wonder hyaluronic acid is often nicknamed the fountain of youth.
What's in a Name (Like Restylane)
In 2003, the FDA approved hyaluronan injections for 'filling soft tissue defects such as facial wrinkles'. Ever seen an ad for Restylane? That's just one common trade name for hyaluronic acid.
Where Does it Come From?
Hyaluronic acid does not occur naturally in the plant world. It is produced in the body processes of animals. One of the more plentiful (and common) sources of hyaluronic acid is rooster combs. Another common source is animal cartilage. As I have mentioned earlier, the INCI name on an ingredients label will never reveal the source of an ingredient – only its name. Therefore, if you want to be sure you aren't slathering yourself in (or being injected with) rooster comb or animal cartilage, you need to ask the producer of the product you are using where their hyaluronic acid is sourced.