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 Hyaluronic Acid is 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 Hyaluronic Acid 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 supplier where their hyaluronic acid is sourced.
A Greener VersionIn 2009, a Japanese production method that utilizes plant cells was granted a US patent, opening new avenues of production.
My supplier informs me that the hyaluronic acid I buy from them is made by 'producing enzymes from a bacteria-based biofermentation process' and that it is 100% animal free.
Does it work as well as 'the animal stuff'?
In a word: yes.
Because hyaluronic acid is both colorless and odorless, it is an easy-to-work-with active ingredient that can be added 'to order' in any lotion, cream, or other water-based product I do.
LisaLise Products with Hyaluronic Acid
I have worked with it in face and body products of all types, and find it an efficient 'plumper'.