Updated: Apr 23, 2020
What is Hyaluronic Acid? Hyaluronic Acid (HA), also known as hyaluronan or hyaluronate, is a carbohydrate, more specifically a mucopolysaccharide occurring naturally throughout the human body. It can be several thousands of sugars (carbohydrates) long. When not bound to other molecules, it binds to water giving it a stiff viscous quality similar to "Jello". This viscous Gel is one of the most heavily researched substances in medicine today with thousands of trials mostly in the fields of orthopaedics and eye surgery. Its function in the body is, amongst other things, to bind water and to lubricate movable parts of the body, such as joints and muscles. Its consistency and tissue-friendliness allow it to be beneficial in skin-care products as an excellent moisturizer. Because HA is one of the most hydrophilic (water-loving) molecules in nature with numerous benefits for the human body it can be described as "nature's moisturizer.
Hyaluronic Acid Benefits for the Body? If we compare the joints of the human body to an automobile engine, the joint fluid in the body mimics the oil in a car engine. At regular intervals, we replace the oil in our car engines because of the heat and friction breakdowns the viscosity of the oil. The oil becomes thinner and less able to protect the metal surfaces from excessive wear. Hyaluronic acid benefits our joints in the same way. As we age the viscosity of the joint fluid lessens. HA helps to maintain normal joint cushioning.
Scalp Tissue and Hair Follicles Structurally the scalp is identical to the skin tissue located throughout the body except it also contains about 100,000 hair follicles that give rise to hair. Actually, the hair and the hair follicle are a derivative of skin tissue. There are two distinctive skin layers, one, the epidermis (outer layer) which gives rise to the protective shield of the body and the other, the dermal layer (deep layer) which makes up the bulk of the skin and is where the hair follicle is located. This dermal layer is composed of connective tissue and the connective tissue, with its gelatinous fluid like characteristics provides support, nourishes and hydrates the deep layers of the scalp. The result is healthy lustrous hair and a moisturized scalp. Again, all of this is made possible because of the presence of HA in the scalp.
Lips The lips are a core of skeletal muscle covered by skin tissue. The dermal layer of the lips is composed primarily of connective tissue and its components hyaluronic acid and collagen that give the structure (shape) and plumpness to the lips. The HA binds to water creating a gelatinous fluid that hydrates the surrounding tissue and keeps the collagen (responsible for keeping the skin tight) nourished and healthy. The result is healthy well hydrated and plump lips that are well protected from the environment.
Eyes Haluronic acid is highly concentrated inside the eyeball. The fluid inside the eye called the vitreous humor is composed almost completely of hyaluronic acid. The HA gives the fluid inside the eye a viscous gel like property. This gel acts as a shock absorber for the eye and also serves to transport nutrients into the eye. HA has been directly injected into the eye during procedures to help maintain the shape of the eye during surgery. It has been said that after the 5th decade of life, our eyes stop producing the much needed hyaluronic acid resulting in various eye needs.
Skin Although Hyaluronic Acid (HA) can be found naturally in most every cell in the body, it is found in the greatest concentrations in the skin tissue. Almost 50% of the bodies HA is found here. It is found in both the deep underlying dermal areas as well as the visible epidermal top layers. Young skin is smooth and elastic and contains large amounts of HA that helps keep the skin stay young and healthy. The HA provides continuous moisture to the skin by binding up to 1000 times its weight in water. With age, the ability of the skin to produce HA decreases. Hyaluronic acid acts as a space filler by binding to water and thus keeping the skin wrinkle-free
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“Because HA is one of the most hydrophilic (water-loving) molecules in nature with numerous benefits for the human body it can be described as 'nature's moisturizer'.”
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