It seems like there are new skincare fads popping up daily and the latest trend is hyaluronic acid. You may have heard about it but have found yourself unsure as to what it is and what it’s used for. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about hyaluronic acid.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a substance that occurs naturally in our bodies. It is found in its highest concentrations within the fluids in our joints and eyes. Also known as hyaluronan or hyaluronate, HA binds to water to lubricate the movable parts of the body and creates a moisturizing effect when used on the skin.
What is it used for?
HA is used as a lip filler in plastic surgery to create fuller, plumper and youthful looking lips. It is also used during eye surgeries such as cataract removal and corneal transplantation; to repair detached retina, and to replace the natural fluids that are lost during the procedure. HA can be applied to the skin to promote healing from burns, ulcers and other wounds. It can be used as a topical moisturizer, helping the skin retain its natural lubrication. Finally, HA can be injected into joints to provide cushioning and pain relief from joint disorders like osteoarthritis.
Where does the medicinal and skincare version of HA come from?
The version of hyaluronic acid that is used on skin or medicinally is created from bacteria in a lab or extracted from rooster combs. Combs are the fleshy red crown-like growths that lie on the top of the head in roosters and other ground-feeding birds such as turkeys, pheasants and chickens.
How does hyaluronic acid work?
Hyaluronic acid acts as a cushion for the joints and tissues in the body. By forming a natural lubricant, hyaluronic acid keeps our joints and tissues hydrated and helps our bodies respond to injuries. As we age, the amount of hyaluronic acid found in our bodies lessens and injury response slows down. When HA is reintroduced into the body, it restores the natural healing process and adds lubricating properties the joints and tissues.
When was HA discovered?
Hungarian inventor Endre Balazs applied for a patent in 1942 to use hyaluronic acid as a substitute for egg whites in baking products. Since then, Balazs became the foremost expert in HA and his work lead to using hyaluronic acid the way it is used today to promote joint lubrication and healing.
Hyaluronic acid is safe when taken orally, injected or applied directly to the skin. It is not known to cause allergic reactions and, unless you are pregnant or breastfeeding, most are able to use it without negative outcomes.
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