You may already know that HA is one of the best hydrators for your skin. Hyaluronic acid (or simply, HA) is one of the most common ingredients for skincare, and, lately, new light has been shed on the benefits it can offer for your skin. In this post, you will learn more about all the potentialities of this ingredient, and how the benefits to your skin may go way beyond skin hydration. So pick your wish list and let's check whether HA will help you achieve perfect skin!
HA is a polysaccharide, which is ultimately a type of sugar, like cellulose or glucose. It is naturally produced in our bodies, and it is estimated that adult humans contain about 12-15 g of HA, mostly concentrated in the skin (1). Other sites in which it can be found include the brain, lungs, joints and intervertebral disks.
HA has remarkable physical and biological properties. In the skincare field, the most acclaimed property of HA is its highly hygroscopic nature (i.e. it attracts and holds water molecules from its surroundings), with 1g of HA being able to retain 6 liters of water (2)! Because of such remarkable capacity to retain water, it has viscoelasticity which is perfect to work as a lubricant (in joints, for instance), and, of course, to maintain skin tonus and hydration (3). So it's clearly an exciting ingredient for skincare!
Since the first discoveries that HA has hydrating effects, the possibilities around this molecule have significantly increased. For instance, a very solid link between HA and aging has been established in several species, not just humans. Very anecdotally, such relationship was shown in an exceptionally long-lived rodent (ten times longer than similarly sized rodents), the naked mole-rat.
We know this rat is very far from being pretty, but it lives 10 times as long as other rodent species (with similar size) and is also very resistant to cancer (4).
Interestingly, one of the explanations for such superpowers of the naked mole-rat is the production of a high amount of HA (combined with a low degradation rate), compared to other species (3). For instance, while humans experience a very significant decrease in the HA content of the skin starting at birth, the naked mole-rat takes about 25 years to show a significant reduction in the body and skin HA (3).
Good for the naked mole-rat, because the presence of HA maintains tissue hydration and supports homeostasis for long periods. Do you want to know how? First, the presence of HA prevents early cellular senescence, thus delaying aging (3). Second, the high abundance of big molecules of HA in the surrounding of cells (and the naked mole-rat produces some massive HA molecules) signals that the cells should not proliferate (3), preventing cancerous cell proliferation.
As mentioned above, even though HA is continuously produced and degraded in our bodies, the total HA content in our body decreases with aging. In this sense, it was described that the HA level rapidly increases during early development (fetal stages), followed by a continuous decrease over a lifetime. This is because the production of HA is lower during aging, but also because many environmental and lifestyle aspects contribute to the decline in HA content in our body (not only in the skin). For instance, one of the most common environmental factors that contribute to HA loss in the skin is chronic UVB irradiation. Oxidative stress is also a villain in this scenario, because it promotes the degradation of HA in an awful way, leading to an exceptionally high inflammatory process, which is horrible for our skin and body (3). Therefore, the combination of exogenous HA with antioxidant ingredients is a lovely duo for your skin!
We're sure you've seen plenty of products out there which offer you this extra amount of HA, many even containing a combination with antioxidant ingredients (e.g. vitamin C). The possibility of getting some extra HA from skincare products seems appealing, and we agree that this extra help is super nice for our skin! But, the bad news is that your skin becomes dependent on these ingredients, and once you stop use, very soon the benefits simply disappear, since you continue degrading more HA than you produce.
As we mentioned before, HA is produced by our tissues over our whole lives. So do we really need extra HA in our skin and body, or do we just need to accumulate more HA naturally?
As you may have already noticed, OneSkin, as longevity company (starting with your skin), wants to bring you holistic, complete solutions for your skin and body. In this sense, we want your skin to BE younger, and not just appear more youthful. We defend that the best products for your skin will work by promoting youth from the inside out (as so many companies claim, but so few of them deliver). Therefore, we make sure to add ingredients that will stimulate HA production from your own skin, and this will ultimately result in the accumulation of HA not just because of exogenous HA (which we will also include in our formula!). Then, as the old saying goes, we are not only giving you the fish but we are also teaching your tissue how to fish. Isn't this cool?
If you agree with our concept, join us in the mission to fight aging! Leave your comments below and your email in the upright subscription box!
By: Juliana Lott de Carvalho
Apr 16, 2019
Last time we talked about the two biggest and most obvious culprits against skin health and came to two very familiar conclusions: wear sunscreen and don't smoke. This post will discuss some more... more about "How Lifestyle Can Affect Skin Health (Part 2)"