The power of hyaluronic acid beyond skin hydration

Hyaluronic acid is one of the hit ingredients for skincare - but if you think you know all about it, OneSkin will show you how it can offer way more than meets the eye!

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 101 - What is hyaluronic acid (HA) and why is it used in so many skincare products?

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!

But what more does HA have to offer? 

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.

The fall and rise of HA 

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

1. Reed, R. K., Lilja, K. & Laurent, T. C. Hyaluronan in the rat with special reference to the skin. Acta Physiol. Scand. 134, 405-411 (1988).
2. Dahiya, P. & Kamal, R. Hyaluronic Acid: a boon in periodontal therapy. N. Am. J. Med. Sci. 5, 309-315 (2013).
3. Bohaumilitzky, L. et al. A Trickster in Disguise: Hyaluronan's Ambivalent Roles in the Matrix. Front. Oncol. 7, (2017).
4. Lewis, K. N. & Buffenstein, R. Cytoprotection and cancer resistance in the longest-lived rodent, the naked mole-rat. Experimental Gerontology 48, 697 (2013).

OneSkin Team

OneSkin Team

By being able to reprogram the "code of life", we will create new ways of living, and new ways of growing older. OneSkin is developing solutions to enable people to age better, healthier, and with better quality of life. Our mission is to promote people's access to effective anti-aging products, so they can feel and age at their best.

Jul 03, 2019

More Posts

How does aging work?  Image

How does aging work?

Feb 12, 2019

Overview of Aging  What is aging and can we reverse it? What causes aging? What roles do stem cells play in aging? We can hate it or embrace it, but... more about "How does aging work? "

How Lifestyle Can Affect Skin Health (Part 1) Image

How Lifestyle Can Affect Skin Health (Part 1)

Mar 26, 2019

Overview of Lifestyle Habits on Aging Role of skin on your health The effects of sun exposure and smoking on skin health Why your skin wants you to eat well and... more about "How Lifestyle Can Affect Skin Health (Part 1)"

So why are we creating a blog? Image

So why are we creating a blog?

Jan 28, 2019

Who are we? OneSkin is a biotech startup, based out of San Francisco, with a mission to build a future in which we can age healthier and better! We are harnessing the most advanced tools in... more about "So why are we creating a blog?"