Hyaluronic Acid is a natural constituent of skin and has the remarkable ability to hold nearly one thousand times its weight in water. Thatís how Hyaluronic Acid contributes to the thickness of skin: it doesnít build like collagen, it inflates with water.
Hyaluronic Acid is also known as sodium hyaluronate and is a macromolecule officially classified in the chemical group known as a glycosaminoglycan. Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid are, interestingly enough, both produced by the same dermal skin cells called fibroblasts. Born of the same mother cell, both collagen and Hyaluronic Acid degenerate in human skin with aging and sun damage. Hormone depletion, lowered estrogen and menopause all cause the manufacturing of Hyaluronic Acid to diminish.
Hyaluronic Acid is probably the most underrated and powerful ingredient the cosmaceutical industry has yet to fully exploit.   It has been the focus of much of my own research. The key benefit and added beauty Hyaluronic Acid brings to skin is defined by the word turgid: the optimal plumpness of skin achieved by the retention of water.
When skin is optimally turgid, it appears smoother and plumper. Hyaluronic Acid achieves this effect because it is one of the most important regulators of water metabolism in the skin. To appreciate how it beautifies the skin, one must explore Hyaluronic Acidís different mechanisms of action on the epidermis and dermis.
When applied directly to the epidermis via topical products, such as creams and gels, Hyaluronic Acid hydrates the skin as a humectant. It literally attracts air born water vapor into the skin and retains water delivered to the skin by the circulation. Because of this mechanism, the dermatologic effect of moisturization is superior to what could be achieved by the typical moisturizer composed only of a routine oil- and-water mixture. Hyaluronic Acid is a key ingredient that is fortunately highly soluble and adds another dimension to product design. The truth is that a moisturizer without a humectant only provides the skin with the additional water barely contained in that small amount of product one spreads over their skin.
Hyaluronic Acid also provides another key benefit by preventing the evaporation of water from the skin. Clinical research on dry skin measures a key index known as trans-epidermal water-loss (TEWL). Think of it as a measurement of the skinís inability to retain water which is lost by evaporation. Studies clearly demonstrate that sun damaged skin take on its chronic dry skin appearance because of its associated increase TEWL. While this condition may also involve an abnormal lack of exfoliation, Hyaluronic Acid should be a key therapeutic ingredient in oneís skincare regimen because humectants ordinarily synthesized by the skin are reduced as a consequence of sun damage.
In summary, Hyaluronic Acid is the wonder drug nature has to offer and is a star in the cosmeceutical industry. Few ingredients are as safe, versatile and effective. A natural constituent of skin itself, when combined with laboratory technology Hyaluronic Acid enhances moisture and plumps skin. Itís the newly discovered long lost cousin to collagen, and partner to another ingredient fundamental to beauty and life itself: water!
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