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Hyaluronic Acid

INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT:

WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID?

Shop Our Latest Hyaluronic Acid-Infused Collection: Hydra Fusion

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When skin is hydrated, it appears firmer, plumper and has a luminous glow. But the ability for skin to hold so much moisture is the key. Enter hyaluronic acid – a skin care ingredient must-have that’s sweeping the beauty industry.

And for good reason.

Hyaluronic acid is a super hydrator that can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water. As we age, our body’s natural production of hyaluronic acid slows down. It’s no wonder then that hyaluronic acid has become a key ingredient in gels and serums across beauty brands.

So here’s everything you need to know about this super ingredient and how you can, and should, be adding it to your skin care regimen.

What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid is mainly found in the connective tissues and fluids of the body, with the highest concentrations in the skin. Some dietary sources of both animal and plant origin are also rich in hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid has numerous functions in the body including increasing the moisture content of the skin, protecting the skin against environmental factors, and promoting healing. The substance can be isolated from its sources through chemical processes to obtain hyaluronic acid for commercial use. In cosmetics, hyaluronic acid is used in the manufacture of several skin care products in its pure form or as a salt derivative of sodium hyaluronate. The products exist in different formulations including injections, creams, gels, powders, and supplements, and are effective in increasing skin moisture, and diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. Therefore, the cosmetics are most commonly used for the treatment of age-related changes, general skin care, and wound care. Most of the products are suitable for all types of skin including dry, oily, and normal skin. Hyaluronic acid-based products are considered safe with no toxic effects. They also lack significant side effects except for the few that might occur in isolated cases, such as irritation, tingling, and bruising. Avon is one of the world’s best-known cosmetics companies, and offer many different types of cosmetic products containing hyaluronic acid.

The Discovery and History of Hyaluronic Acid

The discovery of hyaluronic acid dates back to 1934, when two researchers, Karl Meyer and John Palmer, isolated an unknown molecule from the vitreous body of a cow’s eyes (1). Further investigation revealed that the substance contained uronic acid and another sugar molecule. The researchers later named the substance hyaluronic acid, a term derived from a Greek word “hyalos”, meaning glass, plus uronic acid (1). Although the compound was isolated in acid form, it demonstrated salt-like characteristics when put under physiological conditions. The salt formed was called sodium hyaluronate, a neutralized form of hyaluronic acid. The chemical structure and use of hyaluronan remained unknown until in the 1950s when Karl Meyer and his colleagues first established its chemical structure (1). Surprisingly, Endre Balazs had first used this compound commercially as an egg-white substitute in a bakery in 1942 after applying for a patent.

Ever since, hyaluronic acid has been widely investigated and in the late 1950s it was first used in the medical field to replace vitreous in human eye surgery. The hyaluronan was initially obtained from the human umbilical cord, but later from rooster combs, which contain the largest content of hyaluronic acid as a highly purified and high molecular weight substance (1,2). Balazs named hyaluronic acid as hyaluronan in 1986 to ensure conformance to the polysaccharides international nomenclature1. The name was used to denote the various forms of hyaluronic acid including the acid form (hyaluronic acid) and hyaluronate salts (sodium and potassium). With time, hyaluronic acid has been extensively studied, leading to its isolation from several sources as we’ll discuss below. Moreover, its properties, ranging from physical to biological roles as well as applications of hyaluronic acid, have been of interest to many researchers leading to a better understanding of the molecule.

The History of Hyaluronic Acid in the Beauty Industry

The use of cosmetics or personal care products is not a new practice by any means – in fact, it was common among the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans. Cosmetics formed a critical part of these cultures, ranging from promoting personal beauty to the preservation of dead bodies. Moreover, ointment derived from the fenugreek plant was used to prevent the formation of wrinkles on the face. These ancient cultures were interested in more than just the practical use of cosmetics - books for the systematic preparation of cosmetics using distillation and extraction processes were also written by Theophrastus of Greek (372 B.C.) and Galen of Roman (130 – 120 AD). With time, the awareness of cosmetics in Europe increased through advocators and early explorers including the Portuguese and Spanish. Cosmetics were mainly used at the precincts of the royal courts during the Renaissance period all the way until 1900, when it became possible for ‘ordinary’ people to own their own cosmetics.

Similarly, various products of hyaluronic acid have been used in the beauty industry for a long time. The first hyaluronic-based dermal filler to improve facial wrinkles was developed in 1989 after Balazs established that it was compatible with the body and lacked immunogenicity (12). The discovery coincides with the time that Vandamme and Soetaert (16) noted that the general population started using cosmetics. On November 21, 2003, two dermal filler products of hyaluronic acid were recommended for approval for the “correction of soft tissue contour deficiencies” for the first time by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States. Three weeks later, on December 12, 2003, the injectable Restylane gel was approved for the treatment of wrinkles on the face (12). Other hyaluronic acid products including Hylaform and Juvederm were later approved in 2004 and 2006 respectively. Ever since, several hyaluronic acid-based products have been approved for use in the cosmetic industry.

Skin

Hyaluronic acid helps in improving skin structure and functions of both dry and oily skin. Many cosmetics for skin contain hyaluronic acid and its derivative salts of sodium and potassium hyaluronate, which act as agents of skin conditioning and are used in a concentration of up to 2% (1). A review in 2014 established that ingested hyaluronic acid significantly improved the moisture content of dry skin and improved treatment outcomes in patients with dry skin problems that result in improved quality of life. It has also been observed that dietary hyaluronic acid has significant clinical effects on the dry and rough skin, with ingestion of 120 mg of hyaluronic acid supplement per day resulting in increased skin moisture content.

Whereas dry skin can be caused by several factors such as genetics, age also contributes to dry skin that can be managed by hyaluronic acid. Aging is linked with progressive reduction of hyaluronic acid in the skin, which is associated with a reduction in moisture due to dehydration, skin atrophy, and decreased elasticity (13). Therefore, hyaluronic acid can be used to restore moisture in aging skin. Skin conditions such as diabetic foot lesions and venous leg ulcers have also been found to be improved by the use of hyaluronic acid due to its wound healing properties.

Face

Hyaluronic acid can also be used to improve facial wrinkles. Increasing lines and wrinkles accompanied by increased vasculature and alterations of the face are among the clinical signs of the aging face (11). However, there are many therapy modalities ranging from skin care products to energy-based treatments. Hyaluronic acid fillers have been a critical intervention for correcting facial changes that occur due to aging and other pathological conditions.

Hyaluronic acid achieves its anti-wrinkle effects through a dual mechanism involving attracting and binding to water molecules after incorporation into dermal tissue which results in the sustenance of augmentation (11). It is these moisturizing and high water retention capacities of hyaluronic acid that make it a useful product for maintaining skin condition and function.

Hyaluronic acid is also considered as a new treatment approach for acne. Acne is a common problem affecting individuals aged 11 – 30 years with the occurrence of scarring to some extent. It is a localized inflammatory condition in various parts of the body including the face, chest, back, and upper arms. There are three categories of acne scars including atrophic, hypertrophic and keloidal, but the atrophic subtypes (boxcar scars, rolling scars, and icepick scars) are the main consideration to dermatologists. The rolling atrophic acne scars that can be reduced when stretched are the most common types of acne scars and the target of treatment with hyaluronic acid.

Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid in Cosmetics

Hyaluronic acid is used not only as skin-conditioning agent, but also to increase viscosity of cosmetic solutions (7). It is used in cosmetics up to a concentration of 1%. In skin preparations, hyaluronic acid is mainly used as an anti-aging agent, either as a low molecular weight or high molecular weight substance with the former tending to increase the moisture content of damaged skin as well as facilitating its repair (7). Conversely, when applied on the skin surface, the solutions of high molecular weight hyaluronic acid form a hydrated viscoelastic film that is air permeable. Thus, the film does not affect cutaneous respiration as it restores skin moisture on the surface.

Hyaluronic Acid Products

There are several products containing hyaluronic acid available in the market. These compounds come in different forms, ranging from injections to creams. Avon is one of the best selling beauty companies for hyaluronic products and other cosmetics, fragrance, skin care, and personal care products. This section reviews hyaluronic acid-based products while highlighting the individual products currently offered for sale by Avon.

Serums

Hyaluronic acid serum can come as a pure product of hyaluronic acid or a multicomponent with other active ingredients, such as tocopherol, used for skin care. Serums have been demonstrated to significantly boost skin moisture regardless of the type of skin. With hyaluronic acid’s ability to hold moisture up to 1000 times its weight, serums made of 100% hyaluronic acid are the ideal products for the skin, as their chemical composition imitates the effects of natural hyaluronic acid in the skin. Moreover, serums usually have the highest hyaluronic acid levels, thus giving the most benefit from them. In particular, hyaluronic acid serums are useful for dry and mature skin or for plumping fine lines and wrinkles. Some of the hyaluronic acid-based serum products sold by Avon are Anew Power Serum, Anew Hydra Fusion Replenishing Serum, Anew Clinical Resurfacing Expert Smoothing Fluid, and Anew Clinical Unlimited Lashes Lash & Brow Activating Serum.

Anew Hydra Fusion 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Anew Hydra Fusion 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Meet our highest concentration of moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid (1.5%!) for visibly plumper, bouncier skin. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in skin but diminishes over time. It enhances skin's ability to retain moisture. Our serum has 1.5% pure hyaluronic acid, our highest concentration, which acts like a sponge holding up to 1,000 times its weight in water for lasting hydration. Formulated with raspberry antioxidant, known to help boost skin repair and protect against environmental factors. Plus, it has three different molecular sizes of HA to reach multiple layers of skin's surface to visibly plump skin with 2x more moisture and bring back its bounce! Our 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid Serum is hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested and suitable for every skin type.

Shop Anew Hydra Fusion 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid Serum »

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