Let’s not get confused:
You have hyaluronic acid in your skin.
You can apply a hyaluronic acid gel on your skin.
The reasons why your own hyaluronic acid is so important to the health of your skin do not apply to the hyaluronic acid gel you can apply to your skin.
How to preserve and augment the hyaluronic acid in your skin
1. Use actives that promote endogenous hyaluronic acid synthesis like epidermal growth factor
2. Avoid ingredients that can lead to a break down of hyaluronic acid in your skin like copper (salts, peptides, whatever).
3. Avoid the sun and wear sunscreen. UV radiation leads to the loss pf hyaluronic acid (and other symptoms of skin aging).
4. Loss of hyaluronic acid is followed by skin dehydration, and skin atrophy and loss of elasticity that characterizes aged skin
5. Skin nutrition: provide sources of energy and carbon so that your skin can make its own hyaluronic acid. Skin nutrition is key to skin health, as we age and out body decides that skin is not THAT important!
What can the topical application of hyaluronic acid do for you?
Now that we got that distinction between inside and outside out of the way, here are the reasons why applying hyaluronic acid to your skin is a good idea
- To increase moisturization. How? This molecule is great at retaining water.
- Topical hyaluronic acid helps in the treatment burns, bedsores, wounds, and skin ulcers
- It can give you a temporary “lift” because the gel will dry as a film, stretching the skin as it dries.
- You will not become allergic to hyaluronic acid, because you have it in you.
What topical hyaluronic acid can’t do
Moisturizing with hyaluronic acid may not be what you want when your skin feels dry. For alleviating dry skin problems, Every Lipid Serum by Skin Actives will be a godsend.
If what you need is softening and your skin “feels” dry, you may be better off with a lipid-based serum, like ELS. It will also moisturize your skin in a different way: by adding emolliency, preventing water loss from the skin by adding that extra thin layers of oils. But there is more:
What not to do
Here I need to go back to chemistry. The skincare industry often muddles things, like when the INCI nomenclature uses the wrong names. This is the case for hyaluronic acid fragments. Remember: high molecular size hyaluronic acid reflects intact tissues and antiangiogenic and immunosuppressive state, whereas smaller fragments behave as distress signals and potent inducers of inflammation and angiogenesis.
If you add fragments of hyaluronic acid, you risk increased inflammation, because fragments will get inside your skin and there will behave as signals of tissue distress, inducing inflammation.
Don’t inject or let anyone inject hyaluronic acid derivatives unless you have a specific medical problem. Natural hyaluronic acid will be promptly broken down. Chemically modified hyaluronic acid can be allergenic.
How to preserve your own hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid, with a molecular weight in the millions, will not get anywhere inside your skin. Use actives that are known to promote synthesis of hyaluronic acid like EGF, genistein, and daidzein or to inhibit enzymes that degrade it, like boswellic acid (in Boswellia serrata) and proanthocyanidins.
Note to vegans: hyaluronic acid used by Skin Actives is obtained by fermentation. It is NOT extracted from animal parts!
Papakonstantinou, E., Roth, M., & Karakiulakis, G. (2012). Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermato-Endocrinology, 4(3), 253–258. doi:10.4161/derm.21923
Tzellos TG, Klagas I, Vahtsevanos K, Triaridis S, Printza A, Kyrgidis A, et al. Extrinsic ageing in the human skin is associated with alterations in the expression of hyaluronic acid and its metabolizing enzymes. Exp Dermatol 2009; 18:1028-35; PMID:19601984; http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.00889.x
Lee, D. H., Oh, J.-H., & Chung, J. H. (2016). Glycosaminoglycan and proteoglycan in skin aging. Journal of Dermatological Science, 83(3), 174–181. doi:10.1016/j.jdermsci.2016.05.016
Maytin, Edward V (2016) Hyaluronan, more than a wrinkle filler. Glycobiology, 26:553-559. doi:10.1093/glycob/cww033
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