It sounds counter-intuitive to try to fill out or ‘plump up’ your skin with acid! However, an acid is at the heart of one of the major revolutions in cosmetic treatment of lines and wrinkles – the dermal filler revolution. All of the major brands of dermal filler have hyaluronic acid (hyaluronan) as their base ingredient, a substance that occurs naturally in the body. Today we explore the base product that is creating such great, reliable and flexible results for women and men across the globe, with 7 essential facts about hyaluronic acid (HA).
It was once known as a ‘goo molecule’
Yes, that was it’s actual scientific designation! It’s actual function wasn’t well understood, only that you can find it everywhere in the matrix outside the cells of your body. Scientists knew that it was found in the eyeball and in movable joints, and that it increased the viscosity of the fluid there … hence the ‘goo’ designation. If you have seen any dermal fillers, you will understand why.
Cigarette smoke degrades hyaluronic acid
This fact isn’t really surprising … cigarette smoke does nothing good for your body. Cigarette smoke has been linked to many connective tissue disorders, and this property responsible for the sagging skin and prematurely aged look of long-time smokers. Cigarette smoke contains many free radicals, and we all know how helpful those guys are when you want to look youthful!
Hyaluronan helps in repairing your damaged tissue
It does this by moderating the inflammatory response. It interacts with the molecules that cause inflammation, acting to negate their effects. In a related property, hyaluronic acid can ‘pick up’ (thus neutralizing) damaging free radicals … goo is youth! Whether it is dissolved in your body, or in patches of dermal filler under your skin, hyaluronan has plenty off ways to help you look younger.
Hyaluronan is like a bus inside your body
This is because it is used as a transport system for essential nutrients. Hyaluronan molecules travel around the body, picking up nutrients (like passengers) from the food you eat, and transporting them via your extracellular fluid, to the cells (or bus stops!) that need them.
More hyaluronan = lower risk of scarring
One of the major differences between the way our bodies, and the bodies of babies in utero, heal wounds is the lack of scarring that occurs in fetuses. Another major difference is the fact that there is a much higher hyaluronan content in fetal wounds than in our normal wounds. Scientists believe that the hyaluronan prevents deposits of collagen forming, which are what forms our big, ugly, fibrous scars. However, we’ve only just figured out dermal fillers … so HA scar treatments are a while off yet!
It helps in osteoarthritis
It isn’t only dermal fillers that are created from HA – joint fillers can be made too. In osteoarthritis, the joints lack enough fluid for sufficient lubrication … and therefore movement without pain. HA injections can be made directly into joints for a long-lasting (though still temporary) relief from pain.
It can contribute to cancer metastasis
However, there is absolutely no evidence – or even any reason to believe – that hyaluronan injected under the skin would have any effect on cancer, anywhere in the body. Hyaluronan occurs throughout the body, and its binding to tumor cells can allow them to travel to other parts of the body.
People aren’t exaggerating when they say that hyaluronic acid is essential to many bodily functions … it pervades just about every aspect of our bodies. The main ingredient in dermal fillers has been so well received in the cosmetics industry for this very reason!