Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is not new. Indeed, it has been around since 1934 (of course, it has been around a lot longer than that so I should say, was first obtained in 1934. (From a cow's eye, of all places). HA was first used in medical circles in the late 70's, mainly within eye surgery.
If you would like to know what it is, the official description is: "..... a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan found throughout the body's connective tissue. Glycosaminoglycans are simply long unbranched carbohydrates called polysaccharides" or, to put it another way, basically, a sugar.
The next step was when HA became popular as a filler of the injectable sort and is still used to day to plump out wrinkles, often mixed with Lindicane as an anasthetic which is supposed to make that whole prick-prick procedure more comfortable. Well, a bit more comfortable.
More recently, HA was incorporated into topical skincare. It has been around a while, even if some main-stream serum makers would like you to think that they invented it all yesterday.
So yes, we all know that HA can hold lots of moisture and that it is great at lubrication in the body and so on and so forth. But - Hyaluronic Acid if simply applied to the skin, is too large a molecule to fit through the gaps in the skin for it to get anywhere remotely useful. It is a bit like trying to get a Range Rover into a garage designed to fit a bicycle. This is where Sodium Hyaluronate comes in - a sodium salt of Hyaluronic Acid - with an array of smaller molecular weights enabling full and deep penetration right down to where it matters.
Smaller molecular weights are able to get deeper into the skin, so helping to plum out fine lines and wrinkles . It is also a useful anti-oxidant and promotes skin healing; helpful, therefore for skin suffering from inflammation, sunburn, grazes and (most) sensitivity. Medium sized molecules penetrate less, but do help to form a bit of a protective film. The larger size HA molecular weights sit on the surface of the skin and do provide a barrier, attracting moisture from the atmosphere so keeping the skin’s surface hydrated. The most helpful products, therefore, contain a variety of molecular weights.
Most products advertising HA contain hyaluronic acid between 0.25 to 2.5 percent. It is suggested that any product should contain at least 1 percent, mixed weight, for a more notable benefit. Anything less, isn't going to do much for your skin at all.
The most efficiant way of making use of HA is still as a filler. The ability of HA to combine with water and swell when in gel form, causes a smoothing and filling effect. Sources of hyaluronic acid used in dermal fillers can be from bacteria or cockrel combs. In some cases, hyaluronic acid used in dermal fillers is chemically modified (crosslinked) to make it last longer in the body. The effects of this material last approximately 6 – 12 months. (Source: FDA)
Various fillers are available, if you would like to know more about which fillers are approved and their use, the US FDA provide a helpful list which you can see here.
In the meanwhile, for topical (that is, apply to the skin) products, you can browse our selection... starting perhaps, with one of my favourites, here.