The Anti-Aging Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid

Ever wondered why when it comes to anti-aging ‘Hyaluronic Acid’ is at the top of the list??

Hyaluronic acid (HA) -is a molecule that is naturally found in our SKIN and connective tissue. This naturally occurring polysaccharide, acts as a hydrating and lubrication agent for our joints, hair, SKIN, nerves and eyes. The reason HA is so unique (and loved by the beauty industry) is because of its amazing ability to retain moisture. In fact one gram of hyaluronic acid can hold up to six litres of water.

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A decrease in our skins moisture is one of the main culprits of aging skin. This is why this ingredient (which attracts moisture)—is a must-have when it comes to repairing your skin’s moisture barrier, or restoring volume loss.

Below is a summary of a great article written by the wonderful Dr Axe.

Hyaluronic Acid

So what is hyaluronic acid exactly, and how does it work?

Hyaluronic acid is a lubricating, clear substance that’s produced by the body naturally. In the human body, hyaluronic acid is found in the greatest concentrations in the skin, inside joints, within the eye sockets and in other tissues where it helps retain collagen, increase moisture, and provide elasticity and flexibility.

Today, HA is incorporated into different anti-aging beauty and health care products — you can now find hyaluronic acid lotions, creams, serums and supplements. There’s a good chance your dermatologist or cosmetic physician even offers HA in injection form (dermal fillers). Read on to learn why.

Hyaluronic Acid Benefits

Hydrates Dry, Aged Skin
Many people report that their skin feels “dewier,” the bags under their eyes become lighter and their skin texture is smoother after applying serums containing hyaluronic acid. The primary way in which HA helps improve appearance of “chronoaged skin” (skin aged due to sun exposure) is by reducing water loss. In fact, one reason that hormone replacement treatments sometimes cause the skin to look more youthful and less sun-damaged is because they increase the skin’s HA concentration.

Dryness, dandruff, thin lined lips, and fine lines are associated with aging skin because as we get older molecules in our skin lose some of their ability to bind and retain water. This not only causes dryness, but also decreases skin’s volume. Skin aging is triggered by both intrinsic and extrinsic aging, meaning daily environmental exposure to pollutants and UV light, along with the “the normal process of aging.” Studies show there are multiple sites in the skin involved in the control of HA synthesis, deposition, cell and protein association and degradation.

Researchers have found that stratum corneum dryness caused from prolonged sun exposure plays an important role in wrinkle formation. It’s now been shown that wrinkles and fine lines are usually also more visible in low humidity compared to high humidity environments because they further reduce the water-holding capacity and elasticity of the skin. HA can naturally help reduce the signs of aging by decreasing “epidermis water loss” associated with sun exposure, skin dryness or flakiness.

Wrinkle Reduction
Although most research shows that HA might take six weeks or more to improve skin’s appearance, some studies have found that anti-wrinkle HA serums can sometimes start to work within just two to four weeks of use. For more substantial anti-aging results, dermatologists now use prescription injections or formulas containing hyaluronic acids (including the dermal filler Juvéderm) to replenish lost facial volume and hydrate the lips etc.

Results from a 2014 double-blind, randomized clinical trial that appeared in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology showed that products containing hyaluronic acid effectively decreased the appearance of wrinkles within 30 days of consistent use.

Treats Sores, Sunburns and Wounds    

Aside from lowering the appearance of wrinkles and dryness, HA is beneficial for treating mouth sores, ulcers, wounds, bites and burns due to how it keeps damaged tissue moist. It also provides sunburn relief. Many cold sore treatments for the lips and mouth contain hyaluronic acid gel to speed up the healing process and prevent cracking or bleeding.

HA is part of the structural component of the mouth and the lips, which are made up of connective tissues made partly from collagen and water. Collagen and HA help give lips their structure and shape. Because HA binds to water, it hydrates the skin and tissues within the mouth/lips and keeps skin junctions tight, helps bring nutrients to damaged tissues, controls inflammation and helps fluids carry out waste.

Lubricates Joints    

Hyaluronic acid is found in all bones, connecting tissue, joints, tendons and cartilage structures throughout the body — especially a type called hyaline cartilage, which covers the ends of bones and provides cushioning. Because it helps buffer bones and provides resistance to wear and tear, HA is useful for lowering pains and tenderness associated with degenerative joint diseases.

It’s also found in another important part of our joints called the synovial membrane, which forms a coating over two articulating bones and produces synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is a “viscous fluid” that helps joints absorb shock, remain elastic and carry nutrients to cartilage.
Hyaluronic acid is now a popular substance used in supplements for treating osteoarthritis pain and injuries. It’s also been approved by the FDA for treatment of osteoarthritis when administered in relatively high doses through injections given by a health care provider. (3) Some research shows that lower doses can also be effective for reducing joint stiffness and chronic pain, although results seem to vary. The types of joint pains most commonly treated with HA include those of the elbows and knees.

Hyaluronic Acid Facts

The biggest advantage that hyaluronic acid has to offer is that it has a very high capacity for retaining water, whether on the skin, in the eyes or within soft tissue. HA is considered a glycosaminoglycan, which gives it its capacity to hold a large volume of water along with its high viscosity. Throughout the body, HA is distributed in many different tissues, especially in the skin, where it provides moisture and structure. The skin accounts for about half of all the HA found in the entire body.

Other body parts where HA is concentrated include tendons and joints, the membranes of the eyes, the umbilical cord, synovial fluid, skeletal tissues, heart valves, lungs, aorta, and prostate. HA is basically a very long link of carbohydrate molecules bound together that hold water and therefore allow for fluid movement and pressure absorption.

Over the past two decades, emerging research has shown that beneficial functions of hyaluronic acid include hydration, lubrication of joints, a space-filling capacity within tissue and between cells, building the framework through which cells migrate, repairing tissue and wounds, regulating activation of inflammatory cells (inflammation), enhancing immune responses, repairing injury of fibroblasts, and maintaining skin’s epithelial cells.

How Hyaluronic Acid Works:

HA has been referred to as “the key molecule involved in skin moisture.” In recent years, new skincare products have hit the market that contain hyaluronic acid, promising to make skin smoother, plumper, more even-toned and generally more “refreshed” looking. HA is capable of holding up to 1,000 times its weight in water — however, because the size of its molecules are relatively big compared to other acids, it’s never been easy for skin care manufacturers to produce a hyaluronic acid product that actually penetrates and stays on the skin.

Only in the past decade have scientists been able to create technology-advanced HA formulas that are capable of really seeping below the skin’s surface. Recent studies show that topical application of advanced (low molecular weight) HA serums can improve skin moisture and lead to significant reductions in wrinkle depth within just several weeks. HA is beneficial for reducing oxidative damage to the skin caused from both internal and external factors, especially ultraviolet irradiation (also referred to as photoaging).
• In addition to UV damage, researchers now believe that skin aging is also influenced by hormonal changes, including decreased production of sex hormones like estrogen. Decreased estrogen can result in collagen degradation, which leads to dryness, loss of elasticity and wrinkling of the skin (along with other aging problems, such as joint achiness and dry eyes).
Because HA is involved in slowing down collagen loss in addition to reducing fluid or water loss, it can also help improve joint lubrication, reduce pain, and treat various problems of the eyes and mouth.

How to Use Hyaluronic Acid?

• Hyaluronic acid injections: These are administered by Doctors or Registered Nurses only, so talk a specialist about recommendations if you’re interested in having HA injections.
• Hyaluronic acid serums: Different brands contain varying concentrations and types of HA molecules. The most effective types have more than one size of hyaluronic acid molecules, since various sizes work in different ways. Studies have found that daily topical application of serums containing around 0.1 percent HA can lead to significant improvement in skin hydration, wrinkle appearance and elasticity.

Final Thoughts on Hyaluronic Acid

• Hyaluronic acid is a lubricating fluid that’s naturally found in the skin, eyes, joints, fluid and connective tissue.
• Because HA has a very high capacity for holding water, it’s used in supplement, lotions & serums and eye drops to give structure and moisture to damaged tissue.
• Certain types of HA also have anti-inflammatory properties and help reverse collagen/cartilage loss.
• Benefits of using hyaluronic acid including firming aging skin, reducing achy joints, moisturizing wounds and rewetting dry eyes.

This is a summarised version of Dr Axe’s article. The full article an be found at  https://draxe.com/hyaluronic-acid/

Note:- Hyaluronic Acid is one of the secret ingredients in R+F’s Active Hydration Serum. Click here to order.

Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse) 🙂

The Importance of a Strong Skin Barrier

The below is a great extract from ‘Mind Body Green’ written by Amy Chang (2018). It really highlights the importance of a strong skin barrier. For years I personally suffered from hormonal adult acne. Having dry skin meant that the products I was using to treat breakouts were making my dry skin worse …and the products to (supposedly) nourish my dry skin were increasing my breakouts. I was suffering from product overload and a severely compromised skin barrier.

The breakthrough for me came after I switched skincare products. I was then able to fortify my skins natural moisture barrier. This meant my skin became more resilient,  less prone to irritation, and had fewer breakouts.

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Extract below from Mind Body Green 2018

Note: The author Amy Chang is a Los Angeles-based influencer and founder of BOND EN AVANT, a beauty and wellness blog dedicated to sharing her journey exploring nontoxic skin care and makeup etc

The Skin Care Routine That Helped Clear My Adult Acne

If you get a pimple or two, is your first reaction to reach for something drying? It was always mine. But somehow, every time I approached treating my adult acne this way, all it did was make things worse. Much worse. I couldn’t understand why these prescriptions and products marketed as “acne treatments” weren’t working and were actually exacerbating the situation. I figured maybe I hadn’t found the right one. So, one after the other, I tried them all, desperately hoping one would work. Finally, after almost a decade of riding the acne roller coaster, I discovered how to clear up my adult acne. The first and most important step was realizing my acne was not a result of excess oil but rather dry skin, inflammation, and a disrupted skin barrier.

The Importance of a Strong Skin Barrier

‘The Acne Answer: A Step-by-Step Guide to Clear, Healthy Skin’, written by organic skin care founder and chemist Marie Veronique, was actually instrumental in bringing this understanding to light. In her book, Marie breaks down the importance of strengthening the skin’s barrier and rebalancing its microbiome, which many acne sufferers have severely—and unknowingly—disrupted due to prescription topicals, preservatives (i.e., parabens, phthalates) that can have microbiome and endocrine-disrupting capabilities, and overcleansing or overexfoliating the skin.
“With the skin microbiome,” she explained to me in our interview, “if you use a topical antibiotic for instance, clindamycin, it will kill all of the bacteria on your skin, disrupting the balance. It may work for a while, but once you stop, the bacteria can come back with a vengeance and can be very difficult to treat. We have been taught that when you start getting a breakout, you must use oil-free products, that you want to cleanse to get rid of the bacteria, but all you’re doing is drying out the skin, stripping it of the oils that are actually going to help keep your skin microbiome in balance and creating dry skin, which may invite more pathogenic bacteria to overcolonize. What started out as a little problem can quickly become a large problem.”

What finally worked to heal my cystic acne

Upon learning this from Marie, I decided to make an effort to avoid harmful synthetic preservatives and began employing a skin care routine aimed at strengthening my skin’s barrier and rebalancing its microbiome. Within weeks, my skin drastically improved.

Key tips to take away:-

Focus on reducing inflammation.

Even (adult) breakouts are commonly ‘inflammation’ in need of soothing, not something to overstrip and dry out. Re think your skincare products as you may be doing more harm than good!

Gentle Cleansing

Cleansing needs to be about removing impurities, without the use of harsh surfactants -which strip our skins natural (and beneficial) moisture. Two great options are R+F Soothe Gentle Cream Wash or Redefine Daily Cleansing Mask (with Koalin Clay). Click here to find out more or purchase.

Gentle physical exfoliation 

Exfoliation is absolutely essential in every skincare regime because it sloughs off a whole layer of dry, dead skin cells (causing dullness). This allows other products to then work more effectively. HOWEVER there’s a catch;- Most of the granulated exfoliants on the market are very harsh. In fact it is not uncommon for them to have apricot seeds (pits) as an ingredient.  The small sharp edges can easily create micro-tears in the delicate lipid barrier, allowing distress. This is not something we want to experience.

One of my favourite products is the R+F Micro-Dermabrasion Paste. This dermatologically developed product features Vitamins C & E + ‘sugar granules’ that melt away leaving the skin silky-smooth.

Ideally, an exfoliant should only be used 1-2 times per week instead of cleanser. To purchase click here.

For information on certain problematic skin issues please visit:-

Common Skin Conditions

Rosacea

Perimenopause & your skin

Adult Acne

Melasma & Pigmentation

😌 Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse – Skincare)