FREE SHIPPING on US ORDERS OVER $50

Superstar Hyaluronic Acid

Jennifer Katehos

Posted on February 09 2017

Working in New York City, we rarely come across a client who is not dehydrated -- lacking water moisture -- to some degree.  This can be due to, among other things, pollution, changes in weather, frequent traveling, heating and cooling systems, over exfoliation, or the use of the wrong products for your skin type and conditions. 

Dehydrated skin becomes, for lack of a better word, angry.  It can't protect itself -- good stuff gets out and bad stuff gets in.  This results in oily patches, dry patches, acne, redness, and roughness.

One of the ingredients we recommend for dehydrated skin is hyaluronic acid, and it is generally found in moisturizers and serums.

The Skinny on Hyaluronic Acid

The body synthesizes its own hyaluronic acid, which is a glycosaminoglycan (“GAG”).1  GAGs maintain and support collagen and elastin, keeping them in good condition.  Additionally, hyaluronic acid aids in water retention, tissue hydration, and wound healing.2  As such, it is recognized as what is called a “Natural Moisturizing Factor.”3

For cosmetic preparations, hyaluronic acid is synthesized through an all-natural fermentation and is used in concentrations up to 1%.4  Able to bind up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, it is often used in “skin-conditioning,” hydrating, and “anti-aging” preparations.5  Hyaluronic acid penetrates to the dermis and “can enhance penetration of other ingredients through the skin.”6

Diving Deep

Generally speaking, there are two ranges of weights of hyaluronic acid, measured in “Daltons”: low molecular weight (“LMW”), which is measured approximately as less than 850,000 Daltons, and high molecular weight (“HMW”), which is measured in the millions of Daltons.  LMW and HMW hyaluronic acid have different functional properties.  LMW hyaluronic acid has been shown to increase the moisture level of damaged skin and to accelerate damage repair, whereas solutions of HMW hyaluronic acid, when applied to the surface of the skin, form a hydrated viscoelastic film, permeable to air, while it “fixes” moisture to the skin’s surface.7

Extra Credit: Be an Informed Consumer

Have you seen cosmetics touting concentrations of hyaluronic acid at 25%?  50%?  Even higher?  Maybe even suggesting that the high concentration is why the product is so “thick”?  If so, put your Skepticism Goggles on!  What they really mean is that the cosmetic contains 25% (or 50%, or 60%, etc.) of a water-and-hyaluronic-acid solution.  In cosmetics, both LMW and HMW hyaluronic acid is used in concentrations up to 1%.8  In fact, approximately 2% to 3% HMW hyaluronic acid is approximately the maximum that can be physically dissolved in water.  So-called “Super LMW” hyaluronic acid (less than 10,000 Daltons) may be dissolvable to a concentration of approximately 8%; even so, suggested use levels do not exceed 1%.9  Moreover, only HMW hyaluronic acid functions as a viscosity-increasing agent.10  Thus, a 1% solution of HMW hyaluronic acid will create a thick gel, whereas a 1% solution of LMW hyaluronic acid will not.11  To create a thick gel of a LMW solution, a separate viscosity-increasing agent must be added.12

 

1 Becker LC, Bergfeld WF, Belsito DV, Klaassen CD, Marks Jr JG, Shank RC, et al.  Final Report of the Safety Assessment of Hyaluronic Acid, Potassium Hyaluronate, and Sodium Hyaluronate.  International Journal of Toxicology.  2009 Jul/Aug;5,16.

2 Becker LC, Bergfeld WF, Belsito DV, Klaassen CD, Marks Jr JG, Shank RC, et al.  Final Report of the Safety Assessment of Hyaluronic Acid, Potassium Hyaluronate, and Sodium Hyaluronate.  International Journal of Toxicology.  2009 Jul/Aug;16.

3,9 Jarchem Industries, Inc. Actique Hyal Data Sheet.

4 Becker LC, Bergfeld WF, Belsito DV, Klaassen CD, Marks Jr JG, Shank RC, et al.  Final Report of the Safety Assessment of Hyaluronic Acid, Potassium Hyaluronate, and Sodium Hyaluronate.  International Journal of Toxicology.  2009 Jul/Aug;10,56.

5,7,8,10 Becker LC, Bergfeld WF, Belsito DV, Klaassen CD, Marks Jr JG, Shank RC, et al. Final Report of the Safety Assessment of Hyaluronic Acid, Potassium Hyaluronate, and Sodium Hyaluronate. International Journal of Toxicology. 2009 Jul/Aug;10.

6 Becker LC, Bergfeld WF, Belsito DV, Klaassen CD, Marks Jr JG, Shank RC, et al. Final Report of the Safety Assessment of Hyaluronic Acid, Potassium Hyaluronate, and Sodium Hyaluronate. International Journal of Toxicology. 2009 Jul/Aug;5,18,41,56.

11,12 Bothner H, Wik O.  Rheology of Hyaluronate.  Acta Otolaryngol Suppl.  1987;442:25-30.