Published May 27, 2020
Hyaluronic acid first appeared on the cosmetic scene in the early 1990s and its popularity has continued to grow ever since. However, few people know what this very special acid actually is. Is it a natural or chemical ingredient? How does it work on the skin? Is it only used in beauty products? Is it really acidic?
In this article, Laboratoires FILORGA’s experts give you a guided tour of the history of hyaluronic acid, from its discovery almost 100 years ago to its current cosmetic applications. Find out everything you need to know about this essential ingredient and how it helps combat skin aging.
WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID?
Hyaluronic acid, also known as HA, is a naturally-occurring molecule found in the body, specifically in the intercellular spaces of the dermis, which is the middle layer of skin. Hyaluronic acid plays an important role in our body. It helps keep our skin hydrated by binding with water molecules and drawing moisture from our surroundings. It has a unique ability to hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water! As we get older, our bodies produce less hyaluronic acid—which can cause dryness or wrinkles appearing on our skin.
Hyaluronic acid was first identified in 1934 by ophthalmic researchers Karl Meyer and John Palmer. It was first isolated from the vitreous humour (the part of the eye behind the pupil and lens) of an ox and takes its name from the Greek word hyalos, meaning "vitreous". Hyaluronic acid is also present in the synovial fluid of joints and of course in the skin.
Later, from the 1950s to the 2000s, the medical potential of hyaluronic acid was mainly promoted by the Hungarian biochemist Endre Balazs.
WHERE DOES THE HYALURONIC ACID USED BY FILORGA COME FROM?
The hyaluronic acid used by FILORGA is of natural origin, obtained through white biotechnological processes using wheat grain. To make the white flour that is used in cakes, millers use only the kernel of the wheat grain. The husk, also known as wheat bran, is left out. Instead of being discarded, the wheat bran is used as an ingredient in the production of hyaluronic acid.
During a process of bio-fermentation, the wheat bran is 'fed' to lactic acid bacteria resulting in the natural production of hyaluronic acid, which is then isolated and purified. Most importantly, the hyaluronic acid obtained has a chemical structure identical to that of the hyaluronic acid present in the skin. It is therefore readily absorbed, minimizing the risk of any inflammatory reactions.
TYPES OF HYALURONIC ACID
There are two main types of hyaluronic acid that can be used in skincare products, which have a different size and therefore have different effects for the skin: high molecular weight (HMW) and high molecular weight (LMW). The lower the molecular weight of the hyaluronic acid, the greater its ability to penetrate the skin.
- HIGH MOLECULAR WEIGHT (HMW)
HMW HA molecules are larger, which means they provide more surface coverage, but don’t penetrate as deeply as LMW molecules. It acts on the surface of the dermis, forming a translucent protective film and does not penetrate the skin barrier. It allows water to be retained in the cells and, therefore, thoroughly hydrates the skin. It is the perfect ally for skin in the early stages of aging.
- LOW MOLECULAR WEIGHT (LMW)
LMW HA molecules have been broken down into smaller pieces, which allows them to penetrate deeper than HMW HA molecules, meaning LMW HA is great for targeting deeper layers of the skin. Its mission? Act on the layers of the epidermis, boost collagen production, and plump skin from the inside.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF HYALURONIC ACID ON YOUR SKIN?
Hyaluronic acid is very good at retaining water. Within the skin, it is known to have:
- A moisturizing effect: once it penetrates the deepest layers of the skin, hyaluronic acid acts like a sponge. It can store several tens of times its weight in water and thus act as a sort of reservoir.
- A plumping effect: by binding water, hyaluronic acid also increases in volume. It then fills more space between the cells, which helps to plump up the skin from the inside and fill in wrinkles.
- A regenerative effect: hyaluronic acid has the ability to stimulate cell proliferation and to boost both its own natural production and the production of collagen.
- A protective effect: on the skin’s surface, hyaluronic acid creates a protective film that minimizes water evaporation and protects against damaging environmental factors.
WHY USE A HYALURONIC ACID SKIN CARE PRODUCT?
Over time, the quantity of hyaluronic acid in the body decreases; it is estimated that the body's synthesis of hyaluronic acid decreases by about 10% every 10 years! This deterioration of natural hyaluronic acid in the body leads to a loss of skin elasticity and the appearance of wrinkles.
In addition, it is important to know that the hyaluronic acid contained in the skin is broken down quite quickly. Scientists say that it has a half-life of 24 hours: this means that after one day, half of the hyaluronic acid in your skin will have been used. To replenish it and maximize its benefits, FILORGA experts recommend daily or twice-daily application of hyaluronic acid skincare products.
Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient known for its cosmetic effectiveness. Our scientists have incorporated it into many of our formulas and maximize its benefits. Inspired by the work of Dr. Michel Tordjman, our experts created NCEF [New Cellular Encapsulated Factors], the foundation of Laboratoires FILORGA's unique skin care formula.
If you want to take care of your skin, regular application of a hyaluronic acid skincare product makes sense.
Shop HYDRA-HYAL SERUM; this hydrating face serum with pure hyaluronic acid to hydrate, plump, and smooth skin.
Shop HYDRA-HYAL CREAM; this plumping anti-wrinkle cream has all the power of pure hyaluronic acid to intensely hydrate the skin.
Shop HYDRA-FILLER MASK; this super-moisturizing sheet mask is soaked in a hyaluronic acid formula to concentrate the power of a serum in a mask for moisturized and visibly plumped skin in 15 minutes.
Sources: John HE, Price RD. Perspectives in the selection of hyaluronic acid fillers for facial wrinkles and aging skin. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2009 Nov 3;3:225-30. doi: 10.2147/ppa.s3183. PMID: 19936165; PMCID: PMC2778417.