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Hyaluronic acid (sometimes listed as sodium hyaluronate) in skin care products, is found in connective tissue, neural tissues and skin.

It is a major component of the synovial fluid found between joints and is essential for lubrication. In addition, hyaluronic acid forms an important component of cartilage, helping to coat each cell, giving cartilage resilience. In skin, hyaluronic acid is a natural moisturizing factor (NMF) - it is involved in tissue repair and collagen synthesis. Production of hyaluronic acid decreases with age which contributes to the loss of moisture leaving skin to become thinner and less supple.

Hyaluronic Acid and Skin  

Marketed under the brand names Juvederm and Restylane, hyaluronic acid may be delivered as an injection to smooth wrinkles by adding volume under the skin. The effects of these injections are temporary and last around six months. In addition to minimizing the appearance of wrinkles, injections may also be used to augment lips, reduce skin folds and remove scars. Injections do come with side effects in some individuals including pain, swelling and bruising. In addition, a recent study showed that injectable wrinkle fillers may lead to the development of arthritis.

Hyaluronic acid may also be found in a range of topically applied skin care products. The ability to hold more than 1000 times its weight in water makes it an excellent addition to moisturizers for its humectant action (ability to draw water into the skin). Studies have also shown that hyaluronic acid can increase the presence of retinoic acid (which helps to increase skin hydration) as well as increase collagen synthesis. Hyaluronic acid degrades upon exposure to UV rays, which could be problematic if applied topically.

If you suffer from dry skin, the addition of a hyaluronic containing moisturizer is a consideration. Here are some you may want to try:

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Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed]
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