Hyaluronic Acid - More Than
by Ted Kalli
The Advanced Dermatologigs News, May 1994
Hyaluronic acid is a viscous
macopolysaccharide acid that occurs especially in the viteous humor, the
umbilical cord, and synovia and as a cementing agent in the subcutaneous
tissue. New and interesting hyaluronic acid complexes have already been
developed and others are under development. Test results indicate that
the next generation of functional hyaluronic acid-based materials are
The following are excepts from several
studies on hyaluronic acid with reference to skin wrinkles and epidermal
regeneration. Complete references appear at end of article.
"Hyaluronic acid plays an important role in
wound healing, favors cell proliferation, inhibits differentiation and
facilitates cell migration."
"Hyaluronic acid is naturally distributed
throughout the human body where, among other noteworthy properties, it
holds water in the intercellular matrix of dermal connective tissue and
contributes to the elasticity of skin. As we age, however, the skin's
hyaluronic acid (HA) content diminishes, resulting in a loss of
viscoelasticity in the skin that visibly manifests itself in wrinkles.
It would seem logical, then, that a personal care product that delivers
hyaluronic acid to the surface of skin could help moisturize and restore
elasticity, and thereby minimize the appearance of wrinkles."
"Although the health care applications of
hyaluronic acid have been in development for more than 50 years, it
wasn't until the 1980s that this remarkable polymer sprang to the
forefront of the medical and personal care fields. In opthalmology, the
use of a specific hyaluronic acid preparation revolutionized the
performance and success rate of cataract surgery. In the personal care
field, the landmark 1982 introduction of Night Repair sparked an
explosion of formulations containing HA. Today they include emulsions,
eye creams, moisturizers, aerosol shave creams, hair conditioners and
eyelash mascaras, to name a few."
"Though hyaluronic acid's importance as
moisturizing agent and protector of the cutaneous surface has been
described 3-6, its regenerating activity on the epidermis in adverse
situations hasn't been demonstrated. Normal skin with no apparent
defects gives slow response of difficult interpretation to cosmetic or
To follow the re-ephitelization process of damaged skin, it had been the
practice to eliminate horny layers by repeated strippings with adhesive
tape. During a study of the effect of LMW (low molecular weight)
hyaluronic acid on epidermal regeneration, morphological differences
between treated and non-treated areas became apparent. These were
confirmed by macrophotography and scanning electron microscopy and the
images processed by means of image analyzer. These different
methodologies provided sufficient information to define and quantify
state of the skin, depending on treatment and course of time."
"It was concluded that low molecular weight
hyaluronic acid increases the hydric level of damaged skin at values
similar to that of non-damaged skin, the optimum moisture being reached
after 14 days. This ingredient seems to normalize migration and cell
proliferation during tissue healing and at the same time diminishes cell
differentiation (which otherwise could produce an abnormal accumulation
of corneocytes in the horny layer and a xerotic skin appearance).
Damaged skin treated with LMW hyaluronic acid is less rough than
untreated skin. Furthermore, accelerated damage produced by repeated
strippings tends to stimulate effects induced by adverse agents, and to
accelerate the morphological/histological changes produced by these
agents. LMW hyaluronic acid's high regenerative capacity has been
effective in treating prematurely aged skin, induced either by chemical
or by exposure to such climactic agents as UV radiation, wind, or
1. Casado,F.J.; Nusimovich, A. D., "LMW
hyaluronic acid to induce epidermal regeneration. (low molecular
weight)", Drug & Cosmetic Industry, March 1991 v148 n3 p30(4).
2. Pavlichko, Joseph; Band, P., "The Science of Minimizing Wrinkles.
(lab tests prove the usefulness of hyaluronic acid in skin care),
Soap-Cosmetic-Chemical Specialties, Feb 1992 v68 n2 p33(4).
3. Akasaka, H; Yamaguchi, T.; Fragrance J. 14(3), 42-47(1966).
4. Balazs, E.A.; Band, P.: Cosmetic & Toil. 99,65-8(1984).
5. Mitani, T; Hakamata K.; Sugai, T.: Nippon Koshohin Kagak. 12(l) 50-9
6. Berardesca, E.; Gabba, P.; Borroni, G.; Rabbiosi, G.; Clin. Pharm.
Res. Vill, 69-73(1988).