Hyaluronic Acid: What is Hyaluronic Acid and how does it work?

Hyaluronic Acid is a substance that is found naturally in numerous tissues and organs of the human body

Hyaluronic acid is in fashion and much is said about the benefits it gives to the skin, especially for cosmetic purposes.
But do you know what it is, what it is used for, and how it works?

Hyaluronic acid is a substance whose function in the body is to fill the spaces between different fibers and which is lost as age advances, facilitating the appearance of wrinkles.

Hence, today both cosmetic and aesthetic medicine have adopted hyaluronic acid as the natural successor to collagen since its effects are longer lasting and cause fewer allergic reactions.

Properties and uses of hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in numerous tissues and organs of the human body: epidermis, connective tissue, cartilage, synovial fluid, eyes, etc.

One of its most important properties is the ability to attract and retain water, which keeps these fabrics in good condition.

However, it happens that in the aging process its presence in the body progressively decreases and, as a consequence, the skin loses hydration and, therefore, elasticity and firmness, becoming more flaccid and thus opening the door to the appearance of wrinkles.

The same happens in the joints, so that the cartilage becomes more rigid, which can break and cause pain with each movement due to friction between the bones. In fact, it should be noted that by the age of 50, only half of the body’s hyaluronic acid remains in the body.

But it is precisely its ability to attract and retain water that has made it one of the star products of cosmetics, aesthetic medicine, although it must be said that it has also generated its use in different treatments and therapies of regenerative medicine and trauma, and other fields of medical science.

Types of hyaluronic acid

Many of the cosmetic products on the market today contain synthetically obtained hyaluronic acid. Its function is to penetrate the skin, mix with natural hyaluronic acid and, in this way, promote the production of more of this substance, in addition to favoring the formation of collagen.

However, the one that must be taken into account the most is that used in aesthetic medicine or the treatment of certain joint pathologies. It is an injectable product that comes in gel form and is injected into the areas to be treated. There are basically two types:

Cross-linked: it comes in the form of a gel (dense), which allows it to maintain its stability for a longer time (6 to 9 months).

Non-cross-linked: it is liquid and retains its stability for less time (approximately 3 months).

Aesthetic uses of hyaluronic acid

The function of cosmetics, apart from other theoretical effects, is basically to maintain good hydration of the skin, even in its deepest layers, so that its thickness, volume, and smoothness are maintained. It can serve to prevent or delay the appearance of wrinkles or also treat them when they are in their most incipient phase of appearance.

However, in the field of aesthetic medicine, it has been a true revolution in the treatment of wrinkles, to the point of replacing in many cases botulinum toxin (botox).

It has been clinically proven that when applied by intradermal injection, hyaluronic acid stimulates and activates fibroblasts even in the elderly, which means that in addition to providing greater volume to the skin, it also stimulates the formation of collagen. Hence, this treatment is currently being used to eliminate certain wrinkles:

  • The nasolabial folds, those that start from the nose towards the sides of the mouth).
  • The perioral folds and the labial corners, on the lip contour line.
  • Those between the eyebrows.
  • The crow’s feet.
  • Those of the forehead.

Hyaluronic Acid Medical Uses

The particular properties of hyaluronic acid have opened an increasingly wide field of applications in the treatment of different pathologies.

The first one refers to the treatment of degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis. In this case, it is increasingly common to perform infiltrations of this substance with a double purpose: to reduce pain and achieve an appreciable regeneration of the cartilage.

It is also used to replace the synovial fluid that is lost in arthroscopies. Likewise, in elite sports, it is used to recover more quickly from joint injuries (ankle, knee, etc.).

In dentistry, it is used to improve healing and regenerate the gums and oral mucosa, as well as in the surgical treatment of temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

Another incipient use is for the treatment of interstitial cystitis, by introducing it into the bladder. It is also suggested that it may be useful for treating skin problems such as lipodystrophy, either caused by therapies with excess steroids or by antiretroviral treatment of people infected with HIV.

The contraindications to infiltrations of hyaluronic acid are few: diabetes and skin and autoimmune diseases.

Before undergoing a hyaluronic acid treatment it is very important to make sure that the doctor who performs it is qualified for it.

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