When the board-certified dermatologists at Skin Associates of South Florida recommend topical serums, creams and lotions for your skin, chances are it will contain hyaluronic acid.
It is also present in certain lip, cheek and other fillers such as Juvéderm® Ultra, Restylane®, Belotero®, and many people use hyaluronic acid to heal wounds, burns, skin ulcers, and as a moisturizer. Hyaluronic acid’s lubricant action is naturally found in the eyes, joints and cartilage throughout the body.
What exactly is hyaluronic acid? It actually acts as a skin soother that also helps moisturize surface cells. It is a type of sugar (polysaccharide) that is present between skin cells in the body, and helps retain water. In fact, it can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, which is why skin which is high in hyaluronic acid looks so young and fresh. Not only does it provide water to the skin surface, it helps retain it.
Unfortunately, as the body ages, it produces less hyaluronic acid, and thus the skin loses that plump, dewy look it had in its younger years. The loss can begin as early as the late teens, but generally doesn’t dramatically affect the skin’s appearance until the 40s. Hyaluronic acid production continues to decrease over time. Estrogen helps produce hyaluronic acid, which is one reason why wrinkles and sagging skin may become more evident in the post-menopausal years.
Loss of hyaluronic acid is a normal event, but it can be accelerated by such adverse health practices as smoking and exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light, as well as genetic factors and chronic illness.
Applied directly to the skin, hyaluronic acid not only improves elasticity because of its ability to retain water, but it’s also an antioxidant, helping to repel the effects of air pollution and correct damage from free radicals, mainly UV damage from exposure to sunlight. Hyaluronic acid can also be taken orally, though its efficacy through this method has never been conclusively proven.
Topically applied hyaluronic acid is good for all skin types, and has almost no known side effects. Hyaluronic acid injections have been shown to last up to 18 months in the skin depending on location of injection. Topical application lasts only a few days because such products don’t penetrate into the deeper layers as do injections, but repeated use will yield visible benefits.
Fortunately, there are ways to boost your skin’s production of hyaluronic acid naturally.
The same vegetables that are so good for so many other reasons also contain hyaluronic acid. Leafy greens (the darker, the better), bell peppers (any color), carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocados and nuts—especially peanuts, are all known to contain hyaluronic acid, which is then distributed throughout the body.
2. Soy products
Soybeans, tempeh, tofu, soymilk and cheese will all raise the estrogen levels in the body, and thus support production of hyaluronic acid.
3. Animal broths
Homemade broths made from animal bones, skin and connective tissue contain high levels of hyaluronic acid, and are an effective way to increase the healthy sugar within the body.
Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons contain the vitamin C needed for the body to stimulate hyaluronic acid production. Other fruits such as berries, grapes, mangoes, bananas, and apples are also high in the necessary vitamin C.
Cilantro leaf, thyme, dill, and parsley are just a few of the herbs high in vitamin C that will help the body in the production of hyaluronic acid.
4. Red wine
The resveratrol contained in red wine will help increase the production of hyaluronic acid. If you’re not a wine drinker, opt for purple grape juice, which is also high in resveratrol.
Meanwhile, your board-certified dermatologists at Skin Associates of South Florida are expert in the use of hyaluronic acid injectables and fillers to sculpt and revive your skin to achieve the most natural, radiant results.