What is Hyaluronic Acid?

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What is Hyaluronic Acid?



Hyaluronic acid is the key to instantly plumping fine lines and making the skin glow. It can be found in everything from serums to sheet masks and even injectables—but what exactly is it? We asked dermatologists to give us the 4-1-1 on hyaluronic acid, including the right way incorporate it into your skin care routine. ( Read here to see the best hyaluronic acid)

Side Effects & Safety
When taken by mouth: Hyaluronic acid is LIKELY SAFE when used appropriately. Rarely, it may cause allergic reactions.

When applied to the skin: Hyaluronic acid is LIKELY SAFE when used appropriately. Rarely, it may cause allergic reactions.

When given as a shot: Hyaluronic acid is LIKELY SAFE when used appropriately. Hyaluronic acid can cause redness and soreness when injected into the joint.



When applied into the eye: Hyaluronic acid is LIKELY SAFE when used appropriately. Hyaluronic acid can increase eye pressure when injected into the eye. But this usually resolves within 48 to 72 hours.

Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy: Hyaluronic acid is POSSIBLY SAFE when given by injection when pregnant. However, there isn't enough reliable information to know if hyaluronic acid is safe to take by mouth or apply to the skin when pregnant. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Breast-feeding: Hyaluronic acid is POSSIBLY SAFE when given by injection when breast feeding. But researchers do not know if it affects breast milk and what effect that might have on an infant. There isn't enough reliable information to know if hyaluronic acid is safe to take by mouth or apply to the skin when breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Hardening of skin and connective tissue (scleroderma): Applying hyaluronic acid to the skin might make skin ulcers worse in people who have a condition called scleroderma. If you have scleroderma, don't use hyaluronic acid on your skin.

Who should use hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is great for all skin types, says Shainhouse. In general, "[the ingredient] is nonirritating and does not trigger acne, rosacea, or allergic skin reactions," she says. There is, however, a small chance of any adverse side effects.



Those with dry and/or more mature skin will benefit the most from using hyaluronic acid, says Bontempo. "As we age, our bodies produce less of it, so replacing hyaluronic acid topically will make the most impact on those of us who are middle-aged and older," she explains.

Hyaluronic acid has the word "acid" in its name, but there's no reason for sensitive skin types to tread lightly — it's safe for everyone. "There are no known side effects of utilizing hyaluronic acid, as again, it's produced in our bodies," says Bontempo. "Definitely talk to your doctor if you do experience side effects from a product that contains it — it could be due to another active or inactive ingredient."

How to Use and Apply Hyaluronic Acid
For hyaluronic acid to really penetrate the skin’s surface when applied topically, it actually has to be bioengineered to have a much lower molecular weight.4 Benjamin, who recently launched her own HA Hyaluronic Acid Serum ($130), claims that chemists are able to do so while still maintaining the original hydrating benefits.

Shamban adds that in-office treatments can help hyaluronic acid penetrate more deeply into the skin. "When combined with a Hydra Facial or SaltFacial, for example, serum is infused into the skin for a better or more effective penetration of the smaller molecules than application to the top of the epidermis alone," she says.

For those looking to use hyaluronic acid as a filler, it's obviously best to seek out a doctor's opinion first. Much like topical HA, injectable HA also mimics materials already present in our bodies. "Injecting an HA filler in a gel form through a syringe into the various areas of our face, eyes, or other areas is accepted and remains with the body and is used like our other cells as a 'partner' filling, volumizing that area," Douglas says.










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