All you want to know about Hyaluronic acid

All you want to know about Hyaluronic acid

Sunday, 11 October 2020


 Hyaluronic acid is very popular and you cannot find a moisturising cream that doesn’t contain this molecule. Normally, when we think in acid a burbling, greenish substance comes to the mind and we associate this word with danger. However, that reaction doesn’t happen with hyaluronic acid. Why? What is that molecule and which is its main property? Is it as miraculous as brands say?


Picture by silviarita.

What is Hyaluronic Acid

Chemically, hyaluronic acid is a high molecular weight sugar molecule. Though its name, it is not an acid. It is a polysaccharide type glycosaminoglycan consisting in the repetition of polymeric disaccharides of D-glucuronic acid and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine linked via alternating β-(1→4) and β-(1→3) glycosidic bonds. Each molecule of hyaluronic acid contains around 50000 disaccharides. This chain adopts a helicoidal conformation that can range in size from 5,000 to 20,000,000 Da.


Hyaluronic acid can retain a huge amount of water due to the presence of hydroxyl (-OH) groups and negative charge in the molecule. That allows establishing repulsion energies which force the adoption of a linear extended conformation of the molecule. In that conformation, the hyaluronic acid molecules help to retain water. Hyaluronic acid can retain up to 1000 time its weight in water.

Hyaluronic acid has a structural function in the body. It is a natural component in our body present in eyes, joints and the skin. It is produced in the cells by a group of enzymes called hyaluronan synthases, Hyaluronic acid can be degraded by a family of enzymes called hyaluronidases. In humans, there are at least seven types of hyaluronidase-like enzymes, Hyaluronic acid can also be degraded via non-enzymatic reactions. These include acidic and alkaline hydrolysis, ultrasonic disintegration, thermal decomposition, and degradation by oxidants.

Hyaluronic acid production decreases with age. The maximum production is in babies and hyaluronic acid start to decreases between 25 and 30 years old. When we are 60 years old only 10% of original hyaluronic acid remains in our body. This reduction in hyaluronic acid production is responsible for wrinkles and signs of ageing.

An average 70 kg man has 15 g of hyaluronic acid and 1/3 of this (around 5 g) degrades and is re-synthesised daily.



How Hyaluronic Acid works

We talked about how hyaluronic acid helps to retain water from a scientific point of view. In day to day language, how hyaluronic acid works?

As all the body parts, skin also ages with time. There are two factors involved in the ageing process. Skin loses collagen molecules which are important to keep skin structure. Skin is in contact with free radicals that decompose collagen and elastin molecules and accelerate the ageing process. Environment factors make skin lose water and skin becomes dry. Hyaluronic acid helps to keep hydration on the skin and destroy free radicals.


History of Hyaluronic acid

In 1934, Karl Meyer and John Palmer isolated an unknown molecule from the vitreous body in the cow’s eyes. They realised that this compound has two sugar macromolecules being one of them uronic acid. They named the just discovered compound hyaluronic acid from the words hyalos(Greek for vitreous, meaning ‘glass-like’) and uronic acid.

The substance has a high viscosity, reason why they thought it could have a therapeutic effect. However, it was complicated and expensive to extract the molecule from the vitreous body of the cow’s eyes.

In 1942, Endre Balazs used Meyer’s techniques to isolate hyaluronic acid from rooster comb. In the 70s decades, hyaluronic=c acid was used in eye surgery and from then, uses increase until our days. Nowadays, Meyer’s process is still used, but most of the hyaluronic acid we use come from vegetable sources as the fermentation process.


Picture by Gaab Tapic

Main Benefits of hyaluronic Acid

  • Helps with Skin Hydration and reduce oil production. The main function of hyaluronic acid is Moisturiser. Products containing hyaluronic acid bind water to skin cells and can be layered with other cosmetics.
  • It is also a humectant, which means that once in the skin, hyaluronic acid continues to draw water to our cells, acting as a sponge. Finally, it present Lipid Barrier Enhancement properties. Hyaluronic acid fortifies skin barrier so it can lock water inside. By promoting hydration, skin reduce oil production.
  • Make skin tight and smooth. Elastine breaks down with age and skin loses bounceback. Hyaluronic acid will not replace lost elastin but makes the skin look tighter.
  • Fell fine lines and wrinkles making them less visible. Hyaluronic acid reduces the visibility of wrinkles and fine lines creating a pumping effect when absorbs water.
  • Stimulates Skin Cell Regeneration and reduce Pigmentation. Hyaluronic acid promotes skin regeneration though doesn’t speed up the cell renewal process. A consequence of cell regeneration is the reduction in the pigmentation.
  • Protect the skin as it is antioxidant.

Which type of product contain hyaluronic acid

We can find hyaluronic acid in almost all type of skincare products.

  • Creams. There are plenty of creams with hyaluronic acid as the main ingredient. It is advisable to include them as part of the day or night routine.
  • Serum. The serum is a good option for a quicker effect. Apply the serum before the day/night cream.
  • Ampoules. They give your face an instant hyaluronic acid boost. If you need your skin to look healthy and radiant one of these ampoules will be your best friend.
  • Hair Products. Hair also needs hydration and some hair masks contain hyaluronic acid as part of their ingredient.
  • Nutritional Supplements. These supplements help to regenerate joints and muscle tissues, which also contain hyaluronic acid. It will also help with the skin.


Picture by Cottonbro

How to apply hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid normally comes in moisturiser creams. You can use in the morning or night routines or both. All skin type can benefit from hyaluronic acid: oily, dry, combination, mature, sensitive. It is non-comedogenic and all skin type tolerate it.

You can follow some advice when using hyaluronic acid:

If you have oily skin, check the ingredients of the cream as it should not contain mineral oil, they should be mineral oil-free.

Try to take the cream with a spatula instead of using your fingers to avoid contamination of the product.

Apply the cream with a massage and tap the skin with your fingertips to activate blood circulation.



There is no miracle to eliminate wrinkles and improve the sign of ageing, but hydration can help and hyaluronic acid is very important in that sense. Do you use hyaluronic acid creams? Tell me about your experience.


Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

I love beauty and skincare, try new products, and share my opinion with you. All my knowledge comes from years of experience and reading articles. I have dry skin, Fitzpatrick type IV, warm undertone, and my main concern is hyperpigmentation. Keep in mind that what works for me may not work for you. We are all different and products can have different results on your skin. Want to talk? Email me at

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