A Guide to Hyaluronic Acid – Uses and Benefits10.21.2021
Hyaluronic acid has quickly become one of the most popular beauty products on the market and for good reason. The benefits of beauty products that contain hyaluronic acid are wide-ranging and beneficial for everyone as they age.
It feels like everyone is talking about hyaluronic acid right now and at Two Islands, we’re excited about our new Super Beauty product – a plant-based, vegan-friendly inner beauty supplement that not only includes high strength hyaluronic acid, but also includes antioxidant-rich NZ blackcurrant, zinc, biotin and silica.
We think it’s important for our customers to understand more about the ingredients in all our products and this guide to hyaluronic acid will hopefully provide you with all the information you need to know about the benefits, uses and any potential side effects of using hyaluronic acid.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Before we dig into the benefits of hyaluronic acid, let’s first talk about what it is.
Hyaluronic acid is a type of sugar molecule that is naturally found in our skin as well as our eyes and joints. Able to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, hyaluronic acid is essential for maintaining skin moisture, working to keep skin plump, dewy and hydrated.
Unfortunately, like collagen, the amount of hyaluronic acid that our body produces naturally declines as we age. Other environmental factors such as smoking, sun exposure and air pollution also contribute to its decline, ultimately leading to dry and dehydrated skin.
Hyaluronic acid has a variety of uses. Many people take it as a supplement, but it’s also used in topical serums, eye drops and even injections.
The molecular weight of hyaluronic acid also makes a difference to the way it is absorbed by our bodies. Some sources of hyaluronic acid contain a higher molecule weight; however, evidence suggests that a smaller weight (between 800-1,000 kDa) is the most effective when it comes to improving wrinkle depth, skin hydration and texture.
Benefits of hyaluronic acid
The benefits of hyaluronic acid are wide ranging and there is a lot of information available online to support these benefits. We have pulled together eight of the best scientifically supported benefits of hyaluronic acid below:
One of the major drivers in the growing demand for hyaluronic acid products is the benefits it provides for your skin. Research has shown that hyaluronic acid or hyaluronan (HA) as it is sometimes known, can increase skin moisture and improve the overall ‘plumpness of the skin’.
In a clinical study it was found that ingested HA increased skin moisture and improved treatment outcomes for patients with dry skin.
Hyaluronic acid is most typically used as a topical cream or as a supplement such as Super Beauty for those looking to improve the moisture levels of their skin.
Reduces dermatitis and eczema
As well as the moisture benefits hyaluronic acid can bring to the skin, studies have also shown that hyaluronic acid can help people with dermatitis and mild to moderate eczema.
Both dermatitis and eczema can present as a dry skin condition, so the moisturising properties of hyaluronic acid have been proven to help in combatting the condition.
In a 2011 study, participants found that using a hyaluronic foam product was more soothing than a ceramide-containing elusion cream and that it had a more positive impact on their eczema, although both formulas led to significant improvements.
Helps wound healing
Continuing with the benefits of hyaluronic acid for the skin, studies have shown that hyaluronic acid can help to speed up the wound healing process by helping to regulate inflammation levels and signalling to the body to build more blood vessels in the damaged area.
Whilst research supports the use of hyaluronic acid creams thanks to their antibacterial properties which can also reduce the risk of infection when applied to wounds, it is believed that taking supplements that contain high strength hyaluronic acid will also provide similar wound healing properties to a cream.
Combats gum disease
As well as helping to heal wounds, studies have shown that hyaluronic acid can also help to combat gum diseases as well as helping to reduce mouth ulcers when used topically.
In a 2016 study, it was found that, “topical hyaluronic acid plays a pivotal key role in the postoperative care of patients undergoing dental procedures, but positive results were also generally observed in all patients with chronic inflammatory gingival and periodontal disease and in patients with oral ulcers.”
Another benefit of hyaluronic acid that has helped to increase its popularity is its anti-ageing properties. Around 50% of our body’s total hyaluronic acid content is present in the skin. Unfortunately, like collagen, the amount of hyaluronic acid that our body produces naturally declines as we age. Other environmental factors such as smoking, sun exposure and air pollution also contribute to its decline ultimately leading to dry, dehydrated skin and wrinkles can start to develop.
Hyaluronic acid can significantly decrease the depth of wrinkles, adding moisture and maintaining those levels that are necessary to retain skin firmness and elasticity.
In a 2014 study conducted with 33 subjects, all female, it was found that the application of topical hyaluronic acid twice daily for eight weeks decreased the depth of wrinkles by up to 40% compared with participants who did not apply the cream.
Additionally, the study found that participants that applied the cream over the eight weeks recorded an increase of up to 55% in skin firmness and elasticity.
Eases joint pain
It’s easy to see why hyaluronic acid products have become so popular, especially as an alternative to collagen-based products. Another benefit of hyaluronic acid that is also similar to those benefits provided by collagen is the relief it can bring to those suffering from joint pain.
As well as being found in the skin, hyaluronic acid is also found in the joints where it helps to keep the space between your bones well lubricated.
A 2012 study found that taking an oral supplement of hyaluronic acid helps to alleviate the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis (OA). Taking a supplement each day for at least two months was shown to significantly reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis, especially those aged between 40-70.
A more recent 2016 study supported these findings, concluding that, “HA dietary supplements provide at least some possibility for the treatment and prevention of serious conditions in patients with OA exhibiting mild knee pain.”
Reduces acid reflux
Acid reflux is a common condition that affects a huge range of people of all ages and genders. Acid reflux occurs when the contents of the stomach are regurgitated into the throat which causes pain and can possibly damage the oesophagus.
A 2017 trial found that hyaluronic acid supplements can help to improve the symptoms of people with non-erosive reflux disease.
An earlier trial carried out in 2013 found that taking a HA supplement was five times more effective at reducing acid reflux symptoms than a placebo.
Whilst the research into the impact of hyaluronic acid on acid reflux is still relatively new, the early signs from the research are promising and if you are someone that does suffer from acid reflux, it would certainly be worth trialling a hyaluronic acid supplement.
Soothes dry eyes
As hyaluronic acid has such high moisturising properties, it is perhaps no surprise to find that using eye drops that contain hyaluronic acid can help to treat the symptoms of dry eyes.
In addition to hyaluronic acid in eye drops, a 2019 study found that taking a combination of oral and topical hyaluronic acid eased the symptoms of dry eye in all participants in the study group.
At this stage, there is no research to support the benefits of a hyaluronic supplement for treating dry eyes, however, as with a number of these benefits, hyaluronic acid supplements help to raise moisture levels in the body, and it is believed that supplements could also have a positive impact on the effects of dry eyes.
How to apply hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid products come in a range of different formats, and this will determine how hyaluronic acid is applied. The three most common formats are:
- Oral – a capsule or tablet supplement
- Topical – creams, lotions, serums and foams
Oral and topical are the two most popular ways for people to boost the hyaluronic acid that is produced naturally by the body. They are both used primarily to help with skin hydration and wrinkle reduction and to slow down the signs of ageing.
Oral supplements are typically taken by those looking to reduce joint pain and these have been proven to have a positive impact on those who suffer from mild joint pain.
How often can you use hyaluronic acid?
The format of your hyaluronic acid will determine how often and how much you should take.
Two Islands Super Beauty supplement contains high strength hyaluronic acid and is taken in capsule format and the recommended dose is two capsules daily with food providing 160mg of hyaluronic acid.
For most topical creams and lotions, they can typically be applied twice a day, however, you should check the packaging carefully for instructions for each individual product.
When will I see results from taking hyaluronic acid?
With our recommended dose, you could expect to see results in less than two months based on the results of tests carried out with lower doses. A 2017 study of sixty subjects aged 22-59 found that taking 120 mg/day of hyaluronic acid showed “significantly diminished wrinkles” after eight weeks and “Skin luster and suppleness significantly improved after 12 weeks in all groups compared with the baseline.”
Are there any side effects to using hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is considered very safe to use with very few reported side effects. As our body naturally produces hyaluronic acid, reactions to supplements and creams are rare.
At this stage, there is little research to support whether taking hyaluronic acid whilst pregnant or breastfeeding is safe and whilst there are no major concerns, it is always recommended that you check with a health professional before using any hyaluronic acid product or any form of supplement.
Hopefully, this has provided you with everything you need to know about hyaluronic acid and why it’s such a popular beauty product right now. We are excited to bring a vegan-friendly, plant-based supplement to the New Zealand market that includes high-strength hyaluronic acid along with scientifically researched DracoBelle™ Nu, NZ blackcurrant, zinc, biotin and silica.