If hyaluronic acid isn’t already a household name, it’s right on the cusp. It features prominently in a growing inventory of popular serums, sheet masks, and moisturizers.
It’s a sugar molecule that occurs naturally in the skin and binds to water to plump up your skin and make it somehow look dewy and like it’s glowing all at once. Natural hyaluronic acid is bound to collagen on one side and linked to water molecules on the other, which is what gives skin its plumpness.
Trouble is, as we age, we lose both collagen and hyaluronic acid naturally, which means our skin becomes dehydrated more easily. Our faces can also start to look a bit deflated, as a result.
Picking up where nature leaves off
The aforementioned products have been shown to increase moisture and even firm skin around the eye area and soften fine lines on the rest of the face. Hydrating skin-care ingredients—think glycerin, urea, propylene glycol, and sorbitol, among others—act as humectants, attracting water to the skin in an effort to hydrate it.
As an ingredient, hyaluronic acid does that and more. It can lock in moisture from the environment and deeper dermis, enhancing the hydrating effect. And that effect is more pronounced in those who are middle-aged and older, since our bodies are producing less of it.
Going even deeper
You may also recognize the injectable version. In dermal fillers, hyaluronic acid is a gel-like product that attracts water to the injection site to regenerate volume and recreate lost structure, reducing the face’s deflated appearance and softening the overall look of lines and wrinkles.
These fillers can address a range of concerns, including the nasolabial folds, marionette lines (the folds that run vertically from the corners of the mouth down to the chin), cheek augmentation, under-eyes, lips, and the tops of the hands. But one filler does not fit all. Yes, they’re all made up of the same ingredient, but depending on the size of the formulas’ molecules and how they’re structured, they vary in density, lift-ability, and longevity. So, finding a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience with dermal fillers is critical.
Aside from their versatility, hyaluronic acid fillers are a good way to dip a toe into cosmetic plastic surgery for the uninitiated because they’re minimally-invasive, require very little, if any, recovery time, and they’re reversible.
If you’re not happy with the results, your plastic surgeon can insert an enzyme called hyaluronidase to dissolve the filler within a matter of minutes. Minimal risk and a potentially big reward.