Whether you prefer Restylane, Perlane or Juvederm, the three fillers all share a similar ingredient: hyaluronic acid. You’ll also find hyaluronic acid in a number of topical creams and serums. It’s also the star ingredient in Juvederm Voluma. The ingredient’s ubiquity might have you wondering what the big deal is.
Hyaluronic acid is common for a reason. Before you schedule your next appointment for a dermal filler or invest in a new product that features it, it can help to learn as much as you can about the ingredient, where it comes from and what it does.
What Is It?
The name hyaluronic acid can be a bit confusing. When you hear acid, you most likely think of ingredients that help exfoliate the skin, such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid. Hyaluronic acid isn’t actually an acid at all. Instead, it’s a type of sugar. It doesn’t strip skin or exfoliate dead cells.
Instead, it works like a moisturizer, or more accurately, as a humectant, meaning it brings water to dried out areas. Hyaluronic acid plays a big part in keeping skin soft and supple.
Where Does It Come From?
The substance is produced by every living thing. In humans, it’s found in the skin, usually between the skin cells, which helps it keep skin soft and plump. Hyaluronic acid is also found in the joints and in the eyes. It helps give your eyes their shape and helps keep your joints running smoothly. In the joints, it acts like a shock absorber and a lubricant.
While the human body makes its own hyaluronic acid, as people get older, they start to produce less and less of it. Production of the substance drops off after about age 40 in many people. The result is skin that looks drier, is less firm and that has more wrinkles and lines. The loss of hyaluronic acid production can also cause problems elsewhere in the body, for example, in the joints. In some cases, people who have arthritis might receive injections of hyaluronic acid into their joints to help relieve pain and improve movement.
Using Hyaluronic Acid on the Skin
Products that contain hyaluronic acid can help restore some of the skin’s softness or add more volume to the skin. Using a product that contains the substance won’t make you look like a teenager again, but it will drastically improve the way your skin looks and feels.
The ingredient might be most effective when it is used in a non-surgical injection. Injectables that contain hyaluronic acid are called fillers for a reason. The gel-like substance they contain usually adds volume to the treated area, smoothing any wrinkles and restoring a youthful, full look to the face.
In injectable form, hyaluronic acid is available in a number of thicknesses. Thicker fillers are more likely to stay put when injected and are more often used in areas that require a deeper injection, such as the lines by the nose and mouth. Often, thicker fillers last longer. Perlane is an example of a thicker hyaluronic acid filler. It’s made by the same company that makes Restylane but tends to be used in different areas.
Juvederm Voluma is a very viscous filler made from hyaluronic acid. While regular Juvederm will flow with ease when injected into an area, Juvederm Voluma is stiff enough to stay in place until the surgeon shapes or molds it. Voluma also has a different use and purpose than other hyaluronic acid fillers. It’s the only one designed to be used to add volume to the cheek area.
Topical products that feature hyaluronic acid work a bit differently than fillers. You won’t get the same results if you decide to use a cream or serum that contains the substance as you would from a filler, as the hyaluronic acid won’t be able to seep into the skin in the same way. What a topical product will do is create a barrier on the top of the skin. Your skin will look and feel softer, but you won’t have any fewer lines or wrinkles.
One big advantage of products that contain hyaluronic acid, whether they are topical creams or injectable fillers, is that they tend to work on a wide range of skin types and most people are able to tolerate them, without the need for testing. Since hyaluronic acid is produced by the body naturally, even a synthetic version of it is usually accepted by the body without trouble.
If you decide to explore the world of hyaluronic acid fillers further, it’s important to find a surgeon who has the experience and talent needed to guide you to the best filler for you. In Brevard County, Florida, that person is Dr. Ross Clevens, the only board certified, practicing facial plastic surgeon in the area. Voted "Best of Brevard,” Dr. Clevens is known for his artistic ability and attention to detail. To learn more about hyaluronic acid and what fillers can do for you, call (321) 727-3223 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Clevens today.