The best-known hyaluronic acid benefits are those that help people maintain a youthful appearance by keeping their skin looking smooth and firm, but there are others. Hyaluronic acid, a substance that occurs naturally throughout the body, is also recognized as a treatment for joint pain and stiffness such as that caused by osteoarthritis. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved hyaluronic acid for use during certain eye surgeries.
Hyaluronic acid benefits the skin’s appearance by attracting and binding moisture to it. Topical moisturizers containing hyaluronic acid hydrate the skin and keep it hydrated. Over time, this process reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and makes the skin look younger. Those who want immediate, more dramatic improvement may opt for having hyaluronic acid injected directly into their deepest wrinkles. In 2010, injectable hyaluronic acid, marketed under the names Restylane®, Hylaform®, Perlane® and Esthelis™, was a popular anti-aging treatment used by dermatologists and plastic surgeons to plump up wrinkles by filling the tissue voids that lie beneath them.
Injections of hyaluronic acid are more effective than moisturizers, but they are also more expensive. The cost of an injection procedure ranged from $350 US Dollars (USD) to $800 USD per syringe in 2010, and multiple treatments may be necessary to achieve the desired result. Although the injection treatment is effective, it is not permanent and is likely to need to be repeated two or three times a year.
In addition to its use as an anti-aging treatment, hyaluronic acid benefits those who suffer joint pain from osteoarthritis or other joint disorders. Osteoarthritis treatments containing hyaluronic acid are available as over-the-counter oral preparations or as injections administered directly to the affected joints by doctors or other qualified healthcare providers. Results vary from person to person, even with injections. Some patients experience improvements in pain and stiffness, but others do not. Whether progressive joint damage can be delayed or decreased by consistent use of oral or injectable hyaluronic acid is not known.
The highest concentrations of hyaluronic acid in the body are found in the fluids of the eyes and in the joints. Eye surgeons understand and appreciate the ways in which hyaluronic acid benefits their patients during delicate eye surgery and use it regularly in various procedures. Doctors use hyaluronic acid during corneal transplantation, cataract removal and operations to repair detached retinas or other injuries to the eye. They inject it directly into the eye during these procedures to replace the natural eye fluids that may be lost.