Hyaluronic acid products can improve or remove the signs of aging on the skin and help relieve joint pain. The supplement is available in the form of oral capsules or tablets, topical creams or lotions and injectable materials. The most popular for skin care are the topical and injectable products. Despite manufacturer’s assertions that oral supplements can improve the appearance of the skin, oral hyaluronic acid products continue to be used primarily to treat painful joints and to improve their function.
A viscous substance that occurs naturally in the body, hyaluronic acid lubricates joints, gives shape to the eyeballs and keeps the skin plump and smooth. Production of hyaluronic acid diminishes with age, and the result is stiff joints and wrinkled skin. Joint function can be improved by taking over-the-counter oral preparations or by receiving injections of hyaluronic acid directly into problem joints. Creams and lotions containing hyaluronic acid can smooth the skin and restore some of its youthful firmness.
Topical hyaluronic acid products, in the form of moisturizing creams and lotions, work by attracting moisture to the skin and locking it in. Hyaluronic acid is able to absorb many times its own weight in moisture. It pulls in moisture from the air and binds it to the underlying cellular structure of the skin, thereby increasing its bulk. This increase in tissue volume plumps up wrinkles and creases and helps smooth the surface of the skin.
The effectiveness of topical hyaluronic acid products depends on the amount of active ingredient they contain. Higher levels of hyaluronic acid mean better results. Products containing levels of hyaluronic acid high enough to produce noticeable changes are usually available only through dermatologists or plastic surgeons. Improvement in appearance is gradual and can only be maintained by continued use of the product.
Injections of Restylane®, Juvederm® or similar products provide quicker, more dramatic results. These synthetic hyaluronic acid products are designed to correct lines and wrinkles almost instantly. Dermatologists or plastic surgeons inject the dermal fillers under wrinkles and depressions in the skin to fill the tissue voids beneath them. The result is smoother, firmer skin that looks and feels younger.
Hyaluronic acid injections can bring about significant improvements in the appearance of the skin, but they are not permanent. Like natural hyaluronic acid, the manufactured product breaks down over time and is absorbed by the body. Effects usually last from three to nine months. Repeat procedures are necessary to maintain improvement, and most people require two or three treatments per year.
The average cost of hyaluronic acid injections vary widely by area and doctor. The number of syringes necessary for a treatment depends on the number of areas injected and the depth of the wrinkles or depressions. More than one injection may be necessary to smooth out an area satisfactorily.