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What gives skin the volume to make it look
healthy and young? What acts as a lubricating fluid in our joints and
eyes? Hyaluronic acid (HA) does both. It’s a kind of amino polymer naturally present
in our body, a building block for collagen. However, our body’s ability to
produce HA diminishes as we age.
When HA was successfully extracted from
rooster comb, a lot of interest in its anti-aging use began. In fact, HA has
been promoted as a “fountain of youth.” Now, it is commercially produced by synthetic
process or by natural fermentation.
Certain injectable brands were approved by
US FDA  as dermal filler, to fill up lines and wrinkles, and to plump up lips. For
osteoarthritis, it is injected in joints to replace lost lubricating fluids. It
is also used during removal of eye cataract to help replace natural fluids. The
effect of injectable HA typically lasts for 6 months or so.
With its ability to attract water, HA is the favored
moisturizing ingredient in high-end skin care products. Well, only in high-end
products simply because it is so expensive. It has been noted that it also helps
in healing skin with burns, wounds, or ulcers.
For anti-aging skin care, the challenge is
how to improve skin penetration of HA, thus improving its efficacy. HA is a
polymer that repeats itself, creating a very long chain molecule. Big molecules
will just stay on top of the skin, with limited anti-aging benefits when used
in creams and serum.
The breakthrough solution: control the polymer
size. That paved the way for the development of the new HA with low molecular
weight (LMW) that can work from within to smoothen out
fine lines. The LMW grades come in different sizes, with increasing effectiveness as
molecular size decreases. 

HYAL-C contains LMW hyaluronic acid and stabilized Vitamin C.

HYAL-C serum from
SkinStation is an excellent example of a product with the new LMW hyaluronic
acid. It contains nano-sized hyaluronic acid, the LMW grade with the smallest molecules.
The nano-grade can go deep into the dermal layer of the skin where hyaluronic
acid is needed most. The name HYAL stands for hyaluronic acid, while C refers
to vitamin C,a popular anti-aging and lightening ingredient, also present at
high levels in the serum. HYAL-C serum is a consistent best seller, loved for
its instant lifting effect.It might just be the“fountain of youth” you have
been looking for.

How about HA as a food supplement? Say, for
joint pains? So far, results from clinical studies on oral HA supplements have
not been encouraging. Orally taken HA do not simply migrate into the affected
joints. However, there are suggestions that the new LMW grades may yet provide
positive results.

This column was published in the Manila Bulletin Lifestyle Section on March 27, 2012. The
author is the CEO of SkinStation and Chemworld Fragrance Factory. He received
the 2011 Outstanding Chemist Award from Professional Regulations Commission for
his achievements in the field of cosmetic chemistry. Skin Smart will clarify
facts and myths on skin care. Questions sent to maybe featured in future

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