Hyaluronic Acid

EWG SCORE: 1What is EWG?

Hyaluronic Acid, also known as Sodium Hyaluronate, is a type of molecule found and produced naturally within the human body, concentrated in certain areas such as the skin, cartilage, and eyes.  It is similar to ceramide in many ways, including the fact that natural hyaluronic acid production decreases over time, and with the lower levels, comes a higher degree of skin dryness.  Other important roles of hyaluronic acid includes being a lubricator within the body allowing for easier movement, tissue repair, and to help retain moisture.

Hyaluronic Acid, as a natural source, exists in the tissues of animals; direct plant-sourced alternatives do not exist.  You can, however, help boost your own synthesis of this important molecule by consuming more food items that have the nutrients needed for this process, like citrus fruits and soy beans!

Ingredient Safety

Because knowing what goes into your skin is important.

As a compound that is produced and exists naturally within the human body, and other derivatives exhibiting similar functionality in most cases, hyaluronic acid has gained acceptance as a safe ingredient in numerous applications, including that of skincare.

EWG: 1 (Low Hazard)
As of July 31, 2019, EWG has noted over 1,500 products that contain hyaluronic acid, of which more than half is used in skincare products.  According to EWG’s information, Sodium Hyaluronate is considered to be a synonym of Hyaluronic Acid, as it may be confusing to see the two terms.  Noting over 16,000 studies within the NIH’s PubMed Science Library referencing Sodium Hyaluronate, there is no shortage of literature that would attest to the safety of this molecule.
You can view EWG’s Sodium Hyaluronate entry here.

US FDA:  Sodium Hyaluronate has been approved by the FDA for primarily injection-based and ocular treatments, including but not limited to the treatment of osteoarthritis, cataract extraction, and wrinkles.  A large number of other studies have noted on the safety and efficacy of Hyaluronic Acid when used topically, as found in the various and wide range of skincare products available today.
Read more about the Efficacy of Hyaluronic Acid at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Website
Read more about the Safety of Hyaluronic Acid at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Website

Effect Types

Categorization of what the effects of Hyaluronic Acid may be when used on the skin

Humectant: Considered the opposite of a dessicant, humectants like Hyaluronic Acids are used to help attract and retain moisture, essentially keeping things (like skin) moist.  Coupled with the fact that hyaluronic acid is naturally produced and used by the body drives the importance of this molecule in our daily lives, and provide subsequent benefits like those listed below. 

Moisturization:  The moisturizing properties of Hyaluronic Acids come from, in part, the humectant aspect as described above.  Hyaluronic Acids can come in different molecular weights, which means that they can be more effectively and deeply absorbed into the skin; this allows them to draw in and maintain a concentration of water from within, providing great benefits in keeping skin moisturized protecting against dryness.

Anti-Aging:  As a natural component that is produced within our own bodies, we lose the ability to produce high amounts of Hyaluronic Acid over the years.  Supplementation from other sources, including that ingested (food/drinks) as well as that which is applied (skincare), may very well provide benefits that fight against the visible signs of aging, including wrinkles and fine lines.  This works by plumping up the skin, pushing out ‘crevices’ within the skin, that would otherwise become lines.

References and Further Reading:
Hyaluronic Acid, a Promising Skin Rejuvination Biomedicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Hyaluronic Acid: A Key Molecule in Skin Aging, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
HYALURONIC ACID || Skin Deep Cosmetics Database | EWG

CHyaluronic Acid: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning – WebMD Dictionary
7 Surprising Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid, HealthLine

Recommended products with Hyaluronic Acid