Definition of Hyaluronic Acid
Previously a substance exclusively used for surgery, hyaluronic acid has recently begun to show up in more general products, such as lotions and oral supplements. Its appearance in such products has cause health-conscious consumers to question this ingredient’s origin, purpose and safety.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide. It is a thick, slimy substance. Our bodies produce it naturally in abundance, but it can also be made synthetically.
Hyaluronic acid lubricates joints, maintains the shape of our eyes, and helps build and maintain connective tissue. This substance is partly responsible for plump and youthful skin, well-working joints and stretchy connective tissue.
Hyaluronic acid is often used in plastic surgery by injection of a product called Restylane to erase wrinkles and plump up lips. It is also used in many forms of joint surgery to better cushion and support weakened, rheumatoid, or arthritis-inflicted joints.
Hyaluronic acid can also be found in several over-the-counter products. Many modern skin creams that claim to reduce the appearance of aging and lessen wrinkles use hyaluronic acid in their product. Oral supplements are also used, and can be found at most supplement stores.
The most common side effects of non-natural usage of hyaluronic acid are possible swelling, bruising, pain or tenderness and itchiness. These symptoms are caused by our body’s initial rejection of the foreign substance, and will likely not occur unless you are allergic or particularly sensitive.