WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID AND WHY IS IT ESSENTIAL TO YOUTHFUL SKIN? #9 copyright

The skin is the largest organ of the body, comprising 15% of the total body weight and 50% of the Hyaluronic acid found in the body is located in the skin. The rest is distributed in the joints and eyes etc.

For starters, hyaluronic acid is not an acid in the same sense as glycolic acid or salicylic acid. It does not …burn and it will not exfoliate your skin and nor will it peel it. In its chemical make-up, it is a carbohydrate, more specifically a glycosaminoglycan (comprised of sugars). It is a jelly like substance that holds collagen and elastin together and is constantly bathing them in its hydrating gelatinous fluid. When you take the three components – collagen, elastin (protein fibers) and a glycosaminoglycan, that unit is called a proteo-glycan (meaning, a combination of a protein and sugar).If the skin does not have sufficient HA (hyaluronic acid), the collagen and elastin fibers start to dry up. Eventually, the dryness will make the fibers snap. If the fiber happens to be collagen, you are likely to get a wrinkle and if the snapped fiber is elastin, it generally leads to sagging.

I have always given the analogy of a twig to my clients and students. If you bend a green sapling all the way and let it go, it is so resilient because of the hydrating sap inside that it will bounce back without breaking. Now if you bend a twig which is dry and without any water content, what do you think happens? It snaps and breaks. That is exactly what happens to the skin when the moisture levels are either very low or almost non-existent, especially in older and more mature skin when HA production decreases!

Without HA, our skin and bodies would comprise of trillions of cells without anything to hold them together or give the body some shape or form. It draws as much as 1000 times its own weight in water. This means that if you are in a humid environment, the HA will draw all this moisture from the environment. 1000 times is a whopping number and you can imagine the amount of hydration support it gives the skin. However, if you live in a dry location, the opposite could happen. Since the HA could not find any moisture in the air to attract to the skin, it will try drawing the moisture from your own skin, further drying it. Hence, there is a catch!

Remember, therefore, to add a few drops of oil such as borage, omega 6, grapeseed or lavender oil to the Hyaluronic serum that you may be using topically so that dry air does not rob you of the moisture support you need for tight, hydrated and youthful skin.

There is something that you should know about the fragility of HA. If you are not applying it topically to supplement what is created naturally within the dermal layer of the skin, then know that the life of an HA molecule produced naturally, is 1-3 days only after which it is excreted from the body. Hence, if it is not being replenished regularly, our skin and bodies are in trouble. From the standpoint of the skin, dryness, lack luster appearance and finally, wrinkling or sagging will occur. From the standpoint of the body, you may experience stiffness and pain in the joints (some people take glucosamine and chondroiton for that purpose) and dryness in the eyes.

What are the hyaluronic acid rich foods? Organ meats such as heart, liver, kidney, gizzard and meats such as lamb, beef, turkey, goose and duck. In the fruit section, cherries are considered one of the highest sources as are bananas. Fish oils and especially cod liver oil provides about 8,400 mcgs of Vitamin A which helps in the manufacture of hyaluronic acid as do potatoes and sweet potatoes.

My final thoughts on hyaluronic acid are that it is imperative for supple, moist and youthful skin and hence, a diet rich in it would be helpful but applying it topically would benefit the skin faster as it bypasses the digestive tract which may or may not be in peak working condition. Always, remember, that it is not what you eat alone that impacts on your health but more importantly what the body is able to absorb.

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