Hyaluronic Acid is Juvederm’s Key Ingredient—But What Is It?

When it comes to cosmetic skincare, few treatments are as popular as Juvederm® injections. Dallas-based dermatologist Dr. Ellen Turner and her team perform them for women and men alike and see no sign of their popularity waning.

Juvederm® fillers are likely so popular because of their versatility and established effectiveness, given the years of study that have gone into developing the various formulas. There are multiple fillers in the Juvederm® family, each designed to address a specific age-related facial contour or texture change by introducing hyaluronic acid into the skin.

But what is hyaluronic acid?

In scientific terms, hyaluronic acid is a carbohydrate made up of many sugar molecules linked together. In strictly cosmetic terms, it’s the reason youthful skin looks healthy, pleasantly rounded, and smooth.

Hyaluronic acid has a unique ability to hold onto water molecules, so its presence means skin will be well hydrated—and well-hydrated skin is firm, resilient, and pliable skin. All of these are vital properties for our largest organ, which serves as a barrier against the outside world and must provide structure and support while at the same time be able to be pushed, pulled, and stretched out of shape, then “bounce back” to the way it was before.

Those are considerable demands, but hyaluronic acid (along with help from collagen and elastin) is more than up to the challenge.

It is easy to see, then, that a loss of hyaluronic acid can lead to cosmetic changes.

Hyaluronic acid molecules are not immortal. Over time, they break down. In fact, they have a half life of less than 24 hours in the skin. Fortunately, hyaluronic acid molecules are constantly replaced, so adequate levels can be maintained, even if external damage from ultraviolet radiation breaks them down even faster than their natural rate.

Over time, however, this automatic turnover begins to slow. The natural aging process begins to take a toll on hyaluronic acid production, leading to a situation where the molecules are breaking down faster than they can be replaced. This disparity is made even worse by environmental factors, like UV rays. The combination of changes due to aging and external damage leads to a loss of hyaluronic acid in the skin. Without its main water-binding molecule, skin begins to lose moisture.

Eventually, people begin to see the opposite of a youthful look, since poorly hydrated skin is lax, inelastic, and brittle. Chronic dehydration is a major culprit in making someone look older, since dry skin allows lines to form (static wrinkles) and contributes to skin’s inability to return to its smooth form after being pulled by muscles into an expression (dynamic wrinkles).

Years go, skincare researchers realized that if hyaluronic acid could be replaced in the skin, properties associated with adequate hydration could be restored. Injections were made with hyaluronic acid extracted from rooster combs, which—though effective—also carried the risk of prompting allergic reactions in certain people.

Further research ultimately yielded a way to create hyaluronic acid in the lab. Since it’s not derived from an animal, there are no related concerns, but the benefits are the same. Once injected, the molecules get to work by adding volume and retaining water molecules. Hyaluronic acid-based fillers can be used to soften nasolabial folds, address hollowed cheeks, and make thin lips appear rounder and fuller.

Even this injected hyaluronic acid will eventually break down, though the skin-rejuvenating results from Juvederm® treatments can last from months to years, depending on the formula chosen and where it is injected. If a fresh boost is needed, a new injection can be made.

As hinted at above, hyaluronic acid is not the only element of youthful-looking skin. That said, injections for hyaluronic acid-based fillers can also address the age-related cosmetic problems associated with collagen and elastin loss. There is some indication that injections can even stimulate new collagen production.

For more information about hyaluronic acid, Juvederm®, and other cosmetic treatments available in the Dallas area, contact dermatologist Dr. Ellen Turner by calling 214.373.7546 or sending a message online.

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Categories: Beauty Lifestyle