Do Hyaluronic Acid Injections Moisturize the Skin?
This is a great question because there is some confusing information out there.
There are topical Hyaluronic Acid products that hydrate the skin and Hyaluronic Acid injections to plump the skin. So, does that mean that hyaluronic acid injections are plumping and hydrating?
The answer is NOT EXACTLY, mostly because of the FDA approved fillers we currently available have in the US.
Hyaluronic Acid is a nonsulfated glycosaminoglycan…what??? That means that it is a very large sugar that is found in the complex environment that is already surrounding your cells. It is known to contribute to cell growth and migration, but most important in aesthetics, it takes up space. Hyaluronic Acid fillers are gels made up of these large sugars that will “take up space” or add volume where you inject it. The product is used to fill in smile lines, return fullness to cheeks or add a little extra to your pout.
Each filler product attracts a different amount of water. Some attract quite a bit and may cause some swelling for a couple of days after injection, but many of the newer ones do not attract much at all. These newer fillers have less swelling making the immediate result closer to the final result. So, with these fillers it’s actually better to have less “hydration”.
There ARE, however, injectable products that are made to hydrate. Juvederm Hydrate was launched in the UK and Europe in 2010 but is not FDA approved and therefore not available in the US. In case you are curious, there are thousands of fillers available outside of the US! Talk about having options! Juvederm Hydrate is a different type of filler in that it has Hyaluronic Acid, but also has Mannitol. Both, particularly the Mannitol, attract water.
This medication is used to pull water out other spaces and into the space that it is in, usually to control pressure on certain organs like the brain or eyes. The other important action of Mannitol that is useful is that it is an antioxidant. One of the ways that Hyaluronic Acid can be broken down is through free radicals. We have studies starting in the orthopedics literature showing injections of Hyaluronic Acid into joints to lubricate the joints, lasts longer and works better if Mannitol is added. When injected supifically into the skin, this product uses this water pulling capability to pull water into the skin. It is injected in very small amounts into the upper layers of skin and pulls water in, helping keep the skin hydrated and plumping the skin, filling in fine lines. Think of how a water balloon is firm and smooth when filled up. You get a similar effect throughout the skin of the face, neck, chest, and hands. The company claims the effect lasts 4-6 months and I can’t wait to try it out to see for myself. Keep in mind that FDA approval takes several years, so it might be a while before we can experience it for ourselves.