WHAT ARE THE FIVE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HYALURONIC ACID AND THEIR BENEFITS FOR YOUR FACE?
Published October 10, 2023
Hyaluronic acid is a highly popular cosmetic ingredient. Originally used in injections, this active ingredient now plays a key role in moisturizing treatments, given its ability to smooth skin tissue and restore tone and elasticity. But are you aware that there are several different types of hyaluronic acid, and each has different properties? In this article, we'll take a look at the different types and what each can do for your face. We'll also suggest a selection of hyaluronic acid-based treatments developed thanks to the skills and knowledge of FILORGA's formulation experts.
WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID?
Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that belongs to the carbohydrate family. It occurs naturally in the skin, as well as in the vitreous humor of the eye and in the synovial fluid of joints.
Around 50% of the body's total hyaluronic acid is found mainly in the dermis, and it is produced by specialized cells called fibroblasts. The epidermis also contains hyaluronic acid, albeit in smaller quantities. It needs to be constantly renewed because it's rapidly broken down within the different layers of the skin. Renewal is ensured by the body itself (this is called endogenous production) or via the application of hyaluronic acid-based treatments.
Its exceptional water retention capacity (one molecule can store around 1,000 times its own weight in water) means that hyaluronic acid is ideal for moisturizing the skin. It absorbs water like a sponge and forms a gel-like substance that fills empty spaces and protects the skin by acting like a shock absorber. This means it acts like a moisture reservoir, keeping the skin hydrated and warding off the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of skin aging.
As we age, there is progressively less hyaluronic acid in our skin. Its quality and size also decrease, reducing its capacity to hydrate and regenerate the skin. This natural fall-off is why experts recommend using creams and serums containing hyaluronic acid as part of your skincare routine.
DIFFERENT USES FOR DIFFERENT NEEDS
In addition to providing cosmetic benefits, hyaluronic acid is also used in a variety of applications, depending on its dosage form and molecular weight (the mass of each molecule):
- In healing ointments, it helps keep the skin hydrated and speeds up the healing process.
- In the dermal filler injections used in aesthetic medicine, it can reduce wrinkle depth, shape the face, and plump up lips.
- In rheumatology, it's used to treat osteoarticular conditions like osteoarthritis and to restore the lubricating properties of synovial fluid.
- In ophthalmology, it's used to protect the eye during surgery.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HYALURONIC ACID FOR THE FACE
We've just looked at the fact that there are several types of hyaluronic acid, not just one. We use five in our treatments, and these vary in two ways:
- The molecular weight. A low molecular weight increases hyaluronic acid's ability to penetrate the skin, and a high molecular weight increases its effect on the surface.
- The structure, which can be linear or cross-linked.
Each type has different qualities, so it's a good idea to combine them to get the most out of their anti-ageing effects. Let's get into details.
LOW MOLECULAR WEIGHT HYALURONIC ACID
Thanks to its small size, this fragmented form of hyaluronic acid can easily penetrate the deeper layers of the skin. It binds water within the skin and therefore hydrates it. Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid also provides regenerative benefits. It can:
- Stimulate cell proliferation (the multiplication of skin cells).
- Stimulate the endogenous production of hyaluronic acid. When hyaluronic acid is deficient in the skin, hyaluronic acid fragments tell cells that they need to produce more.
- Stimulate the production of type I collagen. This is the most abundant form of collagen in the human body and is responsible for giving the skin its structure.
MEDIUM MOLECULAR WEIGHT HYALURONIC ACID
This penetrates the surface layers of the skin and rapidly improves epidermal hydration. Treatments containing this type of hyaluronic acid help to maintain improved skin hydration throughout the day.
HIGH MOLECULAR WEIGHT HYALURONIC ACID
This will not penetrate the skin. It instead forms a non-occlusive protective film that prevents moisture loss and strengthens the protective barrier on the skin's surface.
ENCAPSULATED HIGH MOLECULAR WEIGHT HYALURONIC ACID
As mentioned above, high molecular weight hyaluronic acid does not penetrate the skin due to its size. Using the encapsulation technique, we can bypass this barrier and deliver the hyaluronic acid to the deeper layers of the skin, where it will then be able to gain volume by retaining water.
By increasing the amount of space occupied between cells, it can plump the skin from within, restoring tone and smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles. Our cosmetic tests demonstrated that wrinkles were smoothed out 1 hour and 6 hours after the application of a cream containing encapsulated hyaluronic acid.
CROSS-LINKED HYALURONIC ACID
Ordinary hyaluronic acid has a linear structure. Basically, it's a series of atoms that form an almost straight line. At high concentrations, the linear molecules of hyaluronic acid come together to form what's known as a cross-linked structure.
This variant of conventional hyaluronic acid forms a protective film on the skin's surface, providing protection against external stresses, the harmful effects of UV radiation, and oxidative stress.
To recap, the five different types of hyaluronic acid we've just talked about combine to promote:
- A decrease in the effects of skin aging.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE HYDRA HYALURONIC ACID TREATMENT COLLECTION
The HYDRA facial skincare collection was launched in 2022 and is formulated using hyaluronic acids of different molecular weights. The HYDRA treatments draw their inspiration from injections used in aesthetic medicine and are suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
The collection consists of three exceptional skincare treatments:
- HYDRA-HYAL SERUM is the collection's cornerstone. It's applied directly after cleansing your skin. Its formula combines the five different types of hyaluronic acid we looked at above with an antioxidant-rich extract of the Japanese pagoda tree. The result is immediate plumping and 24-hour moisturization*, while also providing optimal protection against external stresses.
- To complement the serum, our HYDRA-HYAL CREAM also contains the five different types of hyaluronic acid to provide intense moisturization for normal to dry skin.
- People with oily skin can replace this moisturizer with our HYDRA-FILLER MAT, which is our mattifying anti-aging treatment. Enriched with a pore-minimizing Pistacia lentiscus extract, this treatment guarantees a perfect complexion.
Find out more about all of the products in the HYDRA collection.
*Clinical study - 20 volunteers - after a single application of the HYDRA-HYAL SERUM.