Hyaluronic Acid has been doing rounds of the beauty and wellness industry for a while now. Known to be a humectant for the skin, it has now become a staple with many skincare brands.
However, did you know that this little wonder molecule does more than make your skin supple? Let’s dive in and understand how we can pair it with age-old Ayurvedic remedies.
Our Aging Skin
Every single day, aging takes place. As this happens, countless changes take place within your body and skin. Add to this the stress of daily routines, there are external factors such as pollution. You may not notice it, but your doshas, dhatus, and ojas play an important role in the process of aging.
Ayurveda emphasizes that multiple factors influence the health of your skin. These include a proper balance of moisture (balanced Kapha), effective blood and nutrient circulation to the different layers of the skin (balanced Vata) and efficient functioning of your metabolic activities and hormones (balanced Pitta). Rasa (nutritional fluids), rakta (blood), and mamsa (muscles) are a reflection of healthy skin.
Anti-aging therapies for your skin based on your doshas revolve around the following:
Vata: Products that nourish and rehydrate dry Vata skin help prevent wrinkles and fine lines. These include natural moisturizers and warm oils for abhyanga.
Pitta: Being the most photosensitive, Pitta skin greatly benefits from sunscreens and facial skin oils, which help block the sun’s harmful rays.
Kapha: Most likely to accumulate ama (toxins) over the years, oily Kapha skin benefits best from daily warm oil massages and gentle exfoliation.
Hyaluronic acid can be the perfect answer to the issues with each dosha-specific skin type, aiding the restorative, anti-aging process.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
A translucent and viscous chemical compound produced naturally within the body, hyaluronic acid is primarily found in the skin, connective tissues, and eyes. It is composed of a group of sugar molecules that primarily maintain the skin’s elasticity and cushion and lubricate the connective tissues in the body.
Hyaluronic acid is a humectant — a hygroscopic ingredient that draws moisture from the environment. To be specific, a single humectant molecule can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. Owing this trait, it stimulates hydration in your skin and minimizes signs of aging. By hydrating and plumping the skin, it makes fine lines and wrinkles less prominent.
Over time, age and external factors such as smoking, stress, and pollution deplete your natural reserves of this molecule. However, topical products, combined with other herbs, can help replenish hyaluronic acid in your skin.
Is it Safe to Use?
A moisturizing product that leaves the skin feeling light, fresh, and hydrated, hyaluronic acid is safe and effective for all skin types and can be applied every day. From young to mature skin, or even for those suffering from rosacea and eczema, everyone can benefit from the soothing properties of this magic ingredient. What’s more, it has a very low risk of inducing allergy and irritability, making it a boon for sensitive skin.
What are the Sources of Hyaluronic Acid?
Although hyaluronic acid is produced within the body, it is now widely available in gels and serums for topical application, as injectable fillers for the skin, as eye drops, and even as supplements for oral intake. However, certain foods help stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid in the body. These include:
Bone broth: A broth produced by the slow boiling of beef or chicken bones in water contains hyaluronic acid along with other nutrients, such as amino acids, potassium, and zinc.
Leafy greens: Leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, collards, mustard greens, and fennel are abundant in antioxidants, beta carotene, and vitamins B and E. These aid the formation and repair of skin cells while also boosting the production of hyaluronic acid.
Soy: Soy-based products such as edamame, tofu, tempeh, and soy milk are rich in plant-based estrogens, which help improve the firmness and elasticity of the skin while stimulating hyaluronan production.
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, Brazil nuts, pecans, hemp, and chia seeds are great reserves of nutrients that boost the synthesis of hyaluronan.
Sweet potato: Starchy sweet potatoes are rich in magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. In combination, these are great for stimulating the production of hyaluronic acid.
Broccoli: This green cruciferous vegetable is chock-full of skin health-boosting minerals. It also contains nutrients that prevent the degradation of your body's existing hyaluronic acid reserves. High levels of vitamin C also boost the production of collagen within your cells and are known to increase the skin’s moisture levels.
Fruits: While fruits do not contain hyaluronan, they’re known to trigger the production as well as prevent the depletion of hyaluronic acid present inherently in the body.
What are the Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid?
Healthy, moisturized skin Research shows that dry skin is more vulnerable to damage caused by external and environmental factors. This also exacerbates skin conditions such as dermatitis, rosacea, and acne. Hyaluronic acid binds moisture to the skin, thereby making the skin barrier tougher yet more supple. This helps reduce the risk of crack formation due to dryness.
Recommendation: As an active, water-soluble ingredient, niacinamide can be combined with hyaluronic acid. The combination is highly effective for maintaining the skin’s pH balance between 5.0 and 7. Together, the ingredients boost skin tissue regeneration and help rebuild the skin structure.
Reduces signs of aging As a humectant, hyaluronic acid binds water and retains moisture. This helps smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and imparts a firm, more youthful look to the skin. For this, many use hyaluronic acid serums, supplements, and even fillers to keep their skin looking young. A study showed that anti-wrinkle creams containing hyaluronic acid reduced the appearance of wrinkles by 13 to 30% in study participants.
Recommendation:Nigella Sativa or blackseed is well known in Ayurveda for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is rich in amino acids, vitamin A, omega 3, 6, and 9, and thymoquinone. Combined with hyaluronic acid, it boosts the production of collagen and elastin to reduce visible signs of aging from facial and undereye skin.
Repairs sun damage Hyaluronic acid is increasingly being recommended as a product that repairs skin damage caused by the harsh UV rays of the sun because it can scavenge free radicals formed from prolonged sun exposure. It also helps fade pigmentation and scars caused by the sun’s harsh rays.
Recommendation: Aloe vera or ghrit kumari has often been recognized for its excellent healing properties. Being rich in vitamins, amino acids, phytosterols, and polysaccharides, it is also anti-inflammatory and can reduce sun damage. When hyaluronic acid and this rasayana herb are combined, they make a great pair for skin healing caused due to the harmful rays of the sun.
Under eye care Baggy, loose skin under the eyes is often the first tell-tale sign of aging. Applying hyaluronic acid can help reverse the signs of undereye wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid draws moisture and smooths loose skin and fine lines, making it appear firmer and more youthful. Because of this, hyaluronic acid is a trusted ingredient in most under-eye creams. It is also known to improve the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone under the eyes.
Recommendation: The glycosides present in Manjistha brighten the skin. Being Varnya (radiance enhancing), Rakta Prasadaka (blood soothing), and Rakta Sodhaka (blood purifying), it works wonders for your baggy and puffy eyes. In combination with hyaluronic acid, it can be perfect for lightening the dark circles under the eyes.
Wound healing Research shows that hyaluronic acid plays a key role in wound healing by regulating inflammation levels, boosting the development of blood vessels, and reducing wound size. Its antibacterial properties also reduce the risk of infection in wounds.
Oral Health Hyaluronic acid’s anti-inflammatory properties make it effective for preventing or treating gum disease, eliminating oral ulcers, and speeding up recovery post-dental surgery.
Relieves joint pain Hyaluronic acid helps lock in moisture in the joints and connective tissue to support joint movement without triggering pain. In fact, studies have shown that taking hyaluronic acid supplements significantly reduced knee pain in people with osteoarthritis.
Soothes symptoms of acid reflux Hyaluronic acid helps repair the damaged lining of the oesophagus caused by acid reflux. Research has shown that supplements containing hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux. This helps soothe the burning sensation that follows acid reflux.
Relieves dry eye As hyaluronic acid is excellent at retaining moisture, it is a perfect treatment for dry eyes.
Preserves bone strength Studies are being conducted to confirm the effectiveness of hyaluronic acid in the prevention of bone loss and the strengthening of bone tissue.
Hyaluronic acid is indeed a wondrous molecule that can work miracles for every dosha and skin type. With scientifically proven results, it is sure to become a skincare staple. However, for the best results, don’t forget to pair it with products that meet your specific needs.