What is Hyaluronic Acid?

So what is hyaluronic acid?  Although injectable dermal fillers can be made from a wide range of ingredients, many fillers available, including those offered at Prime Medical Spa, are made from hyaluronic acid. Like other common filler ingredients, hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by the body and production of it naturally decreases over time. Understanding what it can do for you and what it won’t do will help you make the best decision when thinking about dermal fillers.

What It Isn’t

Interestingly enough, despite its name, hyaluronic acid is not an acid. Instead, it’s a type of sugar. That means that it won’t act in the same way that an actual acid would. It doesn’t encourage cell turnover or help your skin peel. Instead, it helps keep your skin moisturized, soft, and plump.

What It Does

People tend to have higher levels of hyaluronic acid in their bodies when they are very young. You might think of a small child or toddler and how his or her skin tends to look dewy and plump, which is due to the higher levels of hyaluronic acid in his or her body. Usually, the skin, connective tissue and joint fluids contain it, as does the fluid in the eyes. Along with helping to keep your skin soft and moisturized, hyaluronic acid also helps nutrients travel from your blood to the cells that need them.

Dermal Fillers

Several brands of dermal fillers containing hyaluronic acid have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for either filling in wrinkles or adding volume to the face. Although they share an ingredient in common, each type of dermal filler varies from the others in some way. In some cases, the differences are major, in other cases, they are more subtle.

For example, injectables such as Juvederm and Restylane both contain hyaluronic acid. Both are approved by the FDA to be used to fill in the nasolabial lines, or those wrinkles that form between the mouth and nose. A skilled and trained provider may also administer the injection to fill in lines in other areas of the face, such as the vertical marionette lines between the nose and chin, horizontal lines across the forehead, and the tiny wrinkles that form above the lip. These injections might also be used to add volume to thinning lips.

Although they contain the same main ingredient and are usually used in the same areas of the face, Juvederm and Restylane aren’t the same. For one thing, they provide results that last for different amounts of time. You can expect results to last about six months after a Restylane injection. Juvederm, on the other hand, can provide results that last up to a year.

The two injectables also differ in terms of consistency and concentration. Juvederm is a bit smoother than Restylane. It also has a slightly higher concentration of  hyaluronic acid.

Juvederm is also available in another form, Juvederm Voluma. It also contains hyaluronic acid, but the goal of it and the results it provides are very different. As you might guess from its name, Voluma doesn’t fill in wrinkles. Instead, it adds volume to the face.

Voluma is approved by the FDA for adding volume to the cheek area. Along with developing lines and wrinkles, losing fat and facial volume is a common part of the aging process. Voluma restores some of that volume, creating a younger looking face.

The injection differs from regular Juvederm and Restylane in its consistency and in terms of the depth of the injection. Juvederm Voluma is a stiffer gel, created by cross linking hyaluronic acid. The injection is deeper than other fillers, to better add volume. Additionally, the results from an injection of Voluma last considerably longer than the results from other hyaluronic acid fillers — up to two years.

Other Forms

Hyaluronic acid isn’t only found in injectables. It’s also a common ingredient in topical moisturizers and other skincare products such as our Dermal Rejuvenation Gel sold exclusively at Prime. Using a topical product that contains hyaluronic acid won’t provide the same results as an injectable filler, but it can boost your skin’s moisture and can be a good way to help maintain the results from an injection.