How does Hyaluronic Acid work in Anti-Aging?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) treatments achieve great results at comparatively low prices.
The range of possible applications is wide and so is the range of possible treatment costs. But whether the therapy is based on simple wrinkle treatment, lip augmentation or a complete liquid lift of the face, the prices of HA injections will always be lower than those of a surgical intervention.
The same is true for risks and possible side effects. But even though HA treatments are usually very safe, they are by no means trivial.
Therefore they belong into the competent hands of a seasoned therapist. Especially in recent times, some serious incidents with HA fillers have been circulating through the media, all of them carried out by people without sufficient medical qualification.
From a chemical point of view, hyaluronic acid is a long-chain, multiple-sugar molecule.
It is naturally found in the human body and plays a role wherever the binding of water is important.
The most important property of hyaluronic acid is its enormously high water-binding capacity.
The human body therefore has important hyaluronic acid depots in the joints, cartilage, bones, eyeballs and skin.
Hyaluronic acid injections are therefore not only of therapeutic interest for aesthetic medicine, but have also long been common practice in orthopaedics, for example.
Hyaluronic acid as a component of the connective tissue gives the skin volume, elasticity and resilience.
Moreover, it protects the collagen and elastin fibres from premature ageing. Both functions are important for a fresh and youthful appearance.
Over time, however, the skin’s natural hyaluronic acid content decreases due to various physiological and environmental factors.
These include the natural ageing process or exposure to UV radiation (sun light).
The resulting decrease in hyaluronic acid leads to a loss of moisture and elasticity, which leads to tissue slackening and wrinkles.
The ageing process has a negative effect on the skin, but also on the firmness of the tissue and the shape of the face in general.
The youthful “V” shape becomes a clear “O“. Central parts of the face, such as the cheeks, no longer act as supports for a dynamic facial expression, but on the contrary create a flabby, drooping impression.
The idea of compensating for the loss of the body’s own hyaluron by means of HA fillers was therefore already being contemplated towards the end of the last century.
And since 1996, synthetic hyaluronic acid has become widely available to replace lost natural depots, add plumpness to the tissue and thus improve aesthetics.
In general, so-called cross-linked hyaluronic acid fillers are used for these threatments. Due to their inherent insolubility in water, they are ideally suited for injections to treat wrinkles and restore volume.
In contrast, native non-cross-linked hyaluronic acid aims to set certain metabolic processes in motion. But due to its instability it does not yield long lasting effects, thus is not suitable for augmentative treatments.
There are various hyaluronic acid formulations available in the market today which differ, among other things, in hyaluronic acid content, particle size, viscosity, type of stabilisation and durability.
Different products can therefore be chosen for different treatment purposes, usually in the form of ready-to-use syringes.
The quality of the HA filler usually also drives the cost of a treatment, next to the size of the area to be treated and the complexity of the case.
The direct cost of a HA filler usually accounts for around 50% of the total costs of a treatment and even more when treatment areas are large.
This should make it clear that the choice of a high-quality HA filler with a long-lasting effect has a decisive influence on the final price of a HA treatment.
In addition to the immediate volume effect, injections of hyaluronic acid also biostimulate the tissue.
This means that hyaluronic acid not only adds plumpness to the tissue, but also causes the skin to regenerate itself by activating fibroblasts (connective tissue cells) and stimulating the production of new collagen fibres.
This biorevitalisation is mainly due to the “native” properties of modern hyaluronic acid fillers, which stimulate the anabolic metabolism of fibroblasts.
The mesotherapeutic hyaluronic acid treatment with “non-cross-linked” hyaluronic acid products is mainly based on this effect. In mesotherapy, the focus is not on directly adding plumpness to the tissue or smooth out wrinkles, but on the long-term aesthetic improvement through the activation of metabolic processes.
In my practice in Munich I treat my patients mainly with cross-linked hyaluronic acid products from JUVEDERM.
I use Juvéderm VOLITE, which is a very low-viscosity, native hyaluronic acid that comes very close to mesotherapy, for superficial applications where the main focus is on moisturising the treated area.
This superficial treatment with hyaluronic acid is also known as skin-boosting. At best, subtle smoothing effects are achieved on wrinkled skin, the main focus being on improving the skin’s appearance and regaining a moisture-induced “glow”.
Hyaluronic acid as a “skin booster” is suitable for the face, neck and décolleté as well as the hands.
The skin is moisturised “from the inside” so to speak, something that is only possible with hyaluronic acid injections and no topical moisturizer can do, no matter how modern (and expensive) it may be.
I use the two Juvéderm products VOLIFT and VOLUMA for the treatment of deeper wrinkles and the addition of plumpness to the tissue.
HA filler treatments are suitable for tear throughs, nasolabial folds, cheek, chin and puppet lines.
HA can also be injected to lift sunken corners of the mouth and smooth out all kinds of depressions (scars).
The Juvéderm HA filler VOLBELLA I use mainly for lip augmentation.
The latest addition to the Juvéderm range of HA fillers is VOLUX. It is ideal for modelling large and exposed areas of the face such as the chin.
Chemically, all these products are the same, they only differ in the degree of cross-linking, which affects their viscosity as well as their dimensional stability and thus ultimately the durability of the effect.
In comparison to other hyaluronic acid fillers, the products mentioned above are characterised by a longer durability of the effect, which is why they also come at relatively higher costs from the manufacturer, which translates into slightly higher treatment costs.