HA is a mucopolysacharide that exists naturally in all living organisms. In humans it is found in larger concentrations in the articular joints, eye fluid and, most abundantly, in the skin.
As the protein can hold up to 1000 times its own weigh in water it is known to play a vital part in the ageing process once levels are depleted in the skin. Maintaining levels of HA, whether it be through supplements, topical applications or injections, is said to reduce wrinkles caused by dehydration and general ageing.
In the search for increasingly effective and non-invasive ways of fighting skin ageing, cosmetic companies are spending increasing dividends to develop products that feature HA.
In 2004 HA became the talk of the town in the US after Hyaluronic Acid filler facial injections started to become popular as a means of wiping out wrinkles for up to six weeks.
Further to this it then became popular in the US as a lip plumper in the form of City Lips by City Lips Cosmetics. The product apparently stimulates the lips into producing its own HA and collagen, which in turn is said to leave lips looking fuller, without resorting to injections.
Other cosmetic companies in the US that have focused on launching beauty serums that incorporate HA into the formulations in an effort to maintain skin smoothness and elasticity. According to E-HyaluronicAcid.com, these products include HA Gold Derma Beauty Serum Health Logics and Hyalruonic Serum - Skin Eternal Source Naturals.
But beauty products featuring HA are not just restricted to beauty serums. Moisturizers, creams, shampoos, conditioners and bath oils have also been launched by companies such as Now Foods, Skin External Products and Hyalogic.
Estee Lauder is the first of the mass market cosmetic companies to incorporate HA into anti-ageing product lines, and in doing so is the first to make a major move into the European market. Following the launch of the Perfectionist range in the US, it was then given a global roll-out, where it has been reportedly well received in markets such as France and the UK.
But there is one draw-back associated with the protein. Its price. Because of the complexity of the extraction process the costs associated with producing it means that it is destined to remain a premium product. Currently the Perfectionist CP+ range retails at €72.50 in Europe, reflecting the €100 per 1000mg price-tag for the protein.
However, as production is being stepped in China to meet global demands, the prospect is that HA will become more widely available on the global market and that prices will eventually fall.