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Cosmetics companies have made hyaluronic acid a strong point for the promotion of anti-ageing creams and serums. It is the main selling point of “miraculous” products, as advertised on social media and in beauty magazines: it is impossible not to have heard of hyaluronic acid, especially if you are particularly attentive to appearance and beauty care.

But aside from what is said in the media, what is it that makes hyaluronic acid such a key element in beauty treatments and, in particular, for fillers used in aesthetic medicine to combat the signs of ageing and redefine facial volume?

It is essential, especially when considering fillers containing this molecule, to understand its characteristics well.

In this article, we will find out about the effects of hyaluronic acid on the face, together with the main advantages and disadvantages of its use.

In particular, we will look at the following:

How does hyaluronic acid work on the face?

Before analysing the effects of hyaluronic acid on the face, let’s take a look at what we are talking about, because the main benefits of  hyaluronic acid are due to its very nature.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is in fact a molecule naturally present in our body, in the dermis.

It is a linear polysaccharide (in simple terms, a sugar) produced by fibroblasts or in other words, the cells that serve to hydrate the tissues.

The physiological process of ageing leads to a gradual drop in the amount of hyaluronic acid in the tissues and this contributes to a loss of skin hydration, tone, elasticity and firmness.

It is for this reason that hyaluronic acid is used in the main treatments to combat facial wrinkles.

What are the advantages of hyaluronic acid?

Let’s take a look at the benefits of hyaluronic acid on the face, taking into account the fact that the type and intensity of the results will vary a great deal based on the type of treatment used.

  1. It intensively moisturises and replenishes the skin, deep down.
  2. It prevents wrinkles caused by external elements (such as exposure to UV rays, pollution and the elements) by eliminating the free radicals that cause them.
  3. It fills wrinkles, smoothing out even the deepest ones.
  4. It boosts skin regeneration, which helps to combat ageing and keep skin looking younger.
  5. It stimulates the fibroblasts to produce collagen, an essential protein for supporting the skin’s structure which, like hyaluronic acid, is naturally present in the body and tends to diminish with age.
  6. It plumps and restores volume to the skin that, over time, tends to ’empty’, making it firm, supple and turgid again.
  7. It redefines the facial volumes that become lost with age or, for younger people, by acting where there is a request to improve certain aspects (e.g. cheekbones).
  8. It can plump thin lips while giving a natural effect
  9. It can be used to correct small asymmetries or bumps in the nose in a completely non-invasive and painful way compared to actual cosmetic surgery.

In fact, hyaluronic acid on the face, in the case of mature skin, restores the natural condition of young skin by compensating for the age-related loss of this molecule.

In the case of young skin, on the other hand, it acts in a targeted manner by correcting the patient’s flaws without disrupting their original appearance.

What are the disadvantages of hyaluronic acid?

So far we have talked about the benefits of hyaluronic acid on the face.

But what are the possible disadvantages or side effects of using fillers?

Whereas in the past hyaluronic acid was obtained from cockscombs, thanks to enormous advances in research, it is now produced industrially from bacterial cultures.

For example, Foliage by Phitogen uses, for all its formulations, pure hyaluronic acid, produced by fermentation from streptococcus, which guarantees superior quality and absolute safety.

The resulting product, in fact, has chemical and physical characteristics identical to the hyaluronic acid produced physiologically by our cells and therefore it can be reabsorbed completely by the body.

So, while it is true that any substance that is injected into the body may have reactions or side effects, this possibility is closely linked to the quality of the fillers used and the competence of the person performing the treatment.

Therefore, choosing only the best hyaluronic acid for the face is essential to achieve a natural, long-lasting result that is safe in terms of health.

In rare exceptions, mild symptoms such as slight swelling, redness and small haematomas may appear immediately after treatment, but these will gradually disappear within a few days.

How do you apply hyaluronic acid to the face?

We have seen what the benefits of hyaluronic acid on the face can be and what the possible disadvantages are.

Now let’s take a look at how it can be applied, bearing in mind that, depending on the type of treatment chosen, the results will be more or less visible and more or less lasting.

Hyaluronic acid creams

The application of hyaluronic acid creams is, without doubt, the simplest.

While it is true that this type of product is able to hydrate the skin deep down, which is indispensable for combating wrinkles, it is equally true that its exclusive use may be sufficient in terms of prevention but not for more pronounced wrinkles.

This is because in creams or related products, hyaluronic acid is used at a high molecular weight. More simply this means that it will not penetrate completely.

Therefore, the use of these cosmetic products will only perform the function of retaining water and better moisturising the dermis.

This is not insignificant and it is essential at all ages, but it also requires continuous and constant use, and the results will be neither immediate nor too obvious.

Cosmetic fillers

We are still talking about cosmetic and nutraceutical products for topical use but if used regularly, these can give better results than the previous ones.

The same holds true for creams, i.e. because HA is too large a molecule, when applied to the skin, it is unable to cross the epidermal intercellular spaces in the epidermis and reach the dermis underneath, which is essential to ensure the benefits of hyaluronic acid on the face.

However, in cosmetic fillers, the low-density hyaluronic acid fragments are small enough to penetrate the skin.

In this way, they can reach the dermis and support and stimulate fibroblast activity. Although they do not guarantee striking results, there are facial serums with high concentrations of hyaluronic acid that are very effective.

Finally, there is a third category, namely hyaluronic acid fillers, which, entering the field of aesthetic medicine, deserves a separate discussion.

What are fillers?

A ‘filler’ literally does what it says on the tin.

In aesthetic medicine, when we talk about fillers, we are referring to substances that can be injected, via very fine needles, into the dermis or subcutaneous tissue, the aim of which is, precisely, to ‘fill in’, for example:

  • Smoothing out wrinkles
  • Plumping lips
  • Filling the empty-looking volumes on the oval of the face
  • Sunken eyes

There are different types of fillers, but current trends in aesthetic medicine increasingly see a choice between collagen-based or hyaluronic acid-based fillers, as both of these substances are naturally present in the body and, therefore, very well tolerated.

In particular, when it comes to the face, hyaluronic acid is gaining ground compared to other solutions.

In this case, HA takes the form of a transparent gel that a medical professional injects into the areas of the face to be treated.

In this regard, it is imperative only to consult experienced doctors, qualified in aesthetic medicine, despite the fact that this is a non-invasive and simple treatment for practitioners. Otherwise, the risk is to make rough errors that would compromise the patient’s image or even their health.

Hyaluronic acid injections vary in density, from very soft and fluid to heavier and more volume-boosting, depending on the part of the face to be treated, respecting the anatomical districts known to trained and experienced professionals.

For example:

  • To correct crow’s feet or barcodes (i.e. the area above the upper lip), a softer injector will be used.
  • For volume restoration or the reduction of medium-intensity wrinkles, a somewhat more structured HA will be used.
  • For a volumetric cheekbone augmentation or rhinoplasty , a denser hyaluronic acid will be used for the face.

Foliage by Phitogen a company with more than 20 years’ experience in the production of HA-based injectables, offers, for instance, several lines of high-end hyaluronic acid fillers and 100% Made in Italy.

The duration of the effect of fillers may vary from patient to patient and depend on the type of procedure, but it can last roughly between 6 and 8 months.

What does hyaluronic acid do to the face? Conclusions

We have seen all the main characteristics and what hyaluronic acid can do for the face.

Whatever the type of imperfection to be corrected, it is important to know that the current trends in aesthetic medicine, which see hyaluronic acid play a leading role, are getting closer and closer to the concept of natural beauty.

Therefore, resorting to the most modern types of HA-based fillers means not wanting to appear like one has had work done, with the classic, unsightly ‘botox effect’.

What it does mean is seeking a visible improvement while respecting a person’s nature, not trying to take off twenty years but rather, looking good for one’s age and being comfortable with one’s image without exaggerating.

Foliage is the result of 20 years' experience of Phitogen Beauty Labs - a leading group in the production of hyaluronic acid-based injectables. Foliage distributes a complete range of high-performing intradermal products.

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