Is hyaluronic acid really an anti-aging product?

What is hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan component. It is a naturally-occurring polysaccharide found in the human body and acts as a cushioning and lubrication agent for our joints, nerves, hair, skin and eyes.
It is thought to play a critical role in healthy skin by regulating water content, elasticity and the distribution of nutrients in our skin.
What are its benefits
Hyaluronic acid is a natural moisturizer with excellent water-binding capabilities that can hold 1000 times its weight in water.
In skin care, depending on the molecular weight, it imparts moisturizing, film forming, enhanced skin feel as well as nourishing and anti-aging properties. Usually, the lower molecular weight has higher penetration rate and anti-aging properties whereas the higher molecular weight has higher moisturizing and film forming properties.
Topical application of all 0.1% HA formulations used in a scientific study in the University of Munich led to significant improvement in skin hydration and elasticity. Application of low-molecular-weight (LMW) HA is associated with significant reduction of wrinkle depth, which may be due to better penetration abilities of LMW HA.
Another study proved that the new nano-hyaluronic acid (low molecular weight) clearly demonstrated a significant benefit in decreasing the depth of wrinkles (up to 40%), and skin hydration (up to 96%) and skin firmness and elasticity were significantly enhanced (up to 55%) at the end of eight weeks.
What’s the difference between high and low molecular weight hyaluronic acid?
You might have noticed that some hyaluronic products say on their label: ‘’contains different hyaluronic acid molecular weight’’. For a hyaluronic acid to product to deliver both instant and long-lasting effect you need a combination of molecular weights. ‘’Low- and medium-weight hyaluronan molecules penetrate deeper into the skin’s structure, providing maximum below-the-surface hydration and in turn rehydrating skin cells over time. High-weight hyaluronan molecules deliver immediate intensive hydration to the surface layers of the skin for an instant smoothing and firming effect.” Said Jeremy Muijs in his interview in well and good magazine.
When and how to use it in our routine
My recommendation is to find a product with at least two molecular weight ranges for a better performance.
For maximum effect apply it to damp skin, then top it off with a moisturizer or oil to seal it in.
It needs to be used every 24-48 hours.
Pavicic T, Gauglitz, Lersch P, et al. Efficacy of cream-based novel formulations of hyaluronic acid of different molecular weights in anti-wrinkle treatment. J Drugs Dermatol. 2011;10(9):990-1000
J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2019 Oct ;12(10):39-44 Published online 2019 Oct. 1. PMCID:PMC6937149