Hyaluronic acid is a gooey, slippery substance that your body produces naturally. Scientists have found hyaluronic acid throughout the body, especially in eyes, joints and skin.
Hyaluronic (pronounced hi-ah-lew-ron-ic) acid — also known as hyaluronan or hyaluronate — is a gooey, slippery substance that your body produces naturally. Scientists have found hyaluronic acid throughout the body, especially in eyes, joints and skin.
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Hyaluronic acid is a remarkable substance because of all the benefits and uses it has in your body. Here are just a few of the benefits of hyaluronic acid:
Hyaluronic acid is often produced by fermenting certain types of bacteria. Rooster combs (the red, Mohawk-like growth on top of a rooster’s head and face) are also a common source.
Yes. Research shows that hyaluronic acid is safe to use. Reactions or adverse effects from hyaluronic acid are rare, and it’s safe to use if you’re pregnant or nursing.
Products that combine hyaluronic acid with other medications or compounds may have some risks of side effects.
It’s important to tell your healthcare provider about all medications that you’re taking, including supplements, vitamins, etc. They can help you better understand any potential concerns.
There are many ways you can take hyaluronic acid (either on its own or in combination products). Many are available over-the-counter. Some need a doctor’s prescription. For some, you need to see a trained medical professional.
A few of the different ways (available over-the-counter) that you can take hyaluronic acid include:
Hyaluronic acid is also available by prescription in the following forms:
Remember, only trained and qualified medical professionals should give injections. While experts say hyaluronic acid is safe, improper use — especially when injecting it — can lead to severe complications or even death.
Hyaluronic acid belongs to a type of long, complicated chain-like molecules called polymers. The chain has plenty of spots on it where other chemical compounds (like water, for example) can latch on. That’s why a quarter-teaspoon of hyaluronic acid can hold about one and a half gallons of water, making it the best polymer — natural or artificial — for absorbing water (and a key ingredient in moisturizing products).
Because it has lots of space for other molecules to latch on, hyaluronic acid is great for transporting other molecules throughout your body. It also has the ability to attach itself to cells, which is why targeted delivery of medications using hyaluronic acid is a major topic of study.
Hyaluronic acid’s chain-like structure also means it can act like a scaffold structure, allowing tissues to grow. This is a key step in how wounds heal on your body. Scientists have also found hyaluronic acid in human embryos and are studying what role hyaluronic acid plays in reproduction and development.
Yes, depending on how it’s used. It’s a versatile molecule and scientists are still finding new and beneficial ways to use it. Right now, it’s most often used for skin, joint and eye health. It’s also the topic of hundreds of scientific studies and trials around the world.
Long-term use of hyaluronic acid serum on your skin or in a supplement taken by mouth can improve overall skin health. It’s also great for helping improve overall skin flexibility and elasticity (meaning it makes your skin more stretchy and soft).
Hyaluronic acid is widely used as an ingredient in fillers that repair or conceal scars left behind by acne. There has been some limited research into combinations of hyaluronic acid and other medications to treat acne, but so far, there isn’t much evidence that these are effective.
Yes, depending on how it’s used. Over-the-counter hyaluronic acid serums and products applied on your skin (creams, lotions, etc.) or in eye care products are considered safe. Hyaluronic acid supplements taken by mouth are also considered safe (but you should still tell your healthcare provider about them, as you would for any other medication, vitamin or supplement).
Prescription hyaluronic acid products should be taken exactly as instructed by your healthcare provider. Injections of any kind containing hyaluronic acid should only be given by a licensed, qualified medical professional.
You may want to talk to your healthcare provider about hyaluronic acid if you’re interested in using it as a supplement. You may also want to also ask them about treatment options that use hyaluronic acid for the following conditions or purposes:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hyaluronic acid has many uses and benefits, from boosting skin, eye and joint health to accelerating wound healing. Like any medication or supplement, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before incorporating hyaluronic acid into your healthcare regimen.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/04/2022.
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