Skin aging and abnormalities are closely linked to the lack of essential water levels in the skin. Some abnormalities include, but are not limited to, accelerated aging, eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, actinic keratosis, and contact dermatitis. The majority of causes can be linked to a lack of hyaluronic acid production, transepidermal water loss (TEWL), client water intake, environmental ambient humidity, lymphatic and circulatory health, medications, chronic inflammation, and free radical damage. Hyaluronic acid is a key component to maintaining proper hydration and natural moisture to the skin.
According to a recent research finding, approximately 50% of the body’s hyaluronic acid is found primarily in the skin. It is present on the inner surface of the cell’s membrane and is transferred out of the cell during biosynthesis. Hyaluronic acid is found in other areas of the body which include joints (synovial fluid), portions of the eye, umbilical cord, lungs, heart valves, and all tissues and fluids of the body. The average 154-pound person has 15 grams of hyaluronic acid in their body, one-third of which is recycled and synthesized every day.2
This article will examine the composition, degradation of, and the ability to regenerate hyaluronic acid with peptides. First, let’s take a closer look at hyaluronic acid, how and where it is formed, and the key causes for its loss of production.
WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID?
Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide glycosaminoglycan (GAG) produced by fibroblasts and found in the extracellular matrix (ECM). It is interesting to note the researchers of “Hyaluronic Acid” found hyaluronic acid in a vast number of configurations and shapes depending upon its molecular size, sodium concentration, and pH level. However, the predominant component of the ECM is hyaluronic acid.1
In the dermis, the fibroblasts cells produce collagen, GAGs, reticular, and elastic fibers. GAGs are a critical component for providing the structural integrity in the ECM. Water is attracted and binds to GAGs. Research has provided evidence that cells are able to proliferate and increase retinoic acid, which affects the skin’s own hydration factor.2
Hyaluronic acid also functions as an essential facilitator for tissue repair during the inflammation phase. It activates inflammatory cells to enhance the immune response, as well as enhances enzymatic activities, cellular function, and metabolism. It has the ability to increase the cell survival rate, increase the thickness of the epidermis, and prevent the buildup of dead skin in the stratum corneum. Other research has shown its ability to protect the epidermis by scavenging free radicals generated by ultraviolet radiation exposure.1
HOW DOES SKIN LOSE ITS NATURAL MOISTURIZING POTENTIAL?
Daily exposure to ultraviolet radiation, pollution, toxins, preservatives, medications, sugar, and highly caffeinated drinks are linked to aging, dehydration, or lack of the skin’s natural moisturizing factor. In addition, collagen and elastin are dependent upon the right amount of water for cellular proliferation, turgor, and resilience. When skin is exposed to excessive UVB rays, inflammation occurs (sunburn) and the cells in the dermis stop producing a normal level of hyaluronic acid, which results in the degradation.1
The hydration of the skin critically depends on the ability of the fibroblasts to produce as well at the stratum granulosum to slow down water loss. In severe burn cases, if the stratum granulosum is altered or defective, it is difficult to maintain hydration. The stratum granulosum, the granular layer, is the layer that helps with TEWL and slowing down the transdermal water flow contributing to the skin’s natural moisturizing factor. 4
BIOACTIVE PEPTIDES AND HYALURONIC ACID PRODUCTION
In the ECM, hyaladherins are proteins or peptides and function as cell communicators. The hyaladherins are capable of binding to hyaluronic acid and their primary role is cell adhesion, supporting the ECM, and cell signaling.3 In a previous article, “Signaling Peptides and Skin Strength,” the term adherins was a term referred to as structures essential for the development of connective tissue. This connective tissue provides structure and strength to the skin. Hyaladherins are similar to adherins that provide structure and hydration to the skin.
Bioavailable peptides have the ability to attach to the cell’s receptor cite and provide communication. They are natural cell communicators and are able to signal or respond to the cell to perform a very particular function. In this case, the signal or message would be to synthesize hyaluronic acid.
Bioactive peptides are not topical. There are many functions of peptides, but the key to cellular restructuring is the bioavailability of the peptides. According to the authors of “Hyaluronic Acid,” the most dramatic change in aging skin is the marked disappearance of epidermal hyaluronic acid. This is a prime opportunity for peptides to improve the natural moisturizing factor of the skin.
1 Papakonstantinou, E., M. Roth, and G. Karakiulakis. “Hyaluronic acid, A key molecule in skin
aging.” Dermato-Endocrinology 4, no. 3 (2012): 253-258.
2 Lodish ,H., A. Berk, P. Matsuduara, C.A. Kaiser, M. Kreiger, M.P. Scott, and S. Zipansky.
“Integrating Cells into Tissues.” Biology. 5th edition. 197-234.
3 “Hyaladherin.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyaladherin.
4 Barrett-Hill, Florence. Advanced Skin Analysis. Virtual Beauty Corporation, 2004.
5 Wade, S. “Signaling Peptides and Skin Strength.” 2018.
Susan Wade is a licensed aesthetician joining Viktoria De’Ann in 2015 as the director of education and sales after being in the health and education industry for over 18 years. She has a master’s in higher education administration and enjoys sharing her wealth of knowledge with physicians, clinicians, and students nationwide. Wade has a diverse background beyond aesthetics as a college instructor in kinesiology and business and is an owner of a successful sports conditioning business’ and a nutrition coach. Her passion lies in understanding the complexities of physiology, nutrition, and biology and in educating practitioners on how to incorporate these areas to reach better solutions and successful results with their clients.