Hyaluronic acid is a chemical found in the skin and joints and is used as a filler in injections. One concern with HA injections is whether or not they are safe and what the long-term effects may be. Many people who inject HA enjoy the appearance it can give them, but others are unsure of its safety.
Mostly, clients will notice that their skin will look fuller and younger, and wrinkles may look smoother. Besides, with hyaluronic acid, patients won’t be able to feel it after it is injected. It also will last for about six months before it wears off.
Recent research has found that the levels of HA in the body are more stable than they were previously thought, so injecting is safe. Now, for those patients considering injections of HA, the answer is yes, HA is safe. However, side effects like allergic reactions, swelling, and bruising exist.
So, how safe is hyaluronic acid? Let’s find out more!
What is Injectable Hyaluronic Acid?
Injectable hyaluronic acid falls under temporary dermal fillers. It is secreted in the body and significantly concentrates first in the joints, the eyes, and the skin. But as a person ages, their skin may not produce as much hyaluronic acid as it used to, which causes wrinkles and lines to appear on the face.
Injectable hyaluronic acid can be injected into the skin to counteract these effects. Injecting the hyaluronic acid into the skin will penetrate deeply without being exposed to the sun, so it can work while being safe. As a result of this, many people have seen a decrease in their wrinkles.
It can be injected into the skin to add depth and volume because it attracts water, making the skin more hydrated. It is not the only injectable type, but it is the most popular, whose results are instant.
How is Hyaluronic Acid Made?
Hyaluronic acid is a natural component of the skin, improving skin hydration and firmness. You can find hyaluronic acid in Juvederm and Restylane as an essential ingredient.
It can be harvested from rooster combs or made biologically by fermenting yeast cells with glucose. Both methods produce a substance that closely resembles hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic acid is considered safe for most people. Because it closely resembles components found in human tissues, there is little chance of allergic reaction or rejection during dermal filler injections.
How does Hyaluronic Acid Work?
As numerous types of dermal fillers develop, they increasingly become popular. Hyaluronic acid as well has not been left behind. Having been approved by most regulatory agencies in the US and Europe, there’s no doubt that they’re safe.
HA has enticed both businesses and people for its application in skin rejuvenation, weight loss, and even cellulite. Businesses have found a big market in selling them, and people have found the perfect results they were looking for in anti-aging products.
Well, then, having said all that, how does hyaluronic acid work? There’s much to find out. Keep reading!
Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide that can hold a thousand times its weight in water. It plays a significant role in keeping our connective tissues healthy. It works by binding to water molecules and attracting them.
It is used to keep the tissues hydrated, preventing them from becoming brittle. It can also be injected into the body to help with arthritis. In this case, the injections help the lubricant in the joints by keeping them nourished and swollen with fluid. It’s also used in skin care products to help reduce wrinkles and age spots. Hyaluronic acid is a must-have in any beauty routine.
There are many benefits to using hyaluronic acid; well, here’s how hyaluronic acid benefits the skin:
- Improves the surface of the skin
- Fill wrinkles
- It makes skin look younger
- Diminishes age spots on the skin
- Made up of amino acids that improve the structure of the skin
- Reduces blemishes on the skin
- It provides an instant plumping effect on the skin
How is Hyaluronic Acid Used?
Hyaluronic acid is a lubricating substance found naturally in the eyes, joints, and skin. It has numerous medical uses as a biological lubricant, viscoelastic, and shock absorber.
As the main component in synovial fluid, it has been used by doctors to treat arthritis and joint injuries for years.
While hyaluronic acid is naturally present in the body, it’s also available as an injectable supplement. It’s often used as a lip filler or to address facial wrinkles.
Hyaluronic acid is found in many cosmetics since it can help reduce wrinkles and improve skin hydration. It is also used as a filler during plastic surgery procedures to smooth or fill lines, wrinkles, folds, and scars on the skin.
Hyaluronic acid is also a good reliever of osteoarthritis symptoms.
Now, how safe is hyaluronic acid? Here’s something to ponder:
What are the risks associated with hyaluronic acid injections?
One of the most common side effects of hyaluronic acid injections is pain at the injection site. This may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks after the injection, but patients can usually manage any pain with over-the-counter medication if necessary. Other potential side effects include:
Redness at the site of injection
Occasionally, people may develop an allergy to the product. This can cause an itchy red rash, which usually clears up within a few days, although sometimes antihistamines are needed.
The most serious concern is that hyaluronic acid could cause infection in the joint when injected into the knee. This has been reported in less than 1% of cases in studies done so far.
However, this risk may be higher if a person has had a previous knee infection (septic arthritis) and also if they have had a recent dental procedure or skin infection. Because there is a risk of infection, many doctors will advise patients to avoid it if they’ve had such recent complications.
Also, bacteria can get into the injection site. A physician who doesn’t use sterile techniques or pre-sterilized syringes could have patients having infections after the injections. Patients also develop a bacterial infection if they don’t follow proper care instructions for the skin after injections.
Swelling at the site of injection
While hyaluronic acid is an excellent ingredient in skincare, it can cause some people to experience swelling. Why does this happen? While swelling may be a common side effect of topical hyaluronic acid, it’s important to note that hyaluronic acid is generally safe to use.
Tenderness at the site of injection
If injected with dermal fillers into the area around the mouth and nose, there can be a little tenderness for a few days. Also, injecting hyaluronic acid into lips results in temporary swelling for up to 2 weeks.
So, ensure that the physician injecting the hyaluronic acid is experienced in using this filler.
The manufacturer of Restylane says that some swelling can be expected after facial injections, but this should go away after 1-2 weeks. The company says “allergic reactions or inflammatory responses to Restylane are rare.”
Another primary risk is a potential allergenic response to the hyaluronic acid material. Although hyaluronic acid is a natural substance in our bodies, some people may have an allergic response to it if they’ve had an injection.
It’s also possible that lumps or bumps could form under the skin in the injection area. This is very rare, but it can happen. The FDA has issued warnings about such reactions and suggested that physicians test patients for allergic reactions before using hyaluronic acid products.
Hyaluronic Acid and Pregnant Women
Research suggests potential downsides to using hyaluronic acid while pregnant or breastfeeding, thus the warnings on many products.
The first concern is that hyaluronic acid can cross the placenta and enter the baby’s bloodstream, disrupting their growth. Some women using it during pregnancy had their babies tested for allergies to hyaluronic acid after birth, and almost 80 percent reacted negatively to the product.
Second, the body doesn’t fully break down hyaluronic acid into compounds. It was meant to be used as a building block, meaning it doesn’t get excreted from the body as efficiently as other substances.
This means it can accumulate in the tissues and organs over time, particularly the liver, where it renders some beneficial enzymes useless. And because the body does not break it down, clients could find themselves with an accumulation of extra excess hyaluronic acid that may lead to health issues later on.
Evidence of How Safe Is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid can be taken as a supplement orally or injected directly into the joint capsule to lubricate areas of degenerative joint disease and arthritis. This treatment has been used for over 20 years, and the safety record has made it to continue being used. In fact, with its biocompatibility and biodegradability nature, most medical and cosmetic products employ it.
Additionally, hyaluronic acid fillers are FDA-approved and used to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and folds in the face. The most common treatment areas are laugh lines, frown lines between the brows, marionette lines around the mouth, and lip augmentation.
The FDA warns that hyaluronic acid fillers can have serious side effects that may require additional surgery or procedures to correct. Hyaluronic acid fillers can migrate from the site where they were injected. It can result in unwanted side effects such as vision problems, blindness, or stroke if it migrates into an artery supplying blood to the heart or brain.
Topical Hyaluronic Acid Is Generally Safe For All Skin Types
Since hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the skin, it’s unlikely for someone to have an adverse reaction to this ingredient when applied topically.
In fact, all skin types can benefit from using hyaluronic acid because it helps attract water into the cells of the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the skin). The extra moisture helps make dry patches softer and smoother to appear less rough and flaky.
According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, hyaluronic acid is a low-hazard ingredient. Generally speaking, it is not irritating and can be used on all skin types.
Hyaluronic acid is derived from either animal sources or created synthetically in a lab. The former is not cruelty-free, but the latter is! Some brands will also state whether their hyaluronic acid is vegan-friendly/cruelty-free, so check the packaging before purchasing.
How Long Before Clients See Results from an Injection of Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) gel fillers are popular injectable treatments used to plump up lips, smooth out nasolabial folds and marionette lines, and lift cheeks. The gel is injected under the skin with a needle or cannula.
How long do results last?
The results vary depending on the location of the injection. For example, if HA filler is injected into the lips, it will be absorbed faster than if it is injected into the cheeks or chin. Some fillers such as Juvederm Ultra Plus, XC have lidocaine mixed in to reduce discomfort during the procedure.
Lidocaine also causes HA gel to be absorbed faster than other hyaluronic acid fillers without lidocaine, such as Restylane. On average, results from HA injections last 6-12 months for lips and 3-4 months for facial lines and hollows.
Besides, hyaluronic acid works so fast. Wondering why? Here’s why:
The reason hyaluronic acid works so fast is that the product is injected into the skin’s dermis. This layer of skin is close to the surface and doesn’t contain blood vessels. The body immediately starts to break down the injected substance, and over time the product will be absorbed by the body.
Hyaluronic acid has been tried, tested, and proven to be a safe option when injected into the face. Of course, it is still wise to consult with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon before moving forward with any treatment. This way, patients will be sure to receive advice from an expert who can provide new information.
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