Aging of skin is a multifactorial process which can be categorised into two distinct mechanisms i.e. external and intrinsic aging. Due to the higher content of water the youthful skin is able to retain the resilience, pliability, turgor of the skin. The loss of moisture in the skin occurs gradually due to the normal aging process and other daily external injuries to the skin. Hyaluronic Acid having the unique capacity of retaining water, is the key molecule in maintaining the skin moisture. In this article we are going to discuss the skin aging, Hyaluronic Acid, its uses in delaying the skin aging process along with its best natural substitutes.
Understanding the human skin aging process is a very complex process. In nutshell, this whole process is believed to be formed as a result of two independent processes i.e. intrinsic (innate aging) or extrinsic (photoaging). The innate aging is characterized by a non-preventable process that affects the whole body including the internal organs and in the same pattern it affects the skin. These changes in the body occurred due to altered hormonal levels with gradual aging, mainly the sex hormones, i.e. estrogen, progesterone and testosterones. The deficiency in these hormones particularly androgens and estrogens will result in the degradation of collagen, epidermal atrophy, wrinkling of skin, dryness and loss of elasticity.
The other process i.e. photoaging is the result of over exposure of the skin to the harmful external factors, specifically to the Ultraviolet irradiations. Skin aging process is mainly dependent on the skin moisture. The loss of moisture from the skin is the main feature associated with the gradually going skin aging.
Hyaluronic acid, a glycosaminoglycan with a unique capacity to retain and bind the water molecule. It is one of the components of the extracellular matrix. These molecules of extracellular matrix provide a constructive framework and exert major effects on the cellular functions even by lying between the cells. Extracellular matrix components include the glycosaminoglycan, growth factors, proteoglycans and collagen like growth factors. But the hyaluronic acid is the predominant component of the extracellular matrix.
Role of Hyaluronic acid in preventing the skin aging
Skin is the largest reservoir of hyaluronic acid in the body, i.e. it contains about half of the total hyaluronic acid in the body. This constituent of skin framework helps in binding the water molecules, and helps in keeping the skin supple and hydrated. Despite keeping the skin hydrated this hyaluronic acid also plays a beneficial role in wound healing. The other reservoir of hyaluronic acid is the synovial fluid, which acts as a lubrication fluid and cushions in the joints.
Thus, it is very much beneficial in keeping the joints in healthy condition form the senile changes. Hyaluronic acid has been one of the best ingredients to make the skin pulp. The extent of water retention ability is estimated by the fact that one liter of water can be held by just one gram of Hyaluronic acid. This improves the softness and smoothness of the skin which help in decreasing the wrinkles by just providing a small amount of Hyaluronic acid to the skin.
Natural Sources of Hyaluronic Acid
But despite using various chemical based artificially prepared hyaluronic acid, there is a better alternative in an Ayurvedic herb known as Swarna Patri (Senna plant- Cassia angustifolia), this alternative of hyaluronic acid is derived from the seeds of Senna plants. The phytoextract of seeds of this plant is rich in high content of polysaccharides, and galactomannans, which naturally mimics the hyaluronic acid and this extract delivers 4 times more hydration than synthetically prepared hyaluronic acid. The extracts of Cassia angustifolia have antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which may help in skin issues and prevent the skin from photogaing.
When this naturally derived extract of seeds of Cassia angustifolia (botanical hyaluronic acid), is applied on the skin locally it creates the protective, breathable layer on the skin surface that enhance the retention of water content, helps in boosting the hydration levels and elasticity of the skin. This creates a more toned up, firmer and plumpy appearance to the skin. It also proves beneficial in minimizing the wrinkles and fine lines appearance. This biological alternative of Hyaluronic acid, automatically helps in increasing the radiance and visible smoothening of the skin. It basically creates a hydrated film, which prevents the dullness, sagginess, dryness, wrinkling or drooping of the skin.
Ayurvedic Properties of Swarna patri – Senna Plant
This plant is mentioned in various Ayurvedic texts and is known for its mild purgative and beneficial for skin properties. The external local application of the paste-like extract of this plant’s leaves on the skin is known to have lekhan (scrapping), and twak doshhar (eliminating the skin ailments). This plant is known for its pita shodhak (cleansing the excess pitta dosha) and vatanulomak (pacifying the vata dosha). It is having laghu (lite), ruksha (dry), teekshan (potent) properties, and katu (pungent), tikat (bitter), madhur (sweet), and kashay (astringent) taste. Its vipaak (final product after digestion) is katu (pungent) and virya (potency) is ushna (hot).
Other than this plant various food items are rich in the hyaluronic acids. These include
- Soy based foods– Tofu, soybeans, soya chunks etc.
- Root vegetables– Turnips, potatoes, onions, and carrots etc.
- Bone broth– A liquid dish made by slowly boiling the chicken, or other meat for upto one day so that the nutrients (mainly hyaluronic acid), which are contained in the bones are released in this soup.
- Citrus fruits– Grape fruits, bananas, tomatoes and oranges etc.
- Green leafy vegetables– broccoli, beans, spinach, kale, cabbage, mint, coriander leaves etc.
- Rose oil is intensely hydrating, moisturizes and plumps the skin without relatively less side effects. It is greatly enriched with vitamins, and acts as anti-inflammatory agents, adding benefits of soothing redness.
These all dietary items will provide the hyaluronic acid in the natural form to the body to prevent the premature aging symptoms and delaying the ongoing aging process and symptoms.
As one can never be young forever but delaying the premature ageing resulted through the photoaging or due to any other systemic illness is possible. The best way is to adopt these naturally derived forms of hyaluronic acid to maintain the smoothness and elasticity of the skin for a longer duration of time in a much easier and with least side effects.