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What is hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is an anionic, nonsulfated glycosaminoglycan distributed widely throughout connective, epithelial and neural tissues. This molecule is essential for the formation of collagen matrices and elastic fibres and the maintenance of skin hydration. Alterations of hyaluronic acid in the skin can cause a dramatic skin ageing. Hyaluronic acid exists naturally in all living organisms being a universal component of the spaces between the cells of body tissues (extracellular space). The molecule has an identical chemical structure in bacteria, animals and humans and such feature allows it to be biocompatible. The use of hyaluronic acid is well documented, in both medicine and cosmetic surgery and other fields, such as orthopaedics. Over the past two decades, more than 30 million people have been treated successfully with products containing hyaluronic acid.

 

How many types of hyaluronic acid are there?

Hyaluronic acid used in cosmetic medicine is the result of complex laboratory synthesis obtained with the aid of biotechnology. There are two large families of hyaluronic acid: hyaluronic acid of avian origin (Hylaform) and hyaluronic acid of bacterial origin (Streptococcus equi also called NASHA - Non-Animal Stabilized Hyaluronic Acid – such as Restylane or Juvederm). Hyaluronic acid used in cosmetic medicine is a sterile, viscoelastic, colourless and transparent gel made of cross-linking molecules used to form hyaluronate hydrogels. The quality and the time of resorption depend on the quantity of molecules of hyaluronate and intermolecular bonds set in 1ml of product.

 

Which cosmetic defects can be treated with hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is recommended for lip contouring and enhancement (vermillion borders, fullness and firmness), light, medium and deep wrinkles (e.g.  nasolabial folds, glabellar  frowns or  lip lines) and face contouring (e.g. cheeks and chin).

 

How is hyaluronic acid used in aesthetic medicine?

Hyaluronic acid is injected into the skin in tiny amounts with a very fine needle.

 

Can treatments be performed in day hospital?

Hyaluronic acid injections can be performed in day hospital and the treatment lasts 15-30 minutes. Usually, anaesthesia is not required, but, sometimes, can be used an anaesthetic cream or a local anaesthetic, especially for annoying areas such as lips or cheeks.

 

Is the aesthetic result permanent?

Hyaluronic acid is not a permanent filler. This means that once injected, it is progressively metabolized and reabsorbed by the body with a variable amount of time, depending on the treated area and the product used. The filling effect, increase of volume or wrinkle reduction is immediate and lasts from 2 to 12 months, thereafter patients can repeat the treatment periodically.

 

Does treatment with injections of hyaluronic acid leave significant after-effects?

About 24-48 hours after treatment, a slight redness may appear and the treated area could be slightly more swollen than expected. Rarely there may be small bruises on the injection site. After a few hours, however, patients can cover the treated area with makeup or lipstick.

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