Rejuvenating Hydrator: Restoring Epidermal Hyaluronic Acid Homeostasis With Instant Benefits

January 2016 | Volume 15 | Issue 1 | Supplement Individual Articles | 24 | Copyright © January 2016

Vic A. Narurkar MD,a Sabrina G. Fabi MD FAAD FAACS,b Vivian W. Bucay MD FAAD,c Ruth Tedaldi MD,d Jeanine B. Downie MD,e Joshua A. Zeichner MD,f Kimberly Butterwick MD,g Amy Taub MD,h Kuniko Kadoya PhD,i Elizabeth T. Makino BS MBA CCRA,i Rahul C. Mehta PhD,i and Virginia L. Vega PhDi

aBay Area Laser Institute, San Francisco, CA
bDepartment of Dermatology, University of California San Diego, CA
cBucay Center for Dermatology and Aesthetics, San Antonio, TX
dDermatology Partners, Inc, Wellesley, MA
eImage Dermatology, Montclair, NJ
fDepartment of Dermatology, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NJ
gCosmetic Laser Dermatology, La Jolla, CA
hAdvanced Dermatology, Lincolshire, IL
iResearch & Development, SkinMedica Inc., an Allergan Company, Irvine, CA

Skin aging is a combination of multifactorial mechanisms that are not fully understood. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors modulate skin aging, activating distinctive processes that share similar molecular pathways. One of the main characteristics of youthful skin is its large capacity to retain water, and this decreases significantly as we age. A key molecule involved in maintaining skin hydration is hyaluronic acid (HA). Concentration of HA in the skin is determined by the complex balance between its synthesis, deposition, association with cellular structures, and degradation. HA bio-equivalency and bio-compatibility have been fundamental in keeping this macromolecule as the favorite of the skincare industry for decades. Scientific evidence now shows that topically applied HA is unable to penetrate the skin and is rapidly degraded on the skin surface.
SkinMedica’s HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator (SkinMedica Inc., an Allergan company, Irvine, CA) promotes restoration of endogenous epidermal HA homeostasis and provides instant smoothing and hydration of the skin. These dual benefits are accomplished through the combination of 2 breakthrough technologies: 1) a unique blend of actives powered by SkinMedica proprietary flower-derived stem cell extract that restores the endogenous production of HA; and 2) a proprietary mix of 5 HA forms that plump the skin, decreasing the appearance of fine lines/wrinkles.
Pre-clinical studies demonstrated that HA5 induces expression of key epidermal differentiation and barrier markers as well as epidermal HA synthases. A decrease expression of hyaluronidases was also observed upon HA5 application. Initial clinical studies showed that within 15 minutes of application, HA5 instantly improves the appearance of fine lines/wrinkles and skin hydration. Subjects that continue using HA5 (for 8 weeks) demonstrated significant improvements in fine lines/wrinkles, tactile roughness, and skin hydration. In summary, the blend of these 2 key technologies present in HA5 promotes restoration of endogenous epidermal HA while delivering instant smoothing effects.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(1 Suppl 2):s24-s37.


Karl Meyer and his colleague John Palmer isolated hyaluronic acid (HA) for the first time in 1934.1 They were able to purify an unknown chemical substance from the vitreous body of cow eyes. The newly identified substance was named “hyaluronic acid” – a combination of the Greek world “hyalos” (glass) and uronic acid, one of the 2 sugar molecules they identified. It took another 20 years of research to fully resolve the chemical structure of this mucopolysaccharide, 2 which is now one of the most widely used natural macromolecules in medicine and skincare due to its bio-compatibility and safety, and the potential for increasing its HA-associated benefits via chemical modifications.
Interestingly, the first commercial use of HA was in neither of these areas but in the food industry as a substitute for egg white in bakery products. Since then, biological understanding of HA has evolved from a traditional space filler into a structural molecule, a key participant in processes such as lubrication and moisturization, a connective tissues supporter, and, more recently, a modulator of inflammation, wound healing, and cancer. Currently, HA-based products are dominating the areas of eye care, wound healing, drug-delivery, and skin care, to mention just a few.
The relatively simple structure of naturally occurring HA is well-conserved among various species and type of tissue origin. The