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The better alternative to vegan Hyaluronic Acid

18 April 2018

If you believed all the hype on the internet, you’d think Hyaluronic Acid was a miracle moisturiser.

In reality, the opposite is true.

 It can’t be absorbed and contributes nothing beneficial to skin’s well being. So if it's younger looking skin you're after, forget about using Hyaluronic Acid.

That’s why you’ll never find Hyaluronic Acid in a Simplicité product, not even so called vegan Hyaluronic Acid.

Simplicité founder, naturopath and herbalist David Lyons, sees beyond the hype - his more than 30 years of clinical experience tells him Hyaluronic Acid will not give lasting results for skin.

He explains why in this article.

But first, what actually is vegan Hyaluronic Acid made from?

There isn't a 'plant based' Hyaluronic Acid

Many organic and natural skin care brands claim they use a vegan version of Hyaluronic Acid. What does vegan mean in this case - is the Hyaluronic Acid made from plants? If not, what?

Some internet sites claim their vegan Hyaluronic Acid is extracted from wheat through a fermentation process. Sounds wholesome enough.

But when you look into details of this manufacturing, it’s not wholesome at all.

The fermentation process involves bacteria - not plants.

Hyaluronic Acid made from bacteria

Consider, for example, one vegan version of Hyaluronic Acid that is made using genetically manipulated Bacillus.

Bacillus subtilis is a bacteria that is found in soil and the gut of humans and some types of animals. This is modified (mainly in Chinese factories) by deleting certain genes, then inserting a gene from Streptococcus equisimilus, then cloning.1.

Another vegan Hyaluronic Acid is made (again mainly in Chinese factories) through the fermentation of Streptococcus zooepidemicus, a bacteria commonly found in the bowels and lungs of horses with influenza.2. 

Does anyone really want to put this stuff on their skin?

What's really in vegan Hyaluronic Acid
One version of HA is made from Streptococcus zooepidemicus (horse flu) bacteria. 

Is any Hyaluronic Acid made from plants?

The answer is no.

Hyaluronic Acid (Sodium Hyaluronate is another name for it) exists only in the tissues of mammals or the exterior wall of Streptococcal bacteria.

Natural and organic skin care claims that Hyaluronic Acid is made from the Cassia/Senna plant are untrue.

Polysaccharides from the Cassia/Senna plant are not Hyaluronic Acid/Sodium Hyaluronate. These polysaccharides are merely claimed to mimic the action of HA.

The Cassia/Senna plant has a long history as being used as a laxative. It’s also a known sensitiser to human skin.

Alleged proven science about Senna polysaccharides on manufacturer’s websites is nothing more than a simple self-run test. These tests are not properly controlled, independent studies. They are not published on any recognised reference websites such as NCBI.

Animal sourced Hyaluronic Acid

In our view, whether vegan Hyaluronic Acid is made from one or the other types of bacteria fermentation methods explained above, both are as off-putting as non-vegan Hyaluronic Acid, which is made from rooster combs, animal eyeballs and giblets.

Doesn’t bear thinking about, really.

Hyaluronic Acid is is made from boiled up roosters' combs or other animal tissue
Non-vegan Hyaluronic Acid is made from rooster combs and other animal tissue.

Whatever its source, Hyaluronic Acid can't help skin

Surely no self-respecting vegan would use this stuff if they knew its true origins - whether that's from bacteria or animal tissue?

However even ignoring its origins, our point is that man-made Hyaluronic Acid is of no use to skin.

By contrast, Hyaluronic Acid as a naturally occurring molecule in our epidermis is a marvellous thing.

It can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, promote collagen production and give skin that delightful plumpness we all associate with youth.

But, sadly, once our body’s naturally occurring HA is lost through ageing, it is gone forever.

Skin can't absorb Hyaluronic Acid

Using products that contain Hyaluronic Acid (however this is sourced) in the hope it will draw moisture to the skin, or replenish our natural stores, is wishful thinking.

This applies equally to Hyaluronic Acid supplements and Hyaluronic Acid skin care.

Due to the very large size of its molecules 5. Hyaluronic Acid has a hard time penetrating the epidermis. Users of Hyaluronic Acid skin care products frequently complain of the product “pilling” on their skin, which is all the evidence you need that it is not being absorbed.

The worst (and ironic) part of the false marketing of Hyaluronic Acid is that, as it sits on the surface of the skin, Hyaluronic Acid – with its great affinity for water – can actually draw moisture out of the epidermis where it is most needed.

Using Hyaluronic Acid will deplete your skin 

Yes, despite claims to the contrary, Hyaluronic Acid will dehydrate your skin over time

Because Hyaluronic Acid is yet another of the skin care industry's short term moisturising 'solutions'. HA is claimed to be a humectant that supposedly bathes skin in the moisture it has pulled from the air. Wrong.

Humectants are primarily used in skin care to keep the product itself moist (exactly why humectants are used in food) and also help ingredients to mix together.

In our bodies, HA lubricates moving parts and keeps our fluids fluid. But it is just a much repeated myth that man-made Hyaluronic Acid can do any of this when applied to skin (or ingested). It gives little or no lasting improvement to skin hydration.

Here's the test of that - if humectants such as HA in skin care are supposed to draw moisture from the air and so make skin look and feel moist and plumped - why is the most frequently heard skin complaint DRYNESS?

If there is any 'drawing of moisture' this is coming from deeper down in the skin, from the epidermis. The supposedly ultra moisturising skin care you're using that contains Hyaluronic Acid will actually give the opposite result.

No one needs moisture being sucked out of their skin on a twice daily basis.

Apparently to counteract this, skin care advice we've read advises to apply another product OVER the HA so as to "seal in" the moisture.

That's just silly.

The better alternative to using Hyaluronic Acid

Our hope is that anyone who chooses to use the various forms of Hyaluronic Acid in skin care products will back up their regime with true plant-sourced nutrients.

It's our choice at Simplicité to avoid any sort of Hyaluronic Acid (Sodium Hyaluronate).

When we say our products are ‘natural’, we mean handcrafted from plant extracts that are easily absorbed, of highest quality and used in concentrations designed to resist damaging effects of sun and ageing.

We don’t use dubious factory-made 'plant extract' powders or liquids. We don’t bulk up our products with unnecessary fillers or use fragrance to pretend there is more than a tiny percentage of plants in a product.

We certainly would never use cheap ingredients, such as Hyaluronic Acid, that promise results but don’t deliver.

Instead, we are meticulous in creating the concentrated, medicinal-grade plant extracts that go into our certified organic products.

We are a cruelty-free and vegan brand accredited by both PETA Beauty without Bunnies and Choose Cruelty Free.

And most importantly, for nearly 30 years now, our products have given consistently stunning results for perfectly hydrated skin.

Ingredients that will really hydrate skin

Our products give perfectly hydrated skin because in them we use a range of plant extracts that variously promote, hold and balance moisture.

Wheatgerm, Almond, Avocado and Hazelnut, all known for their moisture-promoting qualities are widely used, as are Burdock, Petitgrain, Sesame and Banksia. Australian Bush Flower extracts we include that promote moisture in skin are Mulla Mulla, Banksia, Flannel Flower and Sturt's Desert Rose. 

Skin care products that contain effective, concentrated - and hydrating - nutrients will give you youthful looking skin at any age. 

The best way to start with our Basic Six Trial Pack

Our Results Lift Gel is a lightweight, natural vitamin C formula that helps to hydrate and refresh dull, tired skin. (It's double collagen promise delivers naturally firmer skin at any age.)

Simplicité Face Oils are especially formulated for deep rehydration and leave your skin feeling soft and supple, never oily. Apply as a nourishing primer before makeup and under moisturiser before bedtime.

You’ll sleep easier, knowing you’re properly hydrating your skin, not just giving it a temporary (and eventually depleting) boost.

What are your experiences with Hyaluronic Acid?

Please leave your comments below.

References

1. Vegan Hyaluronic Acid made using genetically manipulated Bacillus

2. Vegan Hyaluronic Acid is produced from a pathogenic substance.

3. 13-Aug-2010 - Novozymes Biopharma attempted to produce vegan Hyaluronic Acid using a non-pathogenic method by fermentation of production strain, Bacillus subtilis.

4. 14-Jan-2008 - Novozymes closes Hyaluronic Acid manufacturing plant because the above attempt to produce using a non-pathogenic method failed commercially.

5. Skin can't absorb Hyaluronic Acid because of its very large molecular weight.


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