The Science of Hyaluronic Acid Dermal Filler | SkinViva Training

The Science of Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a chemical compound which has revolutionised aesthetic medicine.

It is the key ingredient in temporary dermal fillers and which also naturally occurs in the skin but depletes with age.

Hyaluronic Acid – HA


Alternating units of 1,4 linked N-acelylglucosamine and glucuronic acid


Hyaluronic acid is a ubiquitous carbohydrate (or more accurately a mucopolysaccaride) found in the human body.

It consists of a repeating units N-acelylglucosamine and glucuronic acid and can be extremely long.

It occurs in interstitial fluid, the vitreous humour of the eye and in synovial fluid to name a few. It is continuously made and broken down in the body, with a half life of just 24 to 36 hours in the skin.

As we age production slows, but the half life remains the same, so total quantity depletes, which is part of the reason there is a decrease in skin volume.

Cross Linked Hyaluronic Acids:

Because HA in the body has such a short half life, dermal filler developers needed modify the molecule so that it would be commercially viable. Juvederm is cross linked with a molecule called (BDDE 1,4-butanediol diglycidyl ether). This slows the natural metabolism of the molecule to take up to 12 months.

Mechanism of Action:

The HA molecule has some very unusual and beneficial properties:

  • High degree of elasticity and excellent lubricating properties
  • Easily becomes quickly integrated with native collagen and elastin molecules
  • Ability to hold 1000 times its own weight in water

These in turn are key benefits of the filler product

  • Feels natural (because it’s a soft gel)
  • Lasts 6 to 12 months (because it’s cross linked)
  • Stays where you put it (because it integrates with native tissue)
  • Is reversible if required (using hyaluronidase to break up the long HA chains).

Dr Tim summarises:

“All in all, the HA molecule is very close to the ‘ideal’ filler and is the 1st choice for both new and experienced injectors for most indications.”

The Science of Aesthetic Medicine

Understanding the theory of aesthetic medicine is an essential foundation for practice. SkinViva Training courses include extensive explanation of the injectable agents used as well as anatomy and the medical aspects.

This information on dermal fillers is included in our Combined Botox & Dermal Filler training course, together with scientific explanation of botulinum toxin (BOTOX).

SkinViva Training Academy Manchester

SkinViva Training Ltd offer a range of professional training courses for cosmetic and medical skin treatments.

Their courses in cosmetic treatments directed at suitably qualified and registered medical professionals who wish to learn and build on their skills in delivering these procedures.

See our full list of forthcoming training course dates.

SkinViva Training Academy was established in 2013 by Dr Tim Pearce MBChB BSc (Hons) MRCGP – learn more about us. The SkinViva Training team upholds high standards of clinical training providing a combination of fully-supervised practical experience together with essential theory.

For further information, to discuss which course is right for you, to enquire about availability or to book a training course please call 0161 850 2491, or email


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