Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a mucopolysacharide that exists naturally in all living organisms. In humans it is found in larger concentrations in the articular joints, eye fluid and, most abundantly, in the skin.
As the protein can hold up to 1000 times its own weigh in water it is known to play a vital part in the ageing process once levels are depleted in the skin. Maintaining levels of HA, whether it be through supplements, topical applications or injections, is said to reduce wrinkles caused by dehydration and general ageing.
Estee Lauder was the first to launch a mass market version of the treatment, which first featured as a rather expensive injection filler treatment in the US and was approved by the FDA in early 2004. Since then production of HA has expanded significantly and now, with supplies of cheaper HA coming on line from China, the potential for the ingredient is expanding significantly.
And now Cactus Botanics, with its Operations Centre in Shanghai, has announced it will be able to offer both high and low weight HA, primarily for the US and European markets.
Carol Cheow from Cactus Botanics told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com that the low molecular weight Hyaluronic acid requires an extra production step compared to normal Hyaluronic acid production and they use a chemical method to cut large molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid into low molecular weight, and that the company was currently able to produce at least 6 Mt annually.
"Our normal product is naturally fermented. However, we also can extract it from cockscomb. The only problem is that the product extracted from cockscomb is with much higher cost," explained Cheow.
Anti-wrinkle products dominate the global dermal fillers market (86 per cent), according to a recent report from Medical Insight, Inc., which also put the total dermal fillers market at $441m (€340m) in 2005.
By 2011, the global market is predicted to grow by per cent to $1,473m (€1138m).