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Treatments designed to smooth skin and reduce wrinkles may rely on the power of hyaluronic acid. Learn some of its secrets with Groupon's guide.

If your joints don’t creak and your eyeballs don’t squish around in their sockets, you have hyaluronic acid to thank. It’s a gel-like substance that lubricates and gives shape to several key components of the body, and with the help of dermatologists and chemists, it becomes even more versatile. Injected in the form of dermal fillers such as Juvéderm and Restylane, it can soften fine lines and replace lost volume in skin, creating a more youthful appearance that can last up to a year. Because it’s already found naturally in the body, it doesn't irritate surrounding tissues when injected. (And humans aren’t the only creatures who rely on the substance—before chemists learned to synthesize it, it used to be extracted from rooster combs.)

Hyaluronic acid also appears in many moisturizers and anti-aging creams, but unlike dermal fillers, these won't have much impact on wrinkles. "When you use hyaluronic acid topically, it doesn't penetrate the skin," says Dr. Debra Jaliman, author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. "It only acts as a moisturizer." But that effect shouldn’t be underestimated. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, meaning that it draws in water from the air and holds it against the epidermis, hydrating the skin without clogging pores like some lotions and mud pits can. "Patients who are acne-prone really like this, as it is noncomedogenic," Dr. Jaliman adds. "It is also useful for patients who have eczema or rosacea, as it is not irritating."

While its effects on the skin are well known, some believe that ingesting hyaluronic acid could also be beneficial. In 2000, ABC’s 20/20 popularized the hypothesis that a diet high in starchy vegetables that boost hyaluronic-acid production was responsible for the unusually smooth skin of elderly people in the Japanese village of Yuzuri Hara, where many residents live to be over 90.

7 Walking Woods
Lake Oswego,
OR
US

The attentive staff at All About Skin PDX abolishes unwanted hairs and boosts body radiance during a flurry of noninvasive spa services. Licensed makeover mavens temporarily remove body fuzz with hot wax customized to suit different levels of skin sensitivity or send stubble packing permanently with pulses of laser light as focused as an eagle's digital camera. UV-free spray tans utilize an organic, 100% vegan solution registered with PETA, and microdermabrasion sessions help improve the look of epidermal sheathes by minimizing the appearance of fine lines, acne scars, and outdated stonewashed pores.

15154 Bangy Road
Lake Oswego,
OR
US

For eight years, Laura Brewster worked for a meditation company as a life coach, helping people find balance in their hectic everyday lives. Though the work was rewarding, the coaching took place over the phone, and Laura soon began craving one-on-one interaction. She finally quit the job she loved, earned her aesthetician certificate, and opened Glamformation-The Beauty Studio?a tranquil salon that specializes in waxing and Laura's time-tested life-coaching services. The specialist calls on her beauty-school experience to wax almost every bodily zone on both men and women. Through a process she has dubbed Emotional Transformation, Laura aims to build her clients' self-confidence through a series of positive and constructive conversations in a safe, nonjudgmental environment.

17440 Boones Ferry Rd.
Lake Oswego,
OR
US