Hyaluronic acid is a skincare ingredient popularly used in toners, serums and moisturizers. It’s been known to help hydrate skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
What Is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a substance that occurs naturally within our own bodies. When we’re young, hyaluronic acid is found naturally in abundant quantities in our skin. Also known as a glycosaminoglycan, hyaluronic acid is one of the reasons that youthful skin appears plump and hydrated.However, as we age, the amount of naturally-occurring hyaluronic acid found in our skin begins to dwindle, which can result in our skin beginning to show some signs of skin aging. In addition to intrinsic aging — that is aging caused by the passing of time — over time, a poor diet and/or smoking can also affect the amount of hyaluronic acid that occurs naturally within the skin, which may also contribute to visible signs of skin aging.
What Does Hyaluronic Acid Do?
Despite its name, hyaluronic acid is actually known for its ability to retain moisture: It can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. Skincare.com consultant Dr. Lisa Ginn explains that this type of moisturizing ingredient is called a humectant: “These molecules act like sponges that pull water in, in order to pull moisture over your skin like a blanket.” This ability to hold onto moisture is part of what has made hyaluronic acid such a popular ingredient in the formulas of topical skin care products.
How to Use Hyaluronic Acid
Dr. Ginn explains that hyaluronic acid is a potent humectant that is soothing to the skin and is generally suitable for most skin types including oily, combination, and sensitive skin. You can find it in the formulas of serums, moisturizers, masks, and more.
You can use skincare products with hyaluronic acid as part of your morning or nighttime skincare routine.
Can You Combine Hyaluronic Acid With Retinol?
As board-certified dermatologists and Skincare.com consultants Dr. Erin Gilbert, Dr. Dendy Engelman and Dr. Ted Lain have previously explained, hyaluronic acid and retinol can be combined into your skincare routine. It’s generally suggested to use retinol at night to avoid irritation from the sun. If you have any questions about how to combine skincare ingredients, reach out to a board-certified dermatologist.
Our Editors’ Favorite Products With Hyaluronic Acid
L’Oréal Paris 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum
With 1.5% pure concentrated hyaluronic acid, this is one of our favorite products with the ingredient. Formulated in a lightweight gel consistency, this serum hydrates and plumps.
Vichy Minéral 89
This bestselling, fragrance-free hyaluronic acid booster is beloved for its ability to boost, nourish and protect the skin barrier. Gentle for all skin types, this serum has been approved by the National Eczema Association.
SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier
This lightweight serum is proven by the brand to amplify already-existing hyaluronic acid levels in your body. Made with a high concentration of pure hyaluronic acid, it’s great for hydrating, plumping and firming the skin.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn