5 Amazing Ways Hyaluronic Acid Benefits Your Skin

by | Skincare

I’ve found that one of the more annoying indignities of middle-age is the loss of moisture in my skin. Can anyone out there relate?

And let’s face it, dry skin = older-looking skin. Dull, ashy, crepy, textured skin is the opposite of what I want!

Fortunately, the hydration powerhouse hyaluronic acid (HA) became a thing in the beauty world a few years ago, and now you can find it everywhere. This moisture bomb tremendously boosts skin’s ability to hold water, and I consider it vital to a youthful appearance, especially as we age.

Keep on reading for 5 great reasons why a hyaluronic acid serum should become an indispensable tool in your beauty arsenal.

Benefit #1: Hyaluronic acid is a world-class humectant

A humectant is a water-loving substance that attracts water out of the air, and draws it into the skin.

Dr. Ashley Magovern, Manhattan Beach–based board-certified dermatologist explains, “Think of hyaluronic acid as a powerful hydrator. It has an amazing ability to attract and hold water in the skin, and in the rest of the body where it is found. It lubricates the joints and helps to repair damage to the body after injury.”

Hyaluronic acid can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, and when applied to the skin topically, it can attract water to the outer layer of the skin. This makes the skin look dewier, plumper, smoother and less texturized.


Benefit #2:  HA has a low risk of sensitivity or allergic reaction

HA is an important substance that our bodies make to provide flexibility, resilience, and lubricity to our joints, skin and eyes. It also provides the building blocks for most of our connective tissue (collagen). 

Because HA is a naturally occurring substance, most people tolerate it in skincare really well, including the most sensitive, breakout-prone skin (for very sensitive/acne-prone skin, look for commercial formulas without fragrance).

Furthermore, it mixes well with active ingredients like alpha and beta hydroxy acids, vitamin C and retinol, as well as inactive ingredients.

So, your hyaluronic acid serum can be used after a treatment, and even added to your regular moisturizer as a hydration boost!

Multiple Names...Are They The Same?

You may notice either “sodium hyaluronate” and/or “hyaluronic acid” on a skincare ingredient label. The difference? A slight one; sodium hyaluronate is a salt derived from hyaluronic acid and has a smaller molecular weight, making it a bit more easily absorbed into the skin. Both versions are effective; in fact, they work even better together in a skincare product.

Benefit #3: It can reduce wrinkles and increase firmness and elasticity

A small, 8-week study of middle-aged women published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology showed statistically significant improvement in skin quality with a new small-particle hyaluronic acid.

The results “clearly demonstrated a significant benefit in decreasing the depth of wrinkles (up to 40 percent), and skin hydration (up to 96 percent) and skin firmness and elasticity were significantly enhanced (up to 55 percent) at the end of eight weeks.”

Another 30-day study of adult women published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology showed that hyaluronic acid decreased skin sagging as well as wrinkle volume and depth.

Grab this pretty (and free!) cheatsheet of hyaluronic acid serum benefits for your skin. It includes a few important tips on how to best use your serum to get the most moisture-boosting benefits. It’s free!

Free Download!

The Hyaluronic Acid Cheatsheet

Download this quick list of important facts + tips to get the most out of your HA serum, free!

Benefit #4: Hyaluronic acid is soothing and can reduce redness and inflammation

 A summary of studies published in the scientific journal Wounds showed significant anti-inflammatory properties of hyaluronic acid when applied topically.  This was particularly true for hyaluronic acid, as opposed to sodium hyaluronate or other low-molecular weight hyaluronic acids.

Because of its calming anti-inflammatory effect, a HA serum is a good choice after irritating (but beneficial) treatments like exfoliation, derma rolling and retinol.


HA and derma rolling go together like ham and cheese. Each enhances the other. If you want the low-down on how to amp up your skincare with derma rolling and HA together, check out How to Derma Roll Like a Pro: The Ultimate Guide.

Don’t Make My Mistake!

Two winters ago I decided to try a pure HA serum, after hearing so many good things about it.

I washed and dried my face every night, applied the serum and went to bed—with the heat on all night, sucking the moisture out of the air.

And out of my face, too, as it turns out.

My skin became even drier than it was before. At the time I thought, “Another fad that doesn’t work”, and chucked the serum in the trash. I didn’t consider that I was using it wrong.

My big mistake?

Adding straight HA to a dry face, in a dry climate (the heated air in my house in winter).

Dr. Ava Shamban, a Beverly Hills-based dermatologist and founder of SKIN FIVE, explains, “If your skin is dehydrated to begin with, and the air around you is dry, then the [hyaluronic acid] can actually suck water from deeper in the skin.” Yikes.

To avoid this, always apply your serum on damp skin, and then if you are in a dry climate, lock in the moisture by applying an occlusive moisturizer over the HA serum.

An occlusive is a water-repelling substance that sits on top of the skin instead of sinking in.

Examples are shea butter, allantoin, cocoa butter, mango butter, and heavier oils like avocado, macadamia, and olive oils.

I use Josh Rosebrook’s Vital Balm Cream with shea butter at night over my hyaluronic serum and love it. But you can also try this Burt’s Bees Night Cream for sensitive skin, or simply apply a layer of an occlusive oil over your hyaluronic serum to seal in that moisture.

Benefit #5: It can help relieve dermatitis and other flaky, itchy skin conditions


In an 8-week study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 100% of subjects saw significant improvement in their dermatitis when using sodium hyaluronate, a lower-molecular hyaluronic acid that can penetrate the skin.

For conditions like dermatitis, it may be a good idea to layer an occlusive over the sodium hyaluronate serum to keep more moisture close to the skin’s surface, and to reduce flakiness. 


Let’s recap…

Hyaluronic acid serum should become an indispensable tool in your beauty arsenal because:

1. Hyaluronic acid is a world-class humectant that attracts water from the air to your skin. This makes the skin look dewier, plumper, smoother and less texturized.

2. It has a low risk of sensitivity or allergic reaction, so nearly everyone can add this to their skincare routine without risk of irritation or other negative reactions (other added ingredients in the serum may be problematic, however). 

3. Hyaluronic acid can reduce wrinkles and increase firmness and elasticity. (!!!)

4. It is soothing and can reduce redness and inflammation. This makes hyaluronic acid a great choice after irritating (but beneficial) treatments like exfoliation, derma rolling and retinol.

5. Hyaluronic acid can help relieve dermatitis and other flaky, itchy skin conditions. 

Hyaluronic Acid Superstars

Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster

This is meant to be added to your daily moisturizer

$36 at Paulaschoice.com


Osea Hyaluronic Sea Serum

3 hyaluronic acid weights + 3 antioxidant seaweed extracts

$88 at The Detox Market


Alpyn Beauty Alpyn PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer

Great for dry, mature, or sensitive skin

$60 at Credo


Don’t forget your free download!

The Hyaluronic Acid Cheatsheet

Download this quick list of important facts + tips to get the most out of your hyaluronic acid serum, free!

Hey, natural beauty!

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