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6 Benefits of Adding Hyaluronic Acid to Your Skincare Routine

Your skin will thank you for including it, experts say.

Taking good care of your skin as you get older can make you look years younger—but not all routines are created equally. The ingredients you choose can either give you the glow you're after or leave your look high and dry (or oily and acne-prone). And one skincare ingredient that seems to be everywhere these days is hyaluronic acid, also known as hyaluronan or hyaluronate. Thinking of adding this purported powerhouse to your skincare arsenal? Read on to hear from experts about the biggest hyaluronic acid benefits, from added hydration to dermal protection.

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What Is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid serum

Hyaluronic acid is a slippery substance that's naturally produced in small doses in the body, and commonly found in the skin, eyes, joints, and other tissues.

You may notice that hyaluronic acid is also utilized in a range of skincare products, including moisturizers, ointments, and serums. However, these typically come from plant-based sources that scientists harness using a process known as microbial fermentation.

Alain Michon, MD, medical director of Project Skin MD Ottawa, explains that when applied to the skin, hyaluronic acid works as a humectant, drawing water to the skin's surface to keep it well-hydrated and moisturized.

"Because of its moisture-retaining properties, it's found in many skincare products, especially those focused on hydrating, plumping, and smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles," he says.

The experts agree that hyaluronic acid is appropriate for most people, including those with dry, sensitive, oily, combination, or acne-prone skin. Here are the skincare benefits you can expect.

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6 Hyaluronic Acid Benefits

1. Increased moisture

Closeup of mature woman opening bottle of skin oils

First and foremost, you can expect your skin to benefit from increased moisture when you add hyaluronic acid to your skincare routine.

"Hyaluronic acid sucks water from the environment into the skin for hydration purposes hence reducing dryness while making it appear more youthful with supple texture," explains Sara Millecam, a master medical esthetician and director of education at Beautiful Brows and Lashes.

For this reason, Michon says hyaluronic acid is particularly great for those with dry skin.

However, Valerie Aparovich, a biochemist and certified cosmetologist-esthetician at OnSkin, notes that this is important for other skin types, too.

"Not getting enough moisture can provoke oily and combination skin to produce even more sebum attempting to lubricate itself, resulting in unhealthy shininess, clogged pores, blackheads, and acne breakouts," she shares. "A serum or cream with hyaluronic acid will help normal skin maintain its healthy hydration levels."

2. Anti-aging effects

Gorgeous mid age older adult 50 years old blonde woman wears bathrobe in bathroom applying nourishing antiage face skin care cream treatment, looking at mirror doing daily morning beauty routine.

You may also notice that your skin has a more youthful appearance after you introduce products containing hyaluronic acid.

"In keeping skin hydrated, hyaluronic acid can help to minimize fine lines and wrinkles. It acts on the surface level of skin, improving its texture and elasticity and making wrinkles less visible," says Millecam.

3. Skin healing

Shot of a mature woman applying her skincare in the bathroom

Hyaluronic acid can also help repair the skin if it's been damaged. "It plays a part in wound healing by helping skin repair quickly, which is important for those suffering from acne, scars, or other types of skin injuries," Millecam notes.

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4. Enhanced lipid barrier

Portrait of mature man in front of mirror applying facial cream

Lipids in the epidermis act as a protective barrier to the outside world, stopping dirt, toxins, and other impurities from entering the layers of the skin.

"Not only does [hyaluronic acid] help avoid visual symptoms of a compromised skin barrier, such as dryness and irritation, but it also supports the skin amidst exposure to environmental stressors, such as UV radiation, air pollutants, and bacteria, commonly associated with inflammation and cellular damage," explains Aparovich.

5. Smoother skin texture

Woman looking at her skin in the mirror.
PeopleImages / iStock

Millecam points out another benefit of using hyaluronic acid as a moisturizing ingredient: "Hydrated skin appears smoother and feels softer. The plumping effect of hyaluronic acid has a corresponding improved texture in the complexion."

Aparovich notes that this benefit becomes even more powerful with time. "As we age, natural hyaluronic acid production in the body decreases, and its stores sufficiently decline, leading to the skin losing its volume," she explains. "Accompanied by dryness, another common skin condition that worsens with age, it provokes the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Thanks to the ingredient's potent moisturizing properties, topical application of hyaluronic acid helps plump and nourish the skin, making its texture thicker and smoother."

"Hydrated skin appears more elastic and youthful with reduced pronunciation of the signs of aging, like wrinkling, creepiness, and sagging," she adds.

6. Healthier complexion

Fresh healthy skin, beautiful smile of asian young woman, girl looking at mirror, applying moisturizer on her face, putting cream treatment before makeup cosmetic routine at home. Facial Beauty.

Complexion refers to the color of your skin, as well as the evenness of skin tone. Aparovich says that using hyaluronic acid can help you achieve a healthier, more even complexion.

"Ample and regular moisturizing helps keep the skin healthy, promoting a more even and glowing canvas. Well-hydrated skin is less likely to be triggered by external irritants and experience adverse reactions like redness and irritation. Besides, dehydration almost guarantees dullness, and helping the skin maintain its moisture balance will result in a refreshed, brighter, and more radiant complexion," she says.

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How to Use Hyaluronic Acid in Your Broader Skincare Regimen

Woman examining skincare product in drugstore
KOTOIMAGES / Shutterstock

Hyaluronic acid is just one skincare ingredient that's best utilized alongside a handful of other superstar skincare products. For instance, the experts also recommend using retinols or retinoids, which are known for their anti-aging ability to promote cell turnover and boost collagen production.

"People who frequently use retinoids for anti-aging reasons or acne treatment should incorporate a product with a substantial concentration of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid helps alleviate the risk of the side effects associated with retinoids, such as dryness, peeling, and irritation, preventing water loss and promoting moisture retention in the skin," says Aparovich.

"Incorporating other beneficial ingredients can enhance the effects of hyaluronic acid. For example, Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps brighten the skin and improve its texture while protecting against environmental damage," explains Alexis Pfropper, the founder and owner of ästhetik skincare.

"Niacinamide or Vitamin B3 helps improve skin elasticity, enhance the barrier function, even out skin tone, and diminish dullness. And lastly, ceramides are lipids that help restore the skin barrier and retain moisture. These all complement the hydrating effects of hyaluronic acid," Pfropper tells Best Life.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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