Beauty glossary

What Is Hyaluronic Acid? 

Don’t let the word “acid” scare you, this intensely moisturizing molecule (which is produced naturally by our bodies and created synthetically for skincare) smooths, plumps and hydrates skin in seconds.

What Does Hyaluronic Acid Do? 

The Beyoncé of the beauty world, hyaluronic acid can attract and hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water (yep, you heard that right). And, the more moisture hyaluronic acid, or HA, locks in, the plumper your skin gets, and the less visible fine lines and wrinkles become. Add to that its ability to regulate moisture within cells, so they don’t drown, and you’ve got one seriously smart ingredient.

What’s smarter is that chemists have bioengineered another version of hyaluronic acid, called sodium hyaluronate, which has a much smaller molecule, so it can penetrate deeper into your epidermis.

Besides skincare, HA is kind of a big deal in the world of dermal fillers. It quickly replaced collagen as the number one choice because it lasts longer (between 3 to 12 months) and is less likely to cause an adverse reaction. Hyaluronic acid fillers, like juvéderm and Restylane, are also thought to look more natural, and are reversible (bonus), so if you hate your new pout, the enzyme hyaluronidase can dissolve it.

Who Should Use Hyaluronic Acid?

HA works wonders for everyone – even those with sensitive skin – but it’s especially beneficial for those with dehydrated skin. The jelly-like substance should also be a mainstay of any anti-aging regimen. When we’re young, our skin naturally holds onto moisture, but as we get older it loses this ability. The result is a loss of plumpness and firmness (oh hi, wrinkles). So, if you want to maintain moisture and amp up hydration, you’ll definitely want to add HA to your routine.

How To Use Hyaluronic Acid In Your Skincare Routine?

We recommend adding an HA-laced serum to your routine twice a day. Apply a moisturizer immediately after to seal in the goodness. It will also provide additional moisture for the HA to absorb if you’re in a particularly dry environment. As always, don’t forget to use sunscreen!

What To Avoid Mixing Hyaluronic Acid With

HA plays nice with most other ingredients, but avoid pairing it with low pH acids, like glycolic, which could degrade the hyaluronic acid, making it ineffective.

Our Fave Hyaluronic Acid Skincare Products 

hyaluronic acid Source: The Ordinary

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, $7: We suggest stockpiling this clever formula, which boasts three molecular weights of HA so that it can penetrate cells at deeper levels. 

Hyaluronic acid Source: Yeouth

Yeouth Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum, $15: This medical-grade formula is super-powerful; it’s so effective it instantly transforms skin, making it smoother and softer.

Hyaluronic acid Source: L’Oréal

L’Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid Serum, $24: This serum has become so popular that in the US one is sold every minute, thanks to its blend of high and low molecular weight HA.

For more seriously amazing skincare ingredients, check out our Beauty Glossary.