This is exactly what hyaluronic acid does to your skin

Don't let the name intimidate you. While the use of acids for chemical exfoliation is best reserved for skincare geeks, there is an acid that even beginners can safely add to their regimen! Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient often found in skincare products, and it's common enough that most of us have probably tried it already. Besides, did you know that it's already inside our bodies?

Hyaluronic acid is a carbohydrate that maintains lubrication and hydration in our skin, joints, connective tissues, and eyes. While our bodies naturally produce it, the level dips as we age, which is why skin looks duller and feels drier the older we get. The solution: reintroduce it via skincare! You can find it in ingredients list as hyaluronate and HA, or even in its salt forms like sodium hyaluronate.


Because it's a kind of lubricant, hyaluronic acid is most commonly used in moisturizing products like facial creams, gels, and serums. It's also available as an oral supplement and as a vein (IV) or joint (IA) injectible, and can have more benefits other than just moisturizing skin.

Scientists usually classify hyaluronic acid in two: low molecular weight HA (LMWHA) and high molecular weight HA (HMWA). If you're thinking about adding HA to your skincare routine, it's important to know this distinction so you can determine which type of HA will work best for you!

Studies have shown that topical use HA is highly effective in moisturizing skin, especially when it’s in a low molecular weight form. Most skin experts even say that it attracts moisture 1000 times its weight! The high molecular weight HA is also helpful in maintaining the moisture, but this time it focuses more on the outer layer of the skin. That's why the best option is to use a combination of LMWHA and HMWHA as it can keep your skin moisturized from the deeper layers up to the outer layer of the skin.

Hyaluronic acid is also effective as a carrier for other active ingredients. Studies show that it enhances the absorption of the active ingredient to the skin. I actually got to experience this recently while trying out the TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum to treat my dark spots and dull skin. I was shocked when it showed results within a week! This particular formula is made with hyaluronic acid, which improved the moisture of my skin and enhanced the vitamin C absorption, so I was able to see improvements in my skin in a short amount of time.

There’s also a study that says LMWHA may increase the self-defense mechanism of the skin. If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, this is something worth paying attention to as those two skin types are usually more vulnerable to external factors. Using a LMWHA may have an antibacterial effect and thus lower the risk for skin irritation and injury. It’s still a developing story but that’s something to look forward to.

download (11).jpg

If you prefer to drink up your hyaluronic acid, that's a good option, too! Oral HA is an effective beauty supplement for improving skin hydration and an overall skin glow. The low molecular weight HA is especially effective in promoting moisture in the skin, and any excess is also safely eliminated from the body. 

Hyaluronic acid is considered safe for use both topically and orally. It has showed no irritations even when tested on the eyes. It's rare but allergic reactions are possible. An important note: hyaluronic acid is commonly derived from rooster combs so if you are vegan, you may want to check if your hyaluronic acid is derived from botanical sources or synthesized.  

Ready to try out HA in your skincare? Here are some product recos that feature hyaluronic acid as the star ingredient!

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (P530 at BeautyNooks) is a light serum that you can use under another moisturizer for an added hydration boost. It also has Vitamin B5 to fade dark spots. The HA used here is vegan.

The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel (P855 at BeautyMNL, product in the photo is a sample only) feels lightweight but very effective for making skin supple and hydrated. There's actually an entire line of products that complement this, including an essence and a variant with SPF for day use.


A cult favorite, the Hada Labo Gokujyun Lotion (P1000~ from online sellers) does not fail the hype! It's one of the more popular HA products, and worth hoarding from Japan since it's not locally available. Apart from keeping skin soft and hydrated, it also makes wrinkles less visible by keeping skin plump and flake-free.

Liz has tried the Belo Nutraceuticals Collagen Powder Drink (P114~ from drugstores) before and found that her skin more bouncy and less prone to dryness. While collagen is the featured product, the supplement also contains hyaluronic acid.

If you prefer to take just oral HA, you can find liquid and pill variants at Healthy Options.

Have you tried using hyaluronic acid in your skincare regimen? What products do you use? Does HA work for you?


Oe, M., Mitsugi, K., Odanaka, W., Yoshida, H., Matsuoka, R., Seino, S., … Masuda, Y. (2014). Dietary Hyaluronic Acid Migrates into the Skin of Rats. The Scientific World Journal, 2014, 378024.

Gower, T. (n.d.). Hyaluronic Acid Injections for Osteoarthritis. Retrieved October 18, 2017, from link

Brown, M., & Jones, S. (2005). Hyaluronic acid: a unique topical vehicle for the localized delivery of drugs to the skin. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology,19(3), 308-318. doi:10.1111/j.1468-3083.2004.01180.x

Carter, F. (2017, August 07). Beauty Boosts: Hyaluronic Acid. Retrieved October 18, 2017, from link

Balazs, E. A. (1981). U.S. Patent No. 4,303,676. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Essendoubi, M., Gobinet, C., Reynaud, R., Angiboust, J. F., Manfait, M. and Piot, O. (2016), Human skin penetration of hyaluronic acid of different molecular weights as probed by Raman spectroscopy. Skin Research and Technology, 22: 55–62. doi: 10.1111/srt.12228

Yi Luo, Kelly R Kirker, Glenn D Prestwich, Cross-linked hyaluronic acid hydrogel films: new biomaterials for drug delivery, In Journal of Controlled Release, Volume 69, Issue 1, 2000, Pages 169-184, ISSN 0168-3659,

Gariboldi, S. et al., Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid Increases the Self-Defense of Skin Epithelium by Induction of β-Defensin 2 via TLR2 and TLR4, The Journal of Immunology August 1, 2008, 181 (3) 2103-2110; DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.181.3.2103

Necas, J., Bartosikova, L., Brauner, P., & Kolar, J. (n.d.). Hyaluronic acid (hyaluronan): a review. Veterinarni Medicina, 53(2008), (8): 397–411 . Retrieved from link