Don’t let the word “acid” scare you. While we love all acids equally for their different roles in our skincare routines, hyaluronic acid should be the one that scares you the least. Not only is it a substance that occurs naturally in the human body (and in many foods we eat regularly), this hydrating ingredient can hold up to a thousand times its weight in water. It’s basically a moisture magnet, and we just can’t get enough of it.
You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t combine certain acids (like alpha-hydroxy-acids) with other active ingredients in your skincare routine (like retinol), but hyaluronic acid is one that you can mix with nearly any other product out there. It replenishes the moisture that many other active ingredients diminish, so it’s safe to mix and match accordingly.
To further investigate all there is to know about hyaluronic acid, we chatted with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Kristel Polder from the Dallas Center for Dermatology and Aesthetics. Read on for her input on our favorite ingredient, as well as our editors’ picks for the best hyaluronic acid products.
Q: Can you explain what hyaluronic acid is and what benefits it provides?
A: Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance produced in the skin’s cells. Its primary benefit is to help the skin maintain moisture.
Q: When should one start incorporating hyaluronic acid into their skincare routine?
A: The 20s and 30s are a great time to start incorporating hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine. The good habits established in your 20s will carry over into your 30s (when your career kicks into high gear, and the demands of work and family increase). Hyaluronic acid allows for plumping of the skin from the outside in, therefore immediate the benefits of hydration are observed.
Q: Are there any ingredients that should not be mixed with hyaluronic acid?
A: No, hyaluronic acid is safe when injected by a licensed medical professional, taken orally, or applied directly to the skin. We do caution women who are pregnant or breastfeeding that the effects of hyaluronic acid are unknown for breast milk and nursing infants.
Q: Are there certain foods high in hyaluronic acid that you suggest eating?
A: There are certain foods that are high in hyaluronic acid that I recommend adding to your daily diet. These include leafy greens, bone broth, edamame, sweet potatoes, and citrus fruits such as grapefruit and oranges.
Q: Do you have any favorite hyaluronic acid based treatments?
A: Our favorite hyaluronic acid treatment is hyaluronic filler, which is an injection procedure designed to lift wrinkles and soften lines (around the mouth, lips, cheeks, under eyes). Our most popular is the Juvederm family of fillers, which includes Juverderm Voluma XC to lift and contour the cheeks, Juvederm Volbella XC to plump up lips and relax “smokers’” lines, and Juverderm Vollure XC for softening the parentheses lines around the mouth. These fillers have great longevity and degrade slowly over time for a natural look.
Sold yet? Read on to learn more about the best products containing hyaluronic acid.
Revision Skincare Hydrating Serum
Revision Skincare’s Hydrating Serum comes highly recommended by Polder. “It contains sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) that helps provide hydration and moisturizes the skin without oil,” she said. “Because of the hyaluronic acid within the formula, it attracts water and draws it into the skin.”
L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care
Hydrated skin doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re on a budget, we recommend L’Oréal’s incredible Hydra Genius collection. The Daily Liquid Care is a water-based moisturizer formulated with hyaluronic acid and aloe to envelop skin with moisture while improving radiance. With results this legit, you’d never believe this is a drugstore product!
SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator
If you want to break out the big guns, reach for a bottle of SkinMedica’s HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator. It features a proprietary blend of five different forms of hyaluronic acid that smooth the skin, decreasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Image Skincare Ageless Total Pure Hyaluronic Filler
We love pretty much any product from Image Skincare, so it’s no surprise that the brand’s Hyaluronic Filler is the stuff dreams are made of. Formulated with our favorite ingredient in addition to vitamin E, this serum glides on like silk and seriously plumps the skin, filling in lines and wrinkles.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel
Another budget moisturizer we swear by, Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel instantly quenches parched skin thanks to its generous amounts of hyaluronic acid. It’s also formulated with olive extract to add even more moisture, in addition to its antioxidant powers that work to protect your skin as it hydrates.