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Hyaluronic Acid Benefits for Skin Real?

Hyaluronic Acid benefits for the skin have been studied extensively and the results propelled this skincare ingredient to the top tier.

Extensive range of skincare products, from Hyaluronic Acid serums to creams, and especially Hyaluronic Acid for the face, lists Hyaluronic Acid as the star ingredient.

Well, as it turns out, Hyaluronic Acid benefits the skin in a refreshing way.

Two women working in laboratory

What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic Acid has an awkward sounding name that “feels” like it belongs in a science experiment, not in skincare products applied to our skin.

Surprisingly, you can find Hyaluronic Acid molecules right in your skin!

[Hyaluronic Acid] is most abundant in the skin, accounting for 50% of the total body [Hyaluronic Acid]..but it is also present in all tissues and fluids of the body.

Papakonstantinou, Roth & Karakiulakis, 2012

Now pay attention to the following as it will be important a bit later.

The skin has many layers, the outermost layer (which you can physically see and touch) called epidermis and the layer right under named dermis.

The dermis has the majority of Hyaluronic Acid found in the skin.[1]

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Within the body, Hyaluronic Acid actively[1]:

  • Create structured passages in the skin for cells, water and ion to travel and interact with its environment.
  • Balance water levels and osmotic pressure of cells.
  • Lubricate joints.

The first point is especially important for skincare products.

Hyaluronic acid is said to be an ultimate solution for moisture retention of the skin.

Jegasothy, Zabolotniaia & Bielfeldt, 2014

In other words, this molecule attracts and holds on to a lot of water.

Substances with this water attracting ability is known as a humectant.
(Another popular humectant is glycerin)[5]

right hand in white liquid

Genetic Skin Aging

  • The body produces less Hyaluronic Acid as it ages. As a result, the skin loses it’s ability to hold onto water, resulting in wrinkles and loose skin.[1][2]
  • “The reasons for this change in [Hyaluronic Acid] homeostasis with aging is unknown.”[1]

Environmental Skin Aging

  • “Approximately 80% of facial skin aging is attributed to UV-exposure.”[1]
  • As explained in our article about Vitamin-C, UV light causes free radicals to form in the body.
  • “[Hyaluronic Acid] is also known as an excellent free radical scavenger.”[4]

Research shows that younger people have tighter and more elastic skin partly due to their skin having higher moisture thanks to Hyaluronic Acid. [1][2][4]

Therefore, this connection makes Hyaluronic Acid a prime ingredient in skincare products targeting wrinkles and lines.

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What makes CeraVe Moisturizing Cream with Ceramides & Hyaluronic Acid so popular?

The problem with Hyaluronic Acid.

How Hyaluronic Acid benefits the skin has been well studied by scientists.

But when it comes to Hyaluronic Acid in skincare products, researchers discovered something interesting.

Remember that the skin has layers and the majority of Hyaluronic Acid is found in the dermis?

However, getting Hyaluronic Acid down into the right layer to receive the maximum hydrating benefit isn’t easy.[4]

closeup of clear liquid on hand

[Hyaluronic Acid] lacks the ability to permeate the skin, and when topical [Hyaluronic Acid] is applied to the skin, it remains on the skin’s surface and functions as a skin-surface moisturizer.

Lubart, Yariv, Fixler & Lipovsky, 2019

Hyaluronic Acid Molecule: 3,000nm
Intracellular Space: 15 – 50nm[2]

That’s a huge size difference.

The Future of Hyaluronic Acid Benefits.

Smaller is better when it comes to Hyaluronic Acid.

Scientists have already “reduce the size of [Hyaluronic Acid] molecules without disturbing their constituent subunit structure to a nano size (5nm), enabling the [Hyaluronic Acid] to cross the skin barrier deep into the dermal level.”

Jegasothy, Zabolotniaia & Bielfeldt, 2014

That’s right.

Nano-Hyaluronic Acid.

Independent research found the “application of low-molecular-weight (LMW) [Hyaluronic Acid] was associated with significant reduction of wrinkle depth, which may be due to better penetration abilities of LMW [Hyaluronic Acid].”[3]

hand cream on back of hand

Similarly, another group found that with the smaller Hyaluronic Acid[2]:

  • 40% reduction in wrinkle depth
  • 96% improved hydration
  • 55% increased elasticity & firmness

The Wrong Way to use Hyaluronic Acid

Be aware that Hyaluronic Acids amazing ability to attract water can actually dry out the skin.

Humectants are a double-edged weapon … by enhancing water absorption from the dermis into the epidermis where it is easily lost to the environment.

Sethi, Kaur, Malhotra &Gambhir, 2016
Four lemons diagonally lined up


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Simply put, if the environment is dry, and no moisturizer/occlusive is applied in addition to Hyaluronic Acid, a water loss cycle starts:

  • Hyaluronic Acid in the dermis attracts water molecules
  • The dry environment causes the water molecules to evaporate through the epidermis.
  • Which frees up Hyaluronic Acid to attract new water molecules, repeating the cycle.

Always remember:

Hyaluronic Acid + Dry Conditions – Moisturizers or Occlusives = DRY SKIN

In conclusion, Hyaluronic Acid benefits are undeniable and only going to get better.
This skincare ingredient will continue to be a popular addition to many skincare routines!

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Keyword is simplicity.


  1. Papakonstantinou, E., Roth, M., Karakiulakis, G. (2012). Hyaluronic Acid: A key molecule in skin aging
  2. Jegasothy, S., Zabolotniaia, V., Bielfeldt, S. (2014). Efficacy of a New Topical Nano-hyaluronic Acid in Humans
  3. Pavicic, T., Gauglitz, G., Schwach-Abdellaoui, K., Malle, B., Korting, H., Farwick, M. (2011). Efficacy of Cream-Based Novel Formulations of Hyaluronic Acid of Different Molecular Weights in Anti-Wrinkle Treatment
  4. Lubart, R., Yariv, I., Fixler, D., Lipovsky, A. (2019). Topical Hyaluronic Acid Facial Cream with New Micronized Molecule Technology Effectively Penetrates and Improves Facial Skin Quality: Results from In-vitro, Ex-vivo, and In-vivo (Open-label) Studies
  5. Sethi, A., Kaur, T., Malhotra, S., Gambhir, M. (2016). Moisturizers: The Slippery Road