Searching for the right skin care regimen can be overwhelming, especially if you’re hoping to address a specific skin care concern. Don’t worry, you’re not the first person to get lost in the alphabet soup of alpha-beta-hyaluronic-glycolic-etcetera acids. We’ve all spent timing wandering the skin care aisles wondering: Which acid is best for my complexion? Won’t acids dry out or irritate my skin? Are acids natural (because they sound like something created in a test tube)?
Despite its popularity, hyaluronic acid is one of the most misunderstood and misused ingredients in skin care. It’s often confused with alpha hydroxy (AHA) and beta hydroxy acids (BHA) since they all do wonders for the skin. AHAs and BHAs exfoliate, moisturize and rejuvenate your complexion. AHAs are preferred by those with sun damage and hyperpigmentation because they primarily address the top layers of skin. BHAs are a great choice for sensitive, oily, acne-prone and compromised skin types with conditions like rosacea because they penetrate the deeper layers of skin, sweeping away embedded dirt and oil while killing bacteria and minimizing inflammation.
Hyaluronic acid, on the other hand, is a great pick for anyone looking for a serious boost of skin moisture, no matter your skin type. It is one of the most commonly buzzed about beauty ingredients because of its incredible ability to hold up to 1,000x its weight in moisture. It’s also something that your body makes naturally, so its chemical composition absorbs easily into your skin. That makes hyaluronic acid particularly amazing for dry and mature complexions or anyone who wants to plump away fine lines and wrinkles.
Here are our favorite ways to incorporate hyaluronic acid into your beauty routine:
NEW AND NOTEWORTHY: SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator
Why we love it: This treatment features a proprietary blend of five different forms of hyaluronic acid—Time-Release HA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Uncross-Linked HA, Nano Hyaluronate and Cross-Linked HA—that work synergistically to instantly smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and provide continuous hydration for up to 8 hours. But more importantly, it contains an exclusive antioxidant blend to support skin’s natural ability to replenish its own hyaluronic acid for increased hydration and long-term skin health.
What shoppers say: “Love this product. It’s mild and like a water-weight gel which sinks in very fast. I love a new product that improves my skin so fast :)” – From Broomall, PA
2. To smooth out fine lines: SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel
Why we love it: This hydrating gel pairs hyaluronic acid with vitamin B5 to maximize your natural moisture levels, allowing your entire beauty regimen to be more effective in reducing fine lines and wrinkles and restoring your youthful glow.
What shoppers say: “I would bathe in this product if I could. I’m 40+ and the gel helps enhance my regular moisturizer. I highly recommend it.” – From Long Beach, CA
3. To moisturize and firm sensitive skin: Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum
Why we love it: This serum features plant-derived hyaluronic acid to plump sagging facial contours and boost your skin’s moisture levels. Salicylic acid gently removes debris from your pores to prevent breakouts and even your complexion.
What shoppers say: “LOVE this product! I have dry skin and also travel A LOT… Without it, no moisturizer seems to penetrate my skin. With it, my dry skin is smooth, firm and hydrated all day.” – From Fort Wayne, IN
4. To refine texture & moisturize severely dry skin: Replenix Pure Hydration Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Why you love it: Packed with humectants, this quick-absorbing serum continually draws moisture from the air, so your skin stays hydrated throughout the entire day. Plus, all that added hydration naturally plumps your skin, refining the surface of your complexion.
What shoppers say: “I have struggled with dry skin all my life. I put moisturizer on every morning, every evening, and after I take a shower. Still, I get flaky dry skin. As I was just getting old enough to give up and stop caring, I discovered this serum. My skin stays supple and hydrated throughout the day.” – From Troy, NY
5. To restore firmness & fight free radical damage: Sanitas Hyaluronic Concentrate
Why we love it: To reduce signs of aging, this concentrated treatment blends hyaluronic acid with antioxidants and a proprietary complex designed to boost collagen production. The result is a firmer, brighter and more youthful-looking complexion.
What shoppers say: “I love this product! While it is expensive, it’s definitely worth it. My skin has never felt so soft. I have dry skin and it gets irritated easily. This product has definitely solved that issue!” – From Washington, DC
6. To restore radiance: ClarityRx Daily Dose of Water Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum
Why we love it: Dull and dry skin types should incorporate this serum into their beauty routine, which features a blend of powerful hydrators like hyaluronic acid to rejuvenate and revive your natural glow.
What shoppers say: “My esthetician recommended this and I just love how it feels. I love how it feels when I put it on (super lightweight) and I love even more how my skin feels when I wake up in the morning (every day my skin gets more supple and soft).” – From New York, NY
7. To minimize hyperpigmentation & boost collagen production: Cellex-C Skin Hydration Complex
Why we love it: This treatment may be used as a moisturizer or serum to restore hydration, prevent and lighten age spots and promote collagen production. It features ellagic and amino acids to rev up your collagen production, too.
What shoppers say: “I would recommend this product to those who want to hydrate their skin without an oily feel. I am concerned with adult acne and this product has not presented any problems. I have noticed a definite improvement in the overall texture of my skin.” -From Philadelphia, PA
8. To help your skin retain moisture longer: DERMAdoctor Wrinkle Revenge Ultimate Hyaluronic Serum
Why we love it: This serum combines two forms of hyaluronic acid with antioxidants to give your skin the lasting protection it needs against moisture loss and environmental damage. It also helps your body produce natural hyaluronic acid and elastin in the skin.
What shoppers say: “Only a few drops cover my entire face and neck and actually helps my moisturizer work its magic. Before even putting my moisturizer on, I can see my face is instantly glowing with hydration. I have yet to use it for a prolonged period of time but I can already tell it does exactly what it promises.” – From Redondo Beach, CA
9. To boost the benefits of your other skin care products: Paula’s Choice RESIST Hyaluronic Acid Booster
Why we love it: This beauty booster may be blended with your existing moisturizer to help repair, plump and protect your complexion. It’s great for minimizing inflammation caused by conditions like rosacea, acne, dermatitis and even sunburn.