Hyaluronic Acid: How, When and Why to Use

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Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Bottle zoomed in

Hyaluronic acid (aka hyaluronan) is a clear gooey liquid produced by our body and found in eyes, skin and tissues. It’s job is to retain moisture and keep the tissues lubricated and moist.

It can hold a 1000 times its own weight in moisture and water which basically means if you have hyaluronic acid on your face and you add moisture to it, HA is going to hold on to that moisture and lock that in your skin and plump up the surface of your skin. In other words, 1 molecule of Hyaluronic acid can hold 1000 molecules of water


Why skin needs Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid is actually produced by our skin naturally in order to retain moisture, but the production of it reduces due to several factors like UV radiation damage, pollution, smoking, and also decreases as we get older. Whatever the reason, a decreased Hyaluronic acid in our skin means saggy, dry and less plump skin and that is when we see aging in our skin. That is why at a certain age (30s) we need to provide that extra help from the outside to our skin in the form of topical Hyaluronic Acid application in order to keep our skin young and prevent early aging of the skin.

When to use Hyaluronic Acid

You can use Hyaluronic Acid in the morning as well as in the evening. Hyaluronic Acid is a water-based serum so it should be applied before heavy moisturizers and oils. Use Hyaluronic Acid in the serum stage of your skincare routine just after cleansing on damp skin for an instant moisture boost. If you are exfoliating that day, use HA serum after exfoliation.

How to use Hyaluronic Acid

First cleanse your skin (ideally double cleanse). You rinse everything off and gently dab your skin with a towel. Now your skin is damp and this is the right time when you apply your Hyaluronic acid serum. You just need a tiny amount that puts a layer on the surface of your face - less is always more when it comes to HA. Apply a few drops into the palm of your hands and apply it to your face by patting or rubbing. You can either apply it to your entire face, or just some targeted areas which can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Immediately apply a moisturizer after you apply Hyaluronic Acid Serum.

Remember that Hyaluronic Acid is a Humectant and if you don’t apply a moisturizer with occlusive ingredients in it, the water that the Hyaluronic Acid was holding on to will start to evaporate out and as it evaporates, it is going to evaporate water from within your skin becoming absolutely counterproductive and drying out your skin.

Did you know? Hyaluronic Acid is also a great “penetration enhancer” which is used with other active ingredients to easily penetrate them into the deeper layers of your skin

How much Hyaluronic Acid to use

If you are taking Hyaluronic Acid as Supplements, 120-240mg per day for a month has been proved to show significant increase in skin moisture and less dryness of the skin in adults. If you are using a Hyaluronic acid serum, just a few drops are enough to cover the surface layer of your skin, to be applied in the morning and evening routine before moisturizer.

Should You Use Hyaluronic Acid Serum

You will find Hyaluronic Acid in many moisturizers already, so what your skin needs is already present in a good moisturizer. However, the skincare companies won’t stop there, since they want to create more and more products to sell. That is why you find many serums that are targeted to just one aspect of moisturizing which is the humectant aspect of a moisturizer.


Hyaluronic Acid is not the only humectant out there. The most common names you may have heard of are Glycerin and Urea. They are humectants too.


However, if you feel your skin barrier is compromised in some targeted areas of your face, an extra boost of a water-binding ingredient like Hyaluronic Acid can definitely help in reducing the wrinkles, fine lines and overall texture of your skin. For example, you might just be interested in improving hydration around your eye and not to the rest to your face. 


Hyaluronic Acid + Silicones

Silicones are synthetic oils that are occlusive with a nice lightweight feel as they create a smoothness on the surface of your skin and pair really well with a humectant like a Hyaluronic serum. A lot of moisturizers with Hyaluronic Acid will also have silicones in them.

Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C

Yes, you can use Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C in the same routine. There are no conflicts with Hyaluronic Acid, making it a fabulous product to have in your routine.

Hyaluronic Acid + Retinol

Yes, you can use Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol in the same routine. Retinol is the treatment stage while Hyaluronic comes in the Serum stage. So you will apply your Retinol first, and then apply Hyaluronic Acid Serum.


Hyaluronic Acid + Sunscreen

You will definitely have sunscreen in your morning skincare regimen and if you are using Hyaluronic Acid at AM, you will be using Hyaluronic Acid and Sunscreen in one routine. Sunscreens create a film on the surface of your skin and are great moisturizers too, but the problem is that a lot of sunscreens are water resistant so they will not go particularly well on top of that Hyaluronic Acid serum. This is something you have to try out and see. If you see that your sunscreen is going well with the Hyaluronic Acid serum smoothly, then you should let the sunscreen dry and put on another layer of sunscreen on top. 


The reason for reapplying sunscreen is that there is a concern regarding applying sunscreen with humectant products and specifically on damp skin that the sunscreen does not set up fully and your skin may be missing out on full sun protection. So the basic idea is to apply the sunscreen first as an occlusive moisturizer on top of Hyaluronic Acid, and then apply another layer of sunscreen as an actual sun protection layer.

Fun Experiment with Hyaluronic Acid

In order to literally see the power of water-based Hyaluronic Acid’s water retention capacity, apply hyaluronic acid to your face and neck and then use a water spray to spray lots of water on your face. You will see that not a drop is trickling down your face as the Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant and it loves holding on to water.

Hyaluronic Acid Serum Recommendation

  1. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($8 | 30ml)

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% with Vitamin B5

The most famous HA serum in the market - for all the right reasons. Great price and just what you would expect from HA for your skin. This has a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 with multi-molecular sizes (low-medium and high weights) which helps in the delivery into the skin. Vitamin B5 is an added bonus which hydrates the surface layer of the skin. Texture is gooey

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