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Hyaluronic Acid is Here to Save Your Dry Skin: Coveteur

All your questions about hyaluronic acid answered including our top serum picks.

If you’ve stepped into a Sephora—or any beauty store, really—chances are, you’ve seen the words hyaluronic acid written on the packaging for serums, moisturizers, and creams. Or if you have a skincare-obsessed friend (we all have at least one in our lives), you’ve probably heard them casually dropping the phrase during conversations. Hyaluronic acid is one of those words that get through around without a ton of context, making it hard to understand what it actually is and why it’s in every skincare product. So, we reached out to Dr. Zenovia Gabriel, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Zena Medical, Dr. Brian Hibler, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group, and Dr. Azza Halim, MD, board-certified physician and founder of Azza MD, to get some answers. Keep reading to find out what hyaluronic acid is, what it does for your skin, and the best hyaluronic serums to add to your routine.

What is hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by our skin cells, says Dr. Zenovia, and helps skin look plump and supple. “The largest amounts of hyaluronic acid can be found in the skin, connective tissues, and eyes,” adds Dr. Zenovia. When it comes to skincare, hyaluronic acid is applied topically as a humectant holding up to 1,000 times its molecular weight in water, she says. That means that it helps draw moisture into the skin while also retaining water in the skin. In addition to being found in skincare products, hyaluronic acid can be manufactured; it comes in a clear substance and is used as an injection in facial folds and wrinkles as dermal filler, explains Dr. Zenovia.

What are the skincare benefits of hyaluronic acid?

There’s a reason why hyaluronic acid is an ingredient in so many topical skincare products—it works to hydrate and plump the skin and improve skin’s elasticity, while also reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, says Dr. Hibler. Our skin’s level of hyaluronic acid decreases with age, so incorporating a hyaluronic acid serum, moisturizer, or cream into your skincare routine can help maintain moisture levels over time. “The primary benefits include replenishing moisture loss, combating dryness, and restoring the appearance of healthy, hydrated skin,” says Dr. Zenovia. Plus, hyaluronic acid can help strengthen your skin barrier and protect it from environmental aggressors. “Dehydrated skin appears dry, rough, and flaky, and does a worse job at acting as a barrier to irritants and damage from the environment,” explains Dr. Hibler. As an aesthetic injectable, hyaluronic acid is used in dermal fillers to add volume and contour.

Who should be using hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is one of the few ingredients that actually works well with all skin types, but it’s especially great for anyone who needs more hydration—that doesn’t just mean people with dry skin. Dr. Zenovia loves to recommend hyaluronic acid serums, moisturizers, and creams for patients with oily skin because hyaluronic acid works to hydrate the skin and balance out moisture levels without using any additional oils. Dr. Hibler also suggests using eye creams formulated with hyaluronic acid for anyone who struggles with dry, crepey skin or wrinkles around their eye area.

Are there negative effects to using hyaluronic acid?

For most people, there aren’t any major side effects from applying hyaluronic acid. The skincare ingredient rarely causes allergic reactions, explains Dr. Zenovia, because it’s a substance that’s naturally found in our body. But just in case there’s a fragrance or preservative in the formula that you may be sensitive to, she recommends testing new skincare products on a patch of skin before slathering it all over your face.

How does hyaluronic acid fit into your skincare routine?

Dr. Zenovia recommends incorporating a hyaluronic acid serum in moisturizer into your nighttime routine. (And if your skin is extra-dry, add them into your morning routine, too.) “I also love using a hyaluronic acid serum before I apply my concealer,” she adds. “It fills in lines and prevents your concealer from caking up.” Dr. Zenovia also suggests applying a hyaluronic acid serum while your skin is still damp to improve water retention for dewy, supple skin.

Hyaluronic acid also plays well with other skincare ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin C, and other antioxidants, says Dr. Hibler. Dr. Halim also suggests applying hyaluronic acid with vitamin C or on its own underneath a moisturizer or cream to seal in the skin’s hydration. And if you’re using a retinoid, you’ll definitely want to consider working hyaluronic acid into your routine on the nights when you’re not applying the retinoid. Not only does it pair well with retinoids (a group that includes retinol) to help build more collagen, but it also works to stave off the drying effect retinoids can have on the skin, explains Dr. Hibler.

Our top picks: The best hyaluronic acid serums

SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier

With 1.3% hyaluronic acid, this serum is extremely effective when it comes to delivering hydration. In addition to boosting your skin’s moisture levels, it’s also formulated with ingredients like licorice root and purple rise to improve the skin’s overall texture.

SKINCEUTICALS
$110

Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum

Formulated with not one but two types of hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5, this serum locks in moisture and protects skin from environmental stressors. You’re sure to notice a softer and more plump complexion.

LA ROCHE-POSAY
$40

Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Serum

This hydrating concoction has three antioxidant-rich plums, vegan collagen, silk proteins, plus hyaluronic acid, to strengthen the skin barrierwhile also addressing dullness and dehydration. It also absorbs into the skin quickly and leaves your skin smooth, supple, and prepped for makeup.

GLOW RECIPE
$45

Triple Peptide + Oasis Serum 

Supercharged with peptides and plant extracts, this lightweight serum goes on smooth and locks in moisture without leaving a sticky residue in its wake.

YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE
$54

Tea Elixir Niacinamide & Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Aging Serum

Containing a dose of niacinamide, Fresh’s hyaluronic-infused serum addresses discoloration, hydrates the skin, and minimizes the appearance of fine lines.

FRESH
$80

Mary Kay Clinical Solutions HA + Ceramide Hydrator

This hyaluronic acid serum calls on ceramides and plant extracts to calm inflammation and reinforce the skin barrier to address dryness.

MARY KAY
$38

Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum

This concentrated formula contains ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide to retain moisture and protect your skin’s natural barrier for a more supple base.

PCA SKIN
$124

Hyaluronic Acid + Peptide Serum

“This serum is an ultra-light moisturizing formula featuring fractionated hyaluronic acid to provide intense hydration and nourishment while helping to visibly plump skin,” explains Dr. Zenovia. “It helps support the production of hyaluronic acid, collagen and elastin, delivers antioxidant and anti-aging protection for a supple, dewy, well-nourished and hydrated complexion.”

DR. ZENOVIA
$72

HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator

Boost your skin’s natural hyaluronic acid levels with this serum, which is formulated with peptides and vitamin E. Slather a dose of this lightweight formula on when your skin is feeling dry and you’ll notice an improvement instantly.

SKINMEDICA
$184

Hydra-Cool Serum

Expect to see an improvement in the look of fine lines, dark spots, dryness, and texture with continued use of this serum. It’s all thanks to the blend of moisture-retaining and brightening antioxidants in the formula.

IS CLINICAL
$96

Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum

This fast-absorbing serum from Kiehl’s is packed with hyaluronic acid and an adaptogen blend to calm, brighten, and hydrate your complexion.

KIEHL’S
$60 $45

Filling Good Hyaluronic Acid Plumping Serum

Not only is this fragrance-free hyaluronic acid great for anyone with sensitive skin but it also contains peptides to reduce moisture loss and lock in the hydration pulled in by the hyaluronic acid.

FARMACY
$48

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