Hyaluronic acid: facts vs. fiction

Plus the best hyaluronic acid serums and creams

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas
Feb 10, 2020 · 4 min read

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We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

I speak from experience when I say the hype around hyaluronic acid is real. Years ago, I tried my first hyaluronic acid moisturizer and fell in love. It made my face brighter and plumper overnight — unfortunately, it also contained a pore-clogging ingredient that made my acne worse. Turns out finding a good age-defying moisturizer is a little more complicated than I thought! I’m a few years older and wiser now, and currently breakout-free. Here’s everything I know about using hyaluronic acid to keep your skin hydrated.

The benefits of hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is a moisturizing ingredient that deeply hydrates skin. It’s a humectant, which means it adds water to the skin by drawing moisture from the air and enhancing absorption of the outermost layer of the skin. While its moisturizing benefits help all skin types, it’s especially popular for reducing the appearance of wrinkles by keeping the skin plump and dewy.

Hyaluronic acid side effects?

Good news — according to dermatologists, there are currently no negative side effects associated with pure hyaluronic acid. It’s not considered an allergen or have any toxicity. Because hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the skin, an allergic reaction to this particular ingredient is extremely unlikely. That said — the other ingredients in your hyaluronic acid moisturizer may have unsavory side effects. You can check for pore-clogging or irritating ingredients using the CosDNA test.

The best hyaluronic acid products

In search of a hyaluronic acid skincare routine that won’t break you out? Curology’s got your back. We love hyaluronic acid so much, it’s in 3 of our products — and new members can try them for free (more on this in a second).

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The best hyaluronic acid cream

The Curology rich moisturizer

The latest product from Curology, the rich moisturizer is a deeply hydrating cream perfect for aging skin or dry skin types. In addition to hyaluronic acid, this facial lotion is formulated with extra ultra-moisturizing ingredients including shea butter to help smooth tiny cracks in the skin and squalane to fight wrinkle-causing free radicals.

The best hyaluronic acid gel

The Curology gel moisturizer

The gel moisturizer by Curology offers more lightweight hydration and is ideal for oily skin types. This non-clogging, breathable, buildable formula also features glycerin and butylene glycol to boost hydration while dimethicone reinforces your skin’s natural moisture barrier.

The best hyaluronic acid cleanser

The Curology cleanser

This gentle, hydrating cleanser is made with sensitive skin in mind. Featuring ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, it won’t clog pores, irritate, or strip the skin. Use it morning and night to help prep your skin for the rest of your routine.

Even though Curology can cover your complete routine, I’ll be honest — these products aren’t necessarily for everyone. Since facial serums are the lightest form of hydration, a hyaluronic acid serum can be a great way to supplement your skincare routine.

The best hyaluronic acid serum

The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum

The Inkey List is one of my new favorite brands. This hyaluronic acid serum is also formulated with glycerin and butylene glycol for extra moisture — it’s a great option for aging skin that will leave skin looking plump and hydrated.

$7.99 via Sephora

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

A hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid in the form of sodium hyaluronate, plus other lightly moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and allantoin. It’s a non-greasy, non-comedogenic formula — perfect for oily skin.

$7.70 via Ulta

Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Serum

This age-defying serum is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic with a simple formula that makes it ideal for sensitive skin. It’s one of the most potent hyaluronic acid serums, with sodium hyaluronate as the third ingredient. A good light moisturizer for plump, glowy skin!

$24.99 via Ulta

Get a free month of Curology

New members can sign up for a free month of Curology for just $4.95 (plus tax) to cover the cost of shipping and handling. You’ll receive a customized cream, prescribed to you by one of our in-house dermatology providers for your unique skin. For no extra cost, you can upgrade to the complete Curology set to receive our cleanser and your choice of moisturizer. Get your complete hyaluronic acid skincare routine today and see why Curology is the secret to happier, healthier skin.

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Stephanie Papanikolas

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