Does Hyaluronic Acid Help Acne? Everything You Need To Know

With so many skincare ingredients out there, it’s hard to know which ones are actually effective. One ingredient that has caught my attention recently is hyaluronic acid. This skincare ingredient is a holy-grail for a lot of skincare enthusiasts out there, but does hyaluronic acid truly help with acne? Let’s dive into the science and my personal experience to find out!

Understanding Hyaluronic Acid

Before we delve into the potential benefits of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) for acne-prone skin, let’s take a closer look at what this remarkable molecule is all about. HA is a naturally occurring substance found in our skin, known for its extraordinary ability to retain moisture. As a humectant, HA works as a magnet for water molecules, drawing in moisture from the surrounding environment and locking it into the skin.

This exceptional moisture retention property plays a crucial role in keeping our skin well-hydrated, supple, and plump. HA acts as a thirst-quencher for our skin, ensuring it remains moisturized, protected from external factors causing dryness, and contributing to a healthy skin barrier that prevents moisture loss and shields against irritants and pollutants.

The Link Between Hyaluronic Acid and Acne

In the skincare community, there’s ongoing debate about Hyaluronic Acid’s (HA) effects on acne-prone skin. HA itself doesn’t cause acne; its impact depends on product quality and skin type. Certain HA formulations might not suit acne-prone individuals, potentially due to additional pore-clogging ingredients.

Does Hyaluronic Acid Help with Acne?

The answer is a resounding yes! When used correctly, Hyaluronic Acid can be a game-changer for acne-prone skin. To ensure that Hyaluronic Acid products benefit acne-prone skin, it is essential to choose high-quality formulations that are non-comedogenic and suited to individual skin types.

Additionally, maintaining a consistent skincare routine that includes gentle cleansing, acne-specific treatments, and non-comedogenic moisturizers can help manage acne effectively while enjoying the hydrating benefits of HA.

How Hyaluronic Acid Benefits Acne-Prone Skin

1. Hydration and Moisture

Dehydration is a common concern for those dealing with acne, often worsened by excessive drying treatments. Hyaluronic Acid (HA) steps in as a humectant, retaining moisture without pore-clogging. Maintaining the skin barrier through HA helps prevent water loss and protects from irritants, aiding in acne-prone skin improvement.

2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

When acne-prone skin becomes inflamed, HA’s anti-inflammatory abilities work to calm and soothe the skin, reducing redness and discomfort. By providing much-needed hydration, HA fosters a balanced and calm environment, aiding in efficient recovery from breakouts. Its gentle nature makes HA a suitable option for sensitive or acne-prone skin, offering a nurturing approach to addressing redness and inflammation

3. Wound Healing and Scar Reduction

Hyaluronic Acid (HA) plays a crucial role in wound healing, aiding the body’s natural process when acne lesions damage the skin. HA’s moisture retention fosters a hydrated environment around scars, promoting new skin cell formation and collagen production for smoother skin texture. Its support in efficient wound healing reduces the visibility of acne scars, leaving skin looking healthier and more even.

My Personal Journey with Hyaluronic Acid

When I introduced Hyaluronic Acid (HA) into my skincare routine, I was hopeful but cautious. After patch-testing a high-quality HA serum and confirming its compatibility with my skin, I began regular usage. The impact was astounding—my skin’s hydration levels improved significantly within weeks. HA’s moisture-retaining properties rejuvenated my dehydrated skin, leaving it plumper, smoother, and more radiant. Notably, HA also appeared to soothe and reduce the inflammation of my acne breakouts!

Incorporating Hyaluronic Acid into Skincare

Introducing HA into your skincare routine requires careful consideration and consistency. Here are some essential tips to make the most of this powerful ingredient:

1. Choosing the Right Hyaluronic Acid Products

Look for a pure and high-quality Hyaluronic Acid serum or moisturizer from reputable brands. Avoid products with added comedogenic ingredients that could potentially clog your pores.

Ingredients in Hyaluronic Products to Avoid:

  • Mineral Oil: Can create a barrier on the skin, potentially trapping impurities and causing clogged pores.
  • Synthetic Fragrances: May lead to skin irritation and worsen acne-prone skin (ie. Benzyl Salicylate)
  • Alcohol: Can be harsh and drying, causing irritation and disruption of the skin’s barrier.
  • Silicones: Some silicones can be pore-clogging and lead to breakouts for acne-prone individuals.
  • Parabens: These preservatives may cause skin sensitivities and potential hormonal disruption.
  • Propylene Glycol: Known to cause skin irritation, especially for sensitive skin types.
  • Artificial Colors: May cause skin irritation and sensitivity, particularly for those with sensitive skin.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): These surfactants can be overly harsh and strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation.
  • Endocrine Disruptors: It’s crucial to avoid ingredients that can potentially disrupt the endocrine system, which regulates hormones in the body. One such example is Phenoxyethanol, a common preservative used in skincare products. While it helps extend the product’s shelf life, some studies suggest it may have hormone-disrupting properties.

2. Patch Testing and Sensitivity

Before fully incorporating any new skincare product into your routine, it’s essential to perform a patch test on a small area of your skin. This simple yet crucial step can help determine whether you might be allergic or overly sensitive to the product.

To perform a patch test:

1. Choose a small, inconspicuous area on your inner forearm or behind your ear.
2. Apply a small amount of the product to the selected area.
3. Leave it on for at least 24 hours, avoiding washing or rubbing the area during this time.
4. Observe the skin for any signs of irritation, redness, itching, or swelling.

Patch test either on your inner forearm (left) or behind your ear (right)

If you experience any adverse reactions during or after the patch test, it’s essential to discontinue use of the product immediately. This precautionary measure helps you avoid potential risks and allows you to make informed decisions about whether the product is suitable for your skin.

Patch testing is particularly important if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, as certain ingredients may trigger allergic reactions or worsen existing skin concerns. Always remember that individual skin sensitivities can vary, so it’s essential to be vigilant and take care when introducing new products to your skincare routine. If you have any doubts or concerns, consider seeking advice from a dermatologist or skincare professional for personalized guidance.

3. Daily Skincare Routine

To fully harness the benefits of Hyaluronic Acid (HA), consider incorporating it into your daily skincare routine. Here’s how you can make the most of this powerful ingredient:

1. Cleanse: Begin by cleansing your face with a gentle, hydrating cleanser to remove impurities and create a clean canvas for the following steps.

2. Hydrate: On damp skin, apply a few drops of your preferred HA serum or product. Damp skin helps HA attract and lock in moisture more effectively, maximizing its hydrating potential.

3. Gently Massage: Gently massage the HA product into your skin using upward and outward motions. This helps the product penetrate the skin and disperse evenly.

4. Follow with Other Products: After the HA has absorbed into your skin, continue with your usual skincare routine. You can layer additional serums, moisturizers, or sunscreen, depending on your specific needs and concerns.

5. Lock in Moisture: To seal in the moisture provided by HA, consider applying a non-comedogenic moisturizer on top. This helps to further hydrate and protect the skin.

6. Sunscreen Protection: Always finish off your morning routine with broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to shield your skin from harmful UV rays.

My sunscreen recommendation for acne-prone/sensitive skin is Paula’s Choice DEFENSE Essential Glow Mineral Moisturizer SPF 30. This sunscreen not only protects my skin from harmful UV rays, but it also boasts a blend of powerful ingredients like Kiwi Extract, Vitamin C & E, Niacinamide, Argan Oil, and Resveratrol. Click here to check prices on Amazon

Remember that HA is compatible with various skin types and can be used in both morning and evening routines. It offers a gentle yet effective way to maintain optimal skin hydration, reduce redness, and promote a smoother complexion.

4. Combining Hyaluronic Acid with Other Products

Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a versatile ingredient that pairs well with skincare products. However, caution is needed when combining HA with exfoliants or treatments that can compromise the skin barrier. Exfoliating products like AHAs and BHAs effectively promote skin turnover but can temporarily weaken the barrier. Space out their use from HA-containing products to prevent irritation.

For a gentle daily exfoliant, I personally recommend Paulas Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid. If your interested, check out our article ‘The 10 Best Exfoliants for Acne-Prone Skin‘ to find the perfect exfoliant for your unique skin concerns. Click here to learn more!

Harsh treatments should be used cautiously, especially for sensitive or acne-prone skin. Balance active treatments with HA and introduce new products gradually while monitoring skin reactions.

Addressing Misconceptions about Hyaluronic Acid

As with any skincare product, misconceptions abound. Let’s debunk a few myths about Hyaluronic Acid and its role in acne management:

1. Acne Aggravation

Contrary to some misconceptions, HA does not aggravate acne. When used correctly, it can be a valuable ally in your fight against breakouts acne is often caused by factors such as excess oil production, clogged pores, and bacterial growth. HA does not interact with these mechanisms and does not contain ingredients that could trigger acne breakouts. Moreover, HA’s lightweight and non-comedogenic nature make it suitable for various skin types, including acne-prone skin. 

2. Dependency on Hyaluronic Acid

While HA is fantastic, it’s not a magic solution. Achieving clear skin requires a holistic approach, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and consistent skincare!


  • A balanced diet with nutrient-rich foods supports skin health.
  • Regular exercise improves blood circulation and reduces stress for better skin condition.
  • Consistent skincare practices, including HA and other beneficial ingredients, are essential.
  • Sunscreen protects the skin from harmful UV rays.
  • Lifestyle habits like adequate sleep and stress management contribute to skin health.
  • Personalized skincare routines are necessary as each person’s skin is unique.
  • Patience and experimentation may be required to find the right combination for your skin.

Instant Results vs. Long-Term Benefits

HA provides instant hydration, but long-term benefits require consistent use over time. Patience is key!

Short-term results of using Hyaluronic Acid (HA):

  • Instant Hydration: HA attracts and holds water, providing immediate hydration to the skin.
  • Plumpness and Suppleness: The skin appears plumper and more supple due to increased moisture retention.
  • Reduced Dryness: HA helps alleviate dryness and tightness in the skin.
  • Soothing Effect: HA’s hydrating properties can help calm and soothe irritated skin.
  • Improved Skin Texture: With improved hydration, the skin’s texture may appear smoother and more radiant.

Long-term results of consistent use of Hyaluronic Acid (HA):

  • Enhanced Moisture Retention: Continued use of HA supports the skin’s ability to retain moisture over time.
  • Improved Skin Barrier: HA helps strengthen the skin barrier, reducing water loss and improving resilience.
  • Fading of Fine Lines: With prolonged hydration, fine lines and wrinkles may appear less pronounced.
  • Overall Skin Health: HA contributes to a healthier skin environment, promoting a balanced and nourished complexion.
  • Reduced Redness and Sensitivity: HA’s soothing properties can lead to a reduction in redness and sensitivity.
  • Diminished Appearance of Scarring: With consistent use, HA may help fade the appearance of acne scars and other imperfections.
  • Radiant and Youthful Glow: The cumulative effects of HA can contribute to a more radiant and youthful-looking complexion.
  • Enhanced Skincare Absorption: Well-hydrated skin allows for better absorption of other skincare products, maximizing their effectiveness.

My Top 3 Recommendations for Hyaluronic Acid Serums

1. Best Overall: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid %2 + B5

This serum has become a staple in my skincare routine. Its lightweight texture and intense hydration leaves my skin feeling plump and refreshed. As far as overall value, its affordable, made with the best ingredients and I can see a noticeable improvement in my skin texture. I always stock up on my trips to Sephora.

2. Best On A Budget: The INKEY List Hyaluronic Acid Serum

This is a great budget-friendly hyaluronic acid serum! It has that same smooth texture and hydrating application you get from Th Ordinary for half the cost! One added benefit of this product is that it has additional Matrixyl 3000 which is a peptide that helps boosts collagen production.

3. Best Splurge: Paula’s Choice BOOST Hyaluronic Acid Booster

One of my fave skincare brands is Paula’s Choice so I had to include their serum on this list! Although it is a bit more expensive, you can’t beat the quality of their ingredients and formulation. The hyaluronic acid ‘booster’ serum provides a huge ‘boost’ of hydration! This product is amazing if you have dry skin.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, Hyaluronic Acid can indeed help with acne-prone skin. Its ability to hydrate, reduce inflammation, and promote healing make it a valuable addition to your skincare arsenal. Consulting with a dermatologist or skincare professional can provide invaluable guidance and insights tailored to your specific skin requirements. They can help you create a customized skincare routine that incorporates HA and other effective ingredients, maximizing the potential benefits for your acne-prone skin.

Ultimately, with the right approach and a well-rounded skincare routine, Hyaluronic Acid can be a game-changer in your pursuit of clearer and healthier skin. Remember, skincare is personal, so experiment and find what works best for you! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can Hyaluronic Acid replace my acne treatment? 

While HA can be beneficial, it’s not a substitute for acne treatments. It complements your acne-fighting routine.

Can all skin types use Hyaluronic Acid?

Yes, HA is generally suitable for all skin types. However, patch test if you have sensitive skin.

How often should I use Hyaluronic Acid?

Incorporate it into your daily routine, especially after cleansing and before moisturizing.

Can Hyaluronic Acid cause breakouts?

Unlikely, as HA is non-comedogenic. But if you experience breakouts, discontinue use and consult a dermatologist.

Is it safe to use Hyaluronic Acid during pregnancy?

Hyaluronic Acid is generally considered safe during pregnancy, but consult your doctor to be sure.

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Naya Miller

From battling persistent acne through my teenage years and into adulthood, I've developed a profound passion for the realm of acne skincare. My mission is to impart the wisdom I've gained from both personal experiences and exhaustive research on acne. I aim to guide you in discovering a tailored solution that effectively addresses your unique skincare concerns.

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