Hyaluronic Acid: Hipe or real?

Dr. Irwin: RE: Hyaluronic Acid First of all, thank you for your professionalism in consistently providing the unbiased information that you do. You are helping so many people and it is greatly appreciated. I am a 67 y/o man who tries to take good care of my skin (long sleeve shirts, wide brimmed hat, etc.) After reading/hearing much info on hyaluronic acid, I purchased L'Oreal Revitalift 1.5% HA. I apply it to my face, neck and back of hands both morning and evening as suggested. It seems to absorb quickly and I then apply Elta MD UV Daily SPF 40 sunscreen in the morning. In the evening, I apply a moisturizer. Questions: 1. Is HA beneficial or is it a manufacturers marketing gimmick? 2. Is 1.5% the optimal percentage? 3. Will it wash off when I rinse my face mid-day before re-applying sunscreen? Thank you for your help!!

You are SO welcome. I really love doing it. And, I feel a strong connection to all of you. It’s one of those not entirely rational things: it just feels right. Ok… the science part of my brain is rebelling now. 🙂 Hyaluronic acid or “HA” is being found in many more skincare products. In my opinion, it’s a bit of both, meaning marketing hype and real.

What does hyaluronic acid do in the body?

  • Our cells make it, a lot of it!
  • The “glue” between our cells is mostly hyaluronic acid (the extracellular matrix).
  • Also found in joints (synovial fluid) and it coats our cartilage cells.
  • In skin it helps with wound and UV repair and helps attract water molecules to the skin (skin hydration).
  • In skin, besides the above, it helps to scavenge free radicals which may damage cells.

Is HA in skincare products helpful?

  • Not as much as you might think because HAs are big molecules and big molecules don’t get through the outer skin layer (the epidermis) easily.
  • It helps with superficial hydration mostly. Try using it as a base layer under your regular moisturizer or sunscreen for extra hydration.
  • In my opinion (not much science on the best percentage), the 1.5% HA isn’t worth it. Look for gels that have it listed in the top 1-2 ingredients.
  • Fabulous as the non oily base for patients with acne and oily skin because it rarely causes breakouts.

It’s so great that you’re taking care of your skin. Since you’re already using a good sunscreen, the next steps are to invest in a good retinol/retinoid and a great antioxidant.

I hope this helps,

Dr. Brandith Irwin
Founder, SkinTour
Director, Madison Skin & Laser Center
Follow my skin tips and travels on Instagram!




Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
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