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Can Hyaluronic Acid Cause Acne?

5 mins

Linda Banner

Afraid to use hyaluronic acid on your acne-prone skin? Read on for the truth about the effects of this popular skincare ingredient.

Hyaluronic acid, or HA, is among the most common skin care ingredients. Hyaluronic acid may sound a little scary, especially since it has the word “acid” in the title. But have no fear. 

Today, we will discuss all things hyaluronic acid, including what it is and who should (or should not) use it.

Table of contents:

  • What Is Hyaluronic Acid?
  • How Do Hydration and Moisturization Differ?
  • Does Hyaluronic Acid Have Side Effects?
  • What Are Some Other Nourishing Ingredients?

What Is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid is primarily a humectant. Humectants help to draw water from the air into your skin. Your skin can become dehydrated from an insufficient amount of sleep, very hot showers, harsh weather conditions, and irritating chemicals in your skincare products.

One of the primary benefits of hyaluronic acid is its potentially hydrating effects. Drawing water from the air deep into your skin can help prevent your skin from feeling dehydrated and soothe its effects, including dry skin, visible cracks, uneven complexion, and an itchy sensation. When your skin is dry, it may have a rough, unhealthy appearance and look visibly dehydrated.

Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. Hydrating your skin can help improve the feel of your skin, encouraging a softer and plumper appearance. Your skin may seem more supple. Hyaluronic acid could help to temporarily minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

benefits of hyaluronic acid, how to use hyaluronic acid against acne

Hyaluronic acid comes in multiple forms, which is why it can sometimes be labeled under other terms on an ingredient list. The most common example of this alternate wording is sodium hyaluronate. Sodium hyaluronate is derived from hyaluronic acid. 

In simple terms, sodium hyaluronate is essentially the salt of hyaluronic acid. 

How Do Hydration and Moisturization Differ?

Hyaluronic acid works well in tandem with a good moisturizer. It is important to note that hyaluronic acid on its own does not function as a moisturizer. 

Hydration is primarily focused on providing more water to the skin. Moisturizer is typically more of a sealant that helps to prevent moisture from escaping your skin.

Using a moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid can help boost the levels of hydration within your epidermis, can help soothe your dry skin, and could leave your skin feeling more radiant. We suggest using WOW Skin Science Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel

hyaluronic acid water gel, face cream against acne

This water gel is made to restore lost moisture to your dehydrated, tired, dull skin. Natural ingredients are formulated in this vitamin mix to help give your skin a smoother and more radiant appearance. 

These ingredients include: 

  • Vitamin E
  • Pro-Vitamin B5
  • Glycerin
  • Purified water

Vitamin E can help calm irritated skin, while vitamin B5 can improve the feel of your skin. Glycerin is a humectant that hydrates the skin and retains moisture. Hyaluronic acid is the primary ingredient in this water gel. It’s a great way to help minimize the appearance of fine lines. 

HA works to increase the skin’s water content and helps keep it looking and feeling plumper by holding and binding water molecules together. It can help your skin feel softer.

On its own, hyaluronic acid doesn’t typically cause breakouts. However, if your beauty routine includes a product with HA that isn’t vegan-friendly, sulfate-free, and paraben-free, you may want to try a different product.

If you are looking for a more classic face cream that contains hyaluronic acid, we recommend WOW Skin Science Coconut Water Full Cream. This face cream is formulated to give your skin its daily dose of deep hydration and nourishment. 

Unlike the Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel, hyaluronic acid is not the primary ingredient, but it works in tandem with the other ingredients to help temporarily improve the appearance of the skin. Coconut water is the main ingredient. Coconut water delivers essential fatty acids to the skin. 

coconut water wow face cream

That being said, hyaluronic acid is still a primary ingredient, along with coconut oil and vitamin B5. Together, these organic elements can help moisturize the skin, potentially protect the lipid barrier, and help to create a more even-toned complexion.

Even if you have acne-prone skin, you can take comfort in knowing that this cream is formulated to be non-greasy, non-sticky, and non-comedogenic. It’s made to absorb quickly into your skin without clogging your pores.

Does Hyaluronic Acid Have Side Effects?

If you have dry skin or live in an extremely dry environment, there is a chance that, without proper precaution, hyaluronic acid can have adverse effects. 

As previously described, hyaluronic acid is a humectant that draws water from the air into your skin. However, if you do not have enough water in the air to pull from, the acid may instead pull existing water from within your skin. 

It could do the opposite of what it is meant to do and make your skin even more dehydrated than before. It’s important to stay hydrated and to apply HA with a little moisture, such as when you are fresh out of the shower and your skin feels dewy.

When hyaluronic acid is mixed with other products, it can dry out your skin and could lead to acne. This is because acne sometimes develops when sebum — an oily substance naturally produced by your body to lubricate your skin and hair — and dead skin cells clog up your pores. 

The drier your skin is, the more likely it is to flake and cause a buildup of dead skin cells on your epidermis. Dry skin is also typically a sign of a weakened moisture barrier. Your moisture barrier is important for keeping in hydration and keeping out harmful bacteria and pollutants.

oily skin, how to treat acne

Once this bacteria reaches the surface, it may trigger the appearance of breakouts. Therefore, hyaluronic acid can — in a sort of roundabout way — cause breakouts. That said, it is dependent upon several different factors, like your skin type and your environment.

If you live in a dry environment or have naturally dry skin, you can still safely use hyaluronic acid and reap all the potential hydrating benefits it has to offer. So long as you are making an effort to keep your skin moisturized and choosing the right type of HA. 

Convenient fixes include drinking more water, using a humidifier in your home or workplace, and using a strong, water-based moisturizer. Choose the right kind of product that contains HA.

You can also make sure that your skin will react positively to hyaluronic acid by first performing a patch test. To do so, gently wash and dry a small area of skin behind your ear. Next, apply a small amount of your skin care product containing hyaluronic acid. Then, gently massage the product in it. 

The spot behind your ear is a good location to perform your patch test because the skin’s thickness is similar to that of the skin on your face where you will be using your product. 

If you have sensitive skin and have not observed any negative symptoms like redness or irritation after one or two days, you can proceed to try your skin care product on your face with less apprehension. 

What Are Some Other Nourishing Ingredients?

If you are still concerned about any potential side effects of hyaluronic acid, you still have options. If you are in search of a different hydrating key ingredient, we suggest trying products containing aloe vera.

Aloe vera is a succulent that consists of 500 different species spanning all sorts of climates. If you cut open one of its long, thorny leaves, you will find a sticky, gel-like substance. This substance contains 95% water, making it a potentially great tool for moisturizing and hydrating.

aloe vera for skin

If you have acne-prone skin, we recommend trying WOW Skin Science Aloe Vera Multi-Vitamin Face Cream. This face cream is soothing, toning, and reviving. It can help improve skin texture and appearance by exfoliating, removing dead skin cells, and enhancing the cell renewal process.

The key ingredient in our product is aloe vera extract. It is rich in minerals and moisture that can help nourish and hydrate your skin, in turn protecting your skin from dryness caused by dehydration. 

Other key nourishing ingredients include: 

  • Shea butter
  • Niacinamide
  • D pantheon
  • Moroccan argan
  • Sweet almond oil

With consistent use, this 100% vegan, paraben, and sulfate-free product can leave your skin looking more youthful and feeling silky smooth.

One thing is for sure, and that is that hydration is extremely important for your skin. In most instances, especially when included in quality skincare products, hyaluronic acid is a great natural method for keeping your skin strong and supple. 

There are a few minor factors to consider before applying the product to your skin, but with a couple of adjustments to your skincare routine and a quick skin patch test, you should be safe to use hyaluronic acid to your heart’s content.

On the rare chance that it is simply not the correct fit for you, we encourage you to explore other natural methods of skin hydration, starting with WOW Skin Science

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Linda Banner

Linda Banner loves all things that are about beauty and wellness. She experiments with numerous haircare products and publishes her findings. Readers like to read her reviews because they find them to be a no-nonsense presentation of facts. Brands are equally in awe of her reviews, given her extensive grasp of the beauty and wellness domain. If you want authentic info, Linda is the expert to follow!

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