Is Hyaluronic Acid Good For Acne?
Yes. While hyaluronic acid does not get rid of acne directly, it can help balance oil production, reduce redness, promote healing, and decrease the visible appearance of acne. Additionally, hyaluronic acid has been found to be a great ingredient in protecting the skin barrier, which is essential for all skin types, but especially for those with acne.
Hyaluronic Acid for Acne
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid (also known as sodium hyaluronate) is naturally found in the body doing some pretty cool things. HA is a glycosaminoglycan, which is a long linear polysaccharide. Glycosaminoglycans have critical functions throughout the body. Just a few of those functions include, providing moisture and lubrication to joints, cell signaling, regulation of cell growth, telling the cells when to divide, and providing vital wound repair functions.
As far as skincare goes, hyaluronic acid is responsible for plump skin, it helps to heal the skin, and it’s found in the connective tissues giving our skin structure. As we get older, we lose a lot of the hyaluronic acid that’s naturally occurring. Skin barrier damage, the sun, and general environmental factors also contribute to less HA in the skin.
Hyaluronic Acid Benefits For Acne
- Wound Healing
- Increases Skin Elasticity
- Balances Oil Production
- Repairs and Protects The Skin Barrier
- Decreases Inflammation & Redness
- Minimizes The Appearance Of Acne And Acne Scars
- Helps With Delivery Of Other Acne Fighting Topicals
HA is a pretty spectacular humectant with the ability to hold up to 1000X its weight in water! In other words, when used properly, it keeps your skin hydrated.
One of the concerns we see with acne prone skin is a lot of TEWL, or transepidermal water loss. This is the scientific way that we measure how much water evaporates from the skin.
A common myth with acne is that you want to avoid moisturizing and hydrating products because they make your skin oilier and thus your breakouts worse. In addition, acne treatments can dry the skin as well and increase transepidermal water loss.
The combination of acne treatments and hesitation to moisturize, can lead to significant water loss. When we add HA to a skincare routine we see transepidermal water loss slow down drastically. In other words, we see more hydrated skin.
If you’re wondering what the benefits are of hydrated skin for acne…. In short, making sure your skin is hydrated can significantly reduce acne breakouts by balancing oil production, and healing/protecting the skin barrier.
In addition to being extremely hydrating, hyaluronic acid has been shown in several studies to speed up the healing process which may help with healing your acne, especially in cases where you’ve been picking at them, or cystic acne.
It’s also anti inflammatory and soothing which helps to decrease redness, irritation, and helps to promote skin barrier health.
When you’re actively treating a skin condition like acne, hyaluronic acid is also useful in that it enhances the penetration of products that are used after it. So, let’s say you apply your HA, and then a spot treatment. The HA may help the spot treatment work more effectively while protecting your skin from the drying properties of the treatment.
While there are many other benefits of HA, the last one we want to highlight here specifically for acne prone skin,is the ability of HA to decrease the appearance of acne.
Hyaluronic acid provides the appearance of instant plump, smooth skin, which can minimize the appearance of acne. At first when you start using HA you’ll find that when you wash it off the effects of plumping and smoothing seem to fade away, but overtime these results, along with skin elasticity, will become your skin norm, even if you stop using HA for a period of time.
Does Hyaluronic Acid Help With Acne Scars?
We’ve talked about all these good things that HA does for the skin, but what about scars?
The reality is that if it’s truly a scar, topical hyaluronic acid is probably not going to do much other than smoothing the appearance while it’s being used. If it’s acne that’s still healing… AKA: red, progressively getting smaller, but taking a long time to heal, Hyaluronic acid may very well speed up the healing time.
With that being said, if you truly want to get rid of your indented acne scars definitely talk to your dermatologist about the option of getting injections of hyaluronic acid which can drastically help with the scaring.
Can Hyaluronic Acid Cause Acne, Purging or Breakouts?
Hyaluronic acid alone does not cause purging.
Okay, but what about acne? It’s highly unlikely.
Because it’s naturally occurring in the body, very few people have problems using hyaluronic acid. That’s not to say it’s impossible. If you have recently started using hyaluronic acid and you are breaking out and suspect it, definitely stop using it, wait until your skin is healthy again and do a spot treatment. You may also want to investigate what ingredients are being used in your serum because there’s a good chance it’s not the HA, it’s something else.
Is Hyaluronic Acid Good For Fungal Acne?
In general, yes. You do want to make sure the product you use doesn’t contain anything that would be bad for fungal acne, and you want to make sure to apply your HA correctly (we’ll talk about that below). But generally speaking, hyaluronic acid is safe for fungal acne.
Is Hyaluronic Acne Good For Cystic Acne?
Yes! Just like regular acne, you want to make sure your skin is hydrated, and hyaluronic acid is a great way to do that in a gentle non-comedogenic way! Just like with fungal acne, you do want to make sure the other ingredients in the formula you’re using are cystic acne friendly, but other than that you should be good to go!
What Hyaluronic Acid For Acne Should I Get?
What you’ll find when you start looking is that hyaluronic acid comes in different molecular weights and also different percentages.
Larger molecules bind water, which means that they are great at holding moisture to the skin. But because they are larger, they don’t penetrate the skin. With the larger molecules you’ll see instant plumping and your skin will be able to retain moisture better throughout the day. This is important because we see dehydration and interruption of the skin barrier resulting in worse acne.
Smaller HA molecules can actually penetrate the top layer of skin, providing not only deeper hydration, but studies are also suggesting these smaller molecule HA are able to repair the skin, decrease inflammation, and decrease signs of aging by increasing collagen production. The downside with smaller HA is that it doesn’t hold moisture to the top of the skin, providing that instant plumping and hydrating effect that larger HA molecules provide.
In order to get the maximum benefits, you actually want to look for products that contain a variety of HA weights. Preferably, at least 4 molecular weights.
As for the percent of hyaluronic acid… aim for around 2% total. Most studies are showing great benefits at this amount. As in all things, more is not always better and less is going to potentially be less beneficial.
How To Use Hyaluronic Acid For Acne Effectively.
The key to using hyaluronic acid is to use it on top of wet skin and seal it in with a moisturizer.
HA is best used as your first step after you wash your face. You can use a toner to add moisture before using HA, we like to use our Matcha Green Tea Toner for this purpose, but you can just use water as well. The key is putting it on top of wet skin.
Always use HA while your skin is wet. A lot of times labels say “damp”, but if you live in a dry climate, you’re going to want as much moisture as you can to already be on your skin prior to using hyaluronic acid. Then make sure you seal it in really well! If you live in a dry climate consider using a non comedogenic oil like squalane oil along with your moisturizer to seal the deal. Ideally, you don’t want to let your skin dry out between HA and your moisturizer. If you have more serums and treatments to apply, try to keep your skin wet by misting it with water or a toner in between layers.
And that’s pretty much it! A giant ultimate guide to hyaluronic acid for acne. Hopefully this has been helpful and not overwhelming. If you have any questions about HA or any skincare routine questions or concerns, definitely shoot us an email at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to help!