What is Hyaluronic Acid and how does it work?

Hyaluronic acid is a powerful moisturising agent that is found naturally in our skin. Don’t let the word “acid” scare you — it is known for its ability to retain up to 1,000 times its weight in water and help keep our skin hydrated and plump.

Hyaluronic acid gently hydrates your skin from the inside out, without irritation. The best part about hyaluronic acid? It benefits all skin types from sensitive skin to ageing skin and acne-prone skin too.

What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan, which is a specific type of long sugar molecule. Unlike many compounds in our skin, hyaluronic acid isn’t found in any particular layer of our skin, but actually makes up the space between our skin cells. Research has shown this molecule is heavily involved in the process of skin ageing and its role in retaining moisture.[1]

How does Hyaluronic Acid help skin?

Along with helping retain moisture in our skin and joints, hyaluronic acid also provides a barrier that prevents additional moisture from evaporating from our skin and into the air.

When hyaluronic acid is incorporated into skincare products, it acts as what’s called a ‘humectant’. It works by pulling moisture to the top layers of your skin, producing a dewier and more youthful complexion.

You may be familiar with collagen as a key plumping ingredient for the skin. However, collagen can not actually penetrate the skin when applied topically — meaning it isn’t an effective ingredient in skincare.

How do you use Hyaluronic Acid?

Unlike some skincare ingredients that can be difficult to work into your existing routine, hyaluronic acid is gentle on skin. Because your body naturally produces hyaluronic acid, allergic reactions and side effects and incredibly rare.[2] Using moisturisers and lotions which are specifically formulated with hyaluronic acid is a great way to make sure your skin can reap the benefits of this magical ingredient.

Should I add hyaluronic acid to my skincare routine?

Every day we lose a percentage of naturally produced hyaluronic acid from our bodies. Sun exposure (even for as little as 5 minutes!), cigarette smoke and pollution can significantly degree the levels of hyaluronic acid in your skin.

Additionally, just like collagen and elastin, our bodies produce less hyaluronic acid as we age. This decrease in hyaluronic acid contributes to increased signs of skin ageing. Selecting products which contain this moisture-boosting ingredient can help to combat these effects.

To see the positive effects of using hyaluronic acid in your skincare routine, it’s important to make sure the products you’re using are formulated correctly. In many topical products, the molecules are too big to properly permeate the skin and just sit on top where they can’t do any good. Cetaphil products are scientifically formulated to ensure the hyaluronic acid can penetrate your skin and help you achieve soft, supple and glowing skin. Our Cetaphil Face Daily Hydration Lotion with Hyaluronic Acid contains this powerful ingredient. For more targeted action, our Cetaphil Face Hydrating Eye Cream-Serum with Hyaluronic Acid is specifically formulated for use around the eye area and our Cetaphil Face Rich Night Cream with Hyaluronic Acid is ideal for maximising moisture retention overnight.


  1. Papakonstantinou E, Roth M, Karakiulakis G. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermato-Endocrinology. 2012;4(3):253-258.