What are the Different Types of Topical Hyaluronic Acid?

Topical hyaluronic acid may be used to help speed up wound healing.
Topical treatment creams and serums vary in consistency.
Topical hyaluronic acid products may help increase skin softness and elasticity.
Some people who have arthritis apply topical hyaluronic acid cream to help relieve painful joints.
Some pain relief sprays designed to reduce muscle and joint soreness may contain hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic acid has anti-aging properties that help hydrate and soften the skin.
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  • Written By: Barbara Wells
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 23 July 2015
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Topical hyaluronic acid typically comes in two forms: hyaluronic acid serum and hyaluronic acid cream. Hyaluronic acid serums tend to be lighter, while hyaluronic acid creams have a heavier consistency. The percentage of hyaluronic acid in a serum or cream varies by product, and many of those products have other skin-friendly ingredients added.

Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in the human body. It is known to hydrate and lubricate, and the highest concentrations of hyaluronic acid in the human body are found in joint and eye fluids. It is necessary if heart valves are to function properly, and it also is necessary for the skin, which contains more than half of the body’s supply of the lubricant.

The body’s naturally occurring supply can be drained more quickly by exposure to viruses, too much riboflavin, and ultraviolet radiation. Hyaluronic acid also is known for its ability to bind moisture to skin and to regulate skin cell turnover. Thus, topical hyaluronic acid skincare products — both serums and creams — are shown to increase skin softness and elasticity.


Topical hyaluronic acid serums are generally vegetable glycerin-based or aloe-based, which accounts for their lighter texture. Topical hyaluronic acid creams are often oil-based, which accounts for the heavier consistency. Oils commonly used include jojoba, sunflower, and macadamia nut. The percentage of hyaluronic acid found in topical hyaluronic acid products can be as high as 65 percent, while others may have less than 15 percent hyaluronic acid. Added ingredients meant to further improve skin tone and texture include vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid and dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE).

Two different methods are used to create hyaluronic acid. One way is to grow it from bacteria in a laboratory, while the other is to extract it from cock's combs or chicken cartilage. Skincare products with bacteria-grown hyaluronic acid are often labeled vegetarian or vegan. Hyaluronic acid serums and creams labeled non-vegan frequently receive that tag because the cock's comb extraction method was used in its production.

Regardless of the type of topical hyaluronic acid product used, the benefits shown by applying hyaluronic acid preparations to one’s skin include improvement in skin elasticity, softness, and texture, and a decrease in fine lines. Research has shown that its benefits aren’t limited to the skin, however popular its use for that may be. It also has been shown to ease pain and, as a result, boost mobility in patients suffering from osteoarthritis, and its use in speeding wound healing and treating brain injuries also is under consideration.


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Post 4

Hyaluronic acid actually occurs naturally inside your skin. So many brands use this ingredient now in their products. Although people are debating the efficiency of this.

Post 3

@anamur-- Hyaluronic acid is water soluble, so as long as the topical product has water in it, the acid should be effective.

My friend just started using a hyaluronic acid gel for her arthritis and she thinks it's great.

Post 2

@anamur-- That's a great question. I've actually been wondering the same. I asked my dermatologist about it and he said that hyaluronic acid in face creams probably won't get absorbed. But I've heard people say that hyaluronic acid does get absorbed, but it depends on the type, where it's obtained from and the carrier product.

I think that even if the hyaluronic acid isn't absorbed, it should still be beneficial for skin. I used a hyaluronic face cream and my face was very soft and supple from this product. As long as I get these kind of results, it's not necessary for the acid to get absorbed in my opinion.

Post 1

Some people claim that collagen in creams cannot be absorbed by the skin and therefore is useless. Is hyaluronic acid like collagen in this sense? Can the skin absorb this acid or does it end up sitting on top of it when applied?

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