Last updated: August 11, 2021

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You've probably heard that hyaluronic acid serum can be an effective way to moisturise and restore your skin's glow. If you would like to know more about the effect of hyaluronic acid, if you are interested in scientific findings and if you would like to learn something about the application of hyaluronic acid serum, then we can help you in this article.

In our hyaluronic acid serum test 2021 we give you valuable tips so that you can find the right serum for you. So that you know what to look for before buying a hyaluronic acid serum, we have put together all the important information on the subject in this article.




The most important facts

  • Hyaluronic acid effectively helps to bind water in the skin and thus supply it with moisture. In the ageing process, people lose their body's own hyaluronic acid. A hyaluronic acid serum can help replenish the reserves in the skin.
  • A distinction can be made between high-molecular and low-molecular hyaluronic acid. Depending on which type of hyaluronic acid is used in a serum, other skin layers are enriched and the effect differs.
  • When buying a hyaluronic acid serum, you should look for good ingredients without alcohols, parabans, silicones, fragrances and dyes. Other important buying criteria are vegan production, opacity of the bottle and the desired area of application.

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for hyaluronic acid serums

When buying a hyaluronic acid serum, you can look at many different aspects. These include the following:

Pay attention to the quality of the hyaluronic acid serum. If the ingredients are adapted to your needs, you can save money and also ensure that you do not give your body anything it does not need.

Application area

Depending on the area of your skin you want to moisturise, you should adapt your choice of hyaluronic acid serum. The most common use of hyaluronic acid serum is on the face. To reduce wrinkles, fight small pimples and tighten the skin, you should choose facial serums with hyaluronic acid.

Sensitive areas such as the lips or the thin skin under the eyes generally require a milder composition of skin care products. For these areas, hyaluronic acid serums should be used that do not contain fragrances or alcohols.

So before buying, think about the specific skin area you want to use the hyaluronic acid serum on.

Generally, all-round hyaluronic acid serums that are suitable for several parts of the body are also available in stores. For skin areas such as the face or lips, however, care products should be chosen whose ingredients are adapted to precisely these areas of the body.

Ingredients

Before buying a hyaluronic acid serum, the composition of the ingredients should be the most important criterion. As a matter of principle, the skin should not be supplied with substances that it does not need or that are even harmful.

The face is a particularly sensitive area of the skin. If you want to use the hyaluronic acid serum here, you should make sure that the product has a mild composition. This means that the serum should not contain any drying alcohols.

Parabens and silicones should also be avoided on the face. They form a film on the skin, block the pores and are not water-soluble. In addition, fragrances and dyes, which can have an irritating effect, should be avoided.

Instead, look for soothing and moisturising ingredients such as aloe vera, vitamin C or retinol and other plant extracts.

Opacity of the bottle

If you want your skincare products to last longer, make sure the packaging is opaque. UV radiation can cause certain ingredients in the serum to break down, making it less durable.

Cosmetics will last longer in brown bottles than in transparent ones.

If your hyaluronic acid serum is going to be in use for a longer period of time, make sure it is in opaque plastic packaging or the classic brown pharmacy bottle.

For cosmetics and hyaluronic acid serums that are made without preservatives, UV-impermeable packaging is especially important to ensure a long shelf life. The brown glass bottles not only look good, but are also more sustainable than plastic packaging.

Production

The production of skin care products is also becoming increasingly important. If you want to choose your lotions, creams and serums in an environmentally conscious and mindful way, you should make sure that they have been produced vegan. Hyaluronic acid can be biotechnically obtained from plant materials. Animal materials are rarely used nowadays and are therefore unnecessarily wasteful of resources.

The animal-free production of cosmetics should also be taken into account. Very many manufacturers offer a range of products that have not been tested on animals. Some brands are even completely cruelty-free. If you want to respect the environment and animal welfare, choose vegan and animal-free hyaluronic acid serums.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about hyaluronic acid serum answered in detail

In order to provide you with comprehensive information about the effectiveness of hyaluronic acid serums and to give you an understanding of the current scientific status, we have compiled all the important information and frequently asked questions in the following sections.

What is a hyaluronic acid serum and how does it work?

Hyaluronic acid is a substance produced naturally in the body that is found in the connective tissue of the skin and plays a role in cell migration and cell division. In cosmetics, hyaluronic acid is very often processed in serums to be applied to the skin as a care product. It ensures that water is bound and stored in the skin, thus reducing dry skin areas (1, 2).

Effect on dry skin

The main property of hyaluronic acid that many should be familiar with is its moisturising effect. Its ability to bind with water allows it to enrich the skin with moisture.

Hyaluronic acid binds water and stores it in the skin.

With the right dosage, hyaluronic acid can significantly increase skin hydration and thus reduce dry patches (3).

Hyaluronsäure Serum

Hyaluronic acid serum has the property of binding water. It is therefore an effective skin care product to enrich moisture in the skin. (Image source: Unsplash / Mathilde Langevin)

A side effect of this action is that the skin can look plumper and more radiant due to its increased moisture. A smooth and firm skin texture and the apparent plumping of wrinkles can be caused by the regular use of hyaluronic acid serums.

Effect on ageing skin

Hyaluronic acid is a substance that the body produces on its own when young. Young skin retains its resilience and suppleness partly due to its water content. Everyday stresses such as UV radiation and dry air can promote the ageing process of the skin. Wrinkles and dull skin can be the result of this ageing process.

As we age, the amount of hyaluronic acid in the body decreases. The key molecule for skin hydration has the property of binding water and keeping it in the skin. If hyaluronic acid is added to the ageing skin from the outside, the reserves are replenished and the ageing process of the skin can be delayed (4).

With sufficient dosage, the intake of hyaluronic acid can also reduce the depth of wrinkles in addition to skin ageing. However, such an effect was only found with the oral intake of hyaluronic acid (5). The reduction of wrinkles has not yet been proven for the application of hyaluronic acid serums.

Effect on joint problems

Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the synovial fluid of the joints. It fills the space between the joints and keeps them mobile. The sensitive cartilage can be stressed during movement if there is not enough synovial fluid. This can lead to the development of arthrosis.

The synovial fluid therefore basically prevents the bones from wearing down because they rub against each other. Hyaluronic acid has long been used to treat joint disease. It is usually injected or used as a dietary supplement.

Science has shown that hyaluronic acid can be used to significantly reduce pain than without (6, 7). However, a reduction of joint diseases like osteoarthritis could not be proven so far.

When and for whom is it useful to apply a hyaluronic acid serum?

In principle, the application of hyaluronic acid serums is suitable for all skin types. As already mentioned, especially people with dry or ageing skin can benefit from hyaluronic acid. But oily skin and combination skin can also make use of it. Hyaluronic acid can also help to rebalance the skin and reduce sebum production (8).

Moreover, applying hyaluronic acid is not only for people with a progressive ageing process of the skin. From the mid-twenties onwards, the body begins to deplete its hyaluronic acid reserves. So that the skin loses less moisture, hyaluronic acid can also be applied at a young age and used as an anti-ageing measure.

Hyaluronsäure Serum

Hyaluronic acid serums are generally suitable for all skin types, ages and genders. The active ingredient replenishes hyaluronic acid reserves, which diminish as people age. (Image source: Unsplash/ Natasha Kendall)

Hyaluronic acid has also been shown to improve skin texture and moisturise young women and men. The jawline can become more elastic and firm, and blemishes and skin texture can improve significantly (9).

How to apply hyaluronic acid serum?

Hyaluronic acid serum can be applied to the skin every day. For the face, many manufacturers recommend application up to twice a day. It is best to apply the serum to the skin in the morning and evening. Before applying, however, your face should be free of cream and make-up residues.

The serum should be applied to skin that has been cleansed and from which make-up has been removed.

Once the skin has been cleansed and no longer has a film of dirt and oil, two to three drops of the serum can be applied to the desired areas of the skin. Even a small amount is enough to achieve the desired effects.

The hyaluronic acid serum should be gently worked into the skin with the fingertips. It is advisable to tap the serum gently instead of rubbing it in. This helps the hyaluronic acid to reach the top layer of the skin and allows it to unfold optimally.

What types of hyaluronic acid serums are there?

Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that can be extracted from plant and animal materials. A basic distinction can be made between long-chain and short-chain or high-molecular and low-molecular hyaluronic acid. The following table summarises the types:

Type Description
High-molecular, long-chain hyaluronic acid High-molecular hyaluronic acid is composed of longer chains of the molecule. Because it cannot penetrate as deeply into the skin, it mainly acts on the surface of the skin
Low-molecular, short-chain hyaluronic acid Low-molecular hyaluronic acid consists of short-chain molecules. Due to its small mass and size, it can penetrate deeper into the skin.

In the next two paragraphs we will describe in more detail what these two types of hyaluronic acid are all about.

Serum with high-molecular hyaluronic acid

High molecular weight hyaluronic acid is the largest variety of the molecule. With its size and weight, the molecular chain cannot penetrate the skin barrier. It therefore lies on the upper layer of the skin.

However, it forms a film with the keratin that is present in the skin, which moisturises the skin and helps to improve the skin's elasticity. However, this film washes off relatively quickly. This results in rather short-term effects of the high-molecular hyaluronic acid.

Basically, the smaller the hyaluron chain, the deeper the hyaluron acid can penetrate into the skin layer.

On the other hand, this type of hyaluronic acid does have nourishing and beneficial properties. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect and can help with minor wounds because it has antibacterial properties (10).

Serum with low-molecular hyaluronic acid

Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid is able to be absorbed into the skin. With its small size and low weight, it can penetrate through the top layer of the skin. In this area, the short-chain hyaluronic acid can develop its well-known effect and store water in the connective tissue.

This additional moisture makes the skin plumper and firmer and wrinkles are visibly reduced. When low-molecular hyaluronic acid is used, moisture is stored in the skin for a long time. It therefore has more benefits and a more lasting effect. For this reason, it has proven itself especially in cosmetics.

What are the side effects of hyaluronic acid serum?

Hyaluronic acid is considered very safe to use and only a few side effects are known to medicine and science. Because the human body produces the substance itself, allergic reactions occur rather rarely.

In general, hyaluronic acid is considered very tolerable and safe.

A clinical, Japanese study on the effect of hyaluronic acid against osteoarthritis, for example, could not find any negative side effects (6).

In addition, it has so far been recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid preparations with hyaluronic acid. The reason for this is the as yet unresearched effects on the unborn child.

There are also indications that cancer cells may grow faster if hyaluronic acid capsules are taken (11). For this reason, it is also recommended that people with cancer or a history of cancer refrain from taking food supplements with hyaluronic acid.

The side effects already mentioned apply above all to hyaluronic acid in capsules and food supplements. For serums that are applied to the skin, no side effects have been reported so far.

With which other serums and creams can hyaluronic acid serum be combined?

Hyaluronic acid is very compatible with other active ingredients. It is therefore quite possible to combine hyaluronic acid serum with other skin care products. The following applies: The hyaluronic acid serum is applied as the bottom layer to the cleansed skin after removing make-up.

Hyaluronsäure Serum

Hyaluronic acid serum can easily be combined with other active ingredients. Retinol and fruit acids work like a moisture booster in combination with hyaluronic acid. (Image source: Unsplash / Miska Sage)

Over the moisture booster, you can apply the products of your care routine as usual. For dry skin, for example, a moisturiser is recommended. For all skin types, sun protection is also essential for long-lasting, young skin.

Hyaluronic acid works particularly well with retinol or fruit acid. These two active ingredients, together with the hyaluronic acid, transport water into the skin and make it radiant.

What alternatives are there to hyaluronic acid serum?

Besides hyaluronic acid, there are other moisturisers that support the skin's natural moisturising system. The following alternatives also have the property of accumulating water in the skin:

Alternative Scientific status Description
Urea The active ingredient urea is regarded in science as an effective remedy for dry skin and offers further dermatological application areas. Strong side effects are not known so far. However, urea can cause mild irritation on irritated skin (12). Urea is a natural breakdown product of the metabolism and is deposited on the upper layers of the skin. In these skin layers, the urea binds water and thus helps against dry skin areas.
Lactic acid Lactic acid is considered by scientists to be a remedy for dry, itchy and burning skin. It soothes inflammation and protects the skin (13). Lactic acid is pH-regulating and moisturising. In skin care products, this active ingredient is used for its cornification-dissolving properties.

The active ingredients urea and lactic acid are also considered moisturising and pH-regulating. They can also be combined with a hyaluronic acid serum to enhance the water-enriching effect.

Can hyaluronic acid serum be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding?

As already mentioned, the use of oral hyaluronic acid preparations is not recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This recommendation applies because the effect of hyaluronic acid on the newborn has not yet been sufficiently researched.

However, the external application of a hyaluronic acid serum is usually safe and harmless. This applies to both pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, the serum should not be applied to the breast during breastfeeding.

Image source: Olgasab / 123rf.com

References (13)

1. Kawada, C./ Yoshida, T./ Yoshida, H./ Matsuoka, R./ Sakamoto, W./ Odanaka, W./ Sato, T./ Yamasaki, T./ Kanemitsu, T./ Masuda, Y./ Urushibata, O. (2014): Ingested Hyaluronan Moisturizes Dry Skin. Nutr J. 13: p. 70. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-70.
Source

2. Salwowska, N.M./ Bebenek, K.A./ Żądło, DA./ Wcisło-Dziadecka, D.L. (2016): Physiochemical Properties and Application of Hyaluronic Acid: A Systematic Review. J Cosmet Dermatol. 15(4): p.520-526. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12237.
Source

3. Marini, A./ Grether-Beck, S./ Jaenicke, T./ Weber, M./ Burki, C./ Formann, P./ Brenden, H./ Schönlau, F./ Krutmann, J. (2012): Pycnogenol® Effects on Skin Elasticity and Hydration Coincide with Increased Gene Expressions of Collagen Type I and Hyaluronic Acid Synthase in Women. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 25(2): p. 86-92. doi: 10.1159/000335261.
Source

4. Papakonstantinou, E./ Roth, M./ Karakiulakis, G. (2012): Hyaluronic acid: A Key Molecule in Skin Aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 1; 4(3): p. 253-8. doi: 10.4161/derm.21923.
Source

5. Balogh, L./ Polyak, A./ Mathe, D./ Kiraly, R./ Thuroczy, J./ Terez, M./ Janoki, G./ Ting, Y./ Bucci, L.R./ Schauss, A.G. (2008): Absorption, Uptake and Tissue Affinity of High-Molecular-Weight Hyaluronan After Oral Administration. J Agric Food Chem. 56(22): p. 10582-93. doi: 10.1021/jf8017029.
Source

6. Tashiro, T./ Seino, S./ Sato, T./ Matsuoka, R./ Masuda, Y./ Fukui, N. (2012): Oral Administration of Polymer Hyaluronic Acid Alleviates Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study over a 12-Month Period. ScientificWorldJournal. 2012: 167928. doi: 10.1100/2012/167928.
Source

7. Oe, M./ Tashiro, T./ Yoshida, H./ Nishiyama, H./ Masuda, Y./ Maruyama, K./Koikeda, T./ Maruya, R./ Fukui, N. (2016): Oral Hyaluronan Relieves Knee Pain: A Review. Nutr J. 15: p. 11. doi: 10.1186/s12937-016-0128-2.
Source

8. Jung, Y.R./ Hwang, C./ Ha, J.M/ Choi, D.K./ Sohn, K.C./ Lee, Y./ Seo, Y.J./ Lee, Y.H./ Kim, C.D./ Lee, J.H./ Im, M. (2017): Hyaluronic Acid Decreases Lipid Synthesis in Sebaceous Glands. J Invest Dermatol. 137(6): p. 1215-1222. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2017.01.017.
Source

9. Garre, A./ Martinez-Masana, G./ Piquero-Casals, J./ Granger, C. (2017): Redefining Face Contour with a Novel Anti-Aging Cosmetic Product: An Open-Label, Prospective Clinical Study. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 10: p. 473-482. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S148597.
Source

10. Pirnazar, P./ Wolinsky, L./ Nachnani, S./ Haake, S./ Pilloni, A./ Bernard, G.W. (1990): Bacteriostatic effects of hyaluronic acid. J Periodontol. 70(4): p. 370-4. doi: 10.1902/jop.1999.70.4.370.
Source

11. Itano, N./ Zhuo, L./ Kimata, K. (2008): Impact of the Hyaluronan-Rich Tumor Microenvironment on Cancer Initiation and Progression. Cancer Sci. 99(9): p. 1720-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2008.00885.x.
Source

12. Danby, S.G./ Brown, K./ Higgs-Bayliss, T./ Chittock, J./ Albenali, L./ Cork, M.J. (2016): The Effect of an Emollient Containing Urea, Ceramide NP, and Lactate on Skin Barrier Structure and Function in Older People with Dry Skin. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 29(3): p. 135-47. doi: 10.1159/000445955.
Source

13. Lodén, M. (2003): Role of Topical Emollients and Moisturizers in the Treatment of Dry Skin Barrier Disorders. Am J Clin Dermatol. 4(11): p. 771-88. doi: 10.2165/00128071-200304110-00005.
Source

Why you can trust me?

Klinische Studie
Kawada, C./ Yoshida, T./ Yoshida, H./ Matsuoka, R./ Sakamoto, W./ Odanaka, W./ Sato, T./ Yamasaki, T./ Kanemitsu, T./ Masuda, Y./ Urushibata, O. (2014): Ingested Hyaluronan Moisturizes Dry Skin. Nutr J. 13: p. 70. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-70.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Review
Salwowska, N.M./ Bebenek, K.A./ Żądło, DA./ Wcisło-Dziadecka, D.L. (2016): Physiochemical Properties and Application of Hyaluronic Acid: A Systematic Review. J Cosmet Dermatol. 15(4): p.520-526. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12237.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Marini, A./ Grether-Beck, S./ Jaenicke, T./ Weber, M./ Burki, C./ Formann, P./ Brenden, H./ Schönlau, F./ Krutmann, J. (2012): Pycnogenol® Effects on Skin Elasticity and Hydration Coincide with Increased Gene Expressions of Collagen Type I and Hyaluronic Acid Synthase in Women. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 25(2): p. 86-92. doi: 10.1159/000335261.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Papakonstantinou, E./ Roth, M./ Karakiulakis, G. (2012): Hyaluronic acid: A Key Molecule in Skin Aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 1; 4(3): p. 253-8. doi: 10.4161/derm.21923.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Balogh, L./ Polyak, A./ Mathe, D./ Kiraly, R./ Thuroczy, J./ Terez, M./ Janoki, G./ Ting, Y./ Bucci, L.R./ Schauss, A.G. (2008): Absorption, Uptake and Tissue Affinity of High-Molecular-Weight Hyaluronan After Oral Administration. J Agric Food Chem. 56(22): p. 10582-93. doi: 10.1021/jf8017029.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Tashiro, T./ Seino, S./ Sato, T./ Matsuoka, R./ Masuda, Y./ Fukui, N. (2012): Oral Administration of Polymer Hyaluronic Acid Alleviates Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study over a 12-Month Period. ScientificWorldJournal. 2012: 167928. doi: 10.1100/2012/167928.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Review
Oe, M./ Tashiro, T./ Yoshida, H./ Nishiyama, H./ Masuda, Y./ Maruyama, K./Koikeda, T./ Maruya, R./ Fukui, N. (2016): Oral Hyaluronan Relieves Knee Pain: A Review. Nutr J. 15: p. 11. doi: 10.1186/s12937-016-0128-2.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Jung, Y.R./ Hwang, C./ Ha, J.M/ Choi, D.K./ Sohn, K.C./ Lee, Y./ Seo, Y.J./ Lee, Y.H./ Kim, C.D./ Lee, J.H./ Im, M. (2017): Hyaluronic Acid Decreases Lipid Synthesis in Sebaceous Glands. J Invest Dermatol. 137(6): p. 1215-1222. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2017.01.017.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Garre, A./ Martinez-Masana, G./ Piquero-Casals, J./ Granger, C. (2017): Redefining Face Contour with a Novel Anti-Aging Cosmetic Product: An Open-Label, Prospective Clinical Study. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 10: p. 473-482. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S148597.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Pirnazar, P./ Wolinsky, L./ Nachnani, S./ Haake, S./ Pilloni, A./ Bernard, G.W. (1990): Bacteriostatic effects of hyaluronic acid. J Periodontol. 70(4): p. 370-4. doi: 10.1902/jop.1999.70.4.370.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Review
Itano, N./ Zhuo, L./ Kimata, K. (2008): Impact of the Hyaluronan-Rich Tumor Microenvironment on Cancer Initiation and Progression. Cancer Sci. 99(9): p. 1720-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2008.00885.x.
Go to source
Paper
Danby, S.G./ Brown, K./ Higgs-Bayliss, T./ Chittock, J./ Albenali, L./ Cork, M.J. (2016): The Effect of an Emollient Containing Urea, Ceramide NP, and Lactate on Skin Barrier Structure and Function in Older People with Dry Skin. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 29(3): p. 135-47. doi: 10.1159/000445955.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Review
Lodén, M. (2003): Role of Topical Emollients and Moisturizers in the Treatment of Dry Skin Barrier Disorders. Am J Clin Dermatol. 4(11): p. 771-88. doi: 10.2165/00128071-200304110-00005.
Go to source
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