hyaluronic acid

What is hyaluronic acid and what does it do for your skin?

5 min read
Show more

Produced naturally in young skin, hyaluronic acid plays a key role in skin hydration and is a popular skincare ingredient. This article looks at what it is, how it works and how Eucerin use it effectively as an active ingredient in cleansing, care and sun protection products to boost hydration and delay signs of skin ageing.

What is hyaluronic acid?

hyaluronic acid molecule
Hyaluronic acid plays a crucial role in the skin's moisture levels.

Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide molecule (a big and complex carbohydrate) also known as hyaluronan. It’s formed by our cells and occurs naturally in our bodies. Along with collagen and elastin, it’s one of the main components of the connective tissue that surrounds our skin cells where it provides moisture and firmness to skin

Young, healthy skin contains lots of hyaluronic acid but, as we age, our skin produces less, and existing reserves deplete.

What does hyaluronic acid do?

hyaluronic acid levels
As we age our skin produces less hyaluronic acid, leaving our skin more dry and less plump.

Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant which means that it acts like a magnet, attracting water to skin. It can bind between 1,000 and 10,000 times its own weight in water (i.e. one gram binds between one and ten litres).

Maintaining optimal hydration is key to healthy skin: without the right amount of water skin dries out and is less effective as a protective barrier. Visually, it loses radiance and firmness.

As skin ages, our cells produce less hyaluronic acid and existing hyaluronic acid starts to degrade. This can lead to age-induced dryness and is also one of the factors responsible for the visible signs of skin ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles, a loss of volume and a loss of elasticity.

Hyaluronic acid prevents skin from losing too much moisture and so is vital to skin hydration.
woman applying hyaluronic acid to face
Effective hydration in your 20s and beyond will help to delay signs of skin aging

All skin types benefit from skincare products that contain an effective hyaluronic acid formula, but they are especially effective on skin that is naturally dry and from the mid-20s when skin starts to show the first signs of ageing.

Research has demonstrated the value of certain forms of hyaluronic acid as an ingredient in topical skincare where it helps boost skin moisturisation and plump skin thereby reducing the appearance of wrinkles. It is also tried and trusted by dermatologists as an ingredient in dermal filler injections used to reduce the visible signs of skin ageing.

Learn more about wrinkles on the forehead and neck.

How to use hyaluronic acid

Daily cleansing, moisturisation and sun protection with products rich in hyaluronic acid will help to keep your skin hydrated and healthy and delay the visible signs of ageing.

Cleansing with hyaluronic acid

Eucerin DermatoCLEAN [HYALURON] is a range of hydrating cleansers (gel, milk, and micellar water) plus a toner.

Clinically and dermatologically proven to cleanse gently and effectively, they combine an extra mild cleansing complex with hyaluronic acid and other moisturising ingredients that protect skin’s natural moisture and don’t dry it out. Suitable for all skin types, they leave skin feeling clean, soft and hydrated.

You can find out more about the importance of cleansing, as well as how to choose the ideal cleanser for your skin, in cleansing and toning.

Care products with hyaluronic acid

Eucerin offers an extensive selection of care products which maximise the hydrating benefits of hyaluronic acid for your skin. Our three ranges are tailored to every major stage of the skin ageing process and their effectiveness is clinically and dermatologically proven:

Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler tackles the first signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles. It plumps up even the deepest wrinkles for a rejuvenated look.

Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler + Elasticity nourishes fragile and mature skin. It plumps up deep wrinkles and improves elasticity.

Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler + Volume-Lift addresses the deepening wrinkles and loss of volume, contours and firmness that develop as skin ages. It plumps up deep wrinkles and redefines facial contours for a lifting effect.

Sun protection with hyaluronic acid

One of the negative effects of too much sun is that it dries out skin and leads to photoageing (premature aging caused by the sun).

Eucerin Sun Fluid Photoaging Control SPF 50 and SPF 30 are everyday facial sunscreens that offer the very best in sun protection. The formulas are further enriched with hyaluronic acid and visibly reduce wrinkles on the face and décolleté.

What products contain hyaluronic acid?

What are the benefits of hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid plays a vital role in retaining moisture in the skin. As we get older, the moisture in our skin decreases so the skin becomes drier. That means that the skin becomes more vulnerable to environmental sources. Due to its metabolism in the different skin layers, hyaluronic acid allows it to interact with other skin components enhancing its ability to modulate skin moisture in a rational manner.

Moisture retention is the main advantage of hyaluronic acid, but there are more benefits to using this ingredient:

  • It speeds up wound healing: Hyaluronic acid has the ability to heal wounds faster by regulating the inflammation levels and by helping the body to create more blood vessels. It can also reduce the size and pain of the wound while reducing the risk of infection when applied to an open wound. It can also reduce the appearance of scars after wounds.

  • Improves skin flexibility: Hyaluronic acid improves the flexibility and the stretching capabilities of the skin, reducing the skin wrinkles and fine lines.

  • Anti-ageing: As we age, it’s normal for our skin to lose moisture, leading to dry and saggy skin as the natural production of hyaluronic acid decreases. Products with hyaluronic acid not only increase the amount of hyaluronic acid in your skin, but also moisturise it, minimising the presence of fine lines. Our Hyaluron Intensive Mask, Moisture Booster, and Anti-Age Gift Set will hydrate, moisturise and refresh your skin. Our series of products is suitable for all skin types.

  • Soothes: Acid reflux disease occurs when acid that is produced from your stomach travels up into your oesophagus, causing a burning chest sensation called heartburn. Enriching the hyaluronic acid in your body helps you to soothe the oesophagus and speeds up its recovery.

What are the different types of hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic Acid comes in different molecular weights and some formulations are more effective than others. It’s not enough to be told that a product contains hyaluronic acid: always be sure to buy products from a brand you trust with research results that prove effectiveness and skin compatibility.

High molecular Hyaluronic Acid | Low molecular Hyaluronic Acid

There are three main types of hyaluronic acid used in topical skincare:

  • High molecular hyaluronic acid (also known as long-chained). This remains on skin’s surface and works to improve hydration in the outermost layer of the epidermis – where fine lines and winkles originate.
  • Medium molecular hyaluronic acid (also known as medium-chained) works in a similar way to high molecular hyaluronic acid.
  • Low molecular hyaluronic acid (also known as short-chained). With molecules that are 40 times smaller1 than those of high molecular hyaluronic acid, low molecular hyaluronic acid penetrates further into the epidermal layers where it stimulates skin’s own production of hyaluronic acid, replenishing moisture where deeper wrinkles originate.
anti-ageing steps
How to replenish your hyaluronic acid levels.

Eucerin uses both high and low molecular hyaluronic acid in the Hyaluron-Filler2, Hyaluron-Filler + Elasticity, Anti-Pigment Dual Serum and Sun Photoaging Control formulas to effectively target and plump wrinkles from the inside out. The Eucerin DermatoCLEAN [HYALURON] range of cleansers and Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler + Volume-Lift include low molecular hyaluronic acid.

All Eucerin formulas are the result of innovative research and development and 130 years of skincare expertise. They are clinically and dermatologically proven to be both highly effective and well tolerated by skin.


1 The standard unit for measuring the mass of an atom is a kilo Dalton (kDa). High molecular hyaluronic acid has a kDa of 2000 and low molecular hyaluronic acid has a kDa of 52.

2 With the exception of Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Moisture Booster which combines medium molecular (rather than high molecular) hyaluronic acid with low molecular hyaluronic acid

What else can I do to keep my skin hydrated?

Healthy lifestyle choices will help you to keep your skin looking a feeling soft, smooth and firmer for longer. Try to get plenty of exercise, eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water, limit your alcohol consumption, give up smoking and get a good night’s sleep.

Related Articles

Our brand values

Pioneers in skincare

We deliver a holistic dermo-cosmetic approach to protect your skin, keep it healthy and radiant.

Recommended by dermatologists

We work together with leading dermatologist and pharmacist partners around the world to create innovative and effective skincare products they can trust and recommend.

Committed to innovation

For over 100 years, we have dedicated ourselves to researching and innovating in the field of skin science. We believe in creating active ingredients and soothing formulas with high tolerability that work to help you live your life better each day.

Find your nearest Eucerin pharmacy