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Best hyaluronic acid serums: Top rated products to try and the benefits explained

·11-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

For dry and dehydrated skin, there is no ingredient more known and loved than hyaluronic acid.

In serum or cream form, it gives long-lasting moisture to your complexion and should be a staple part of your skincare regime from morning to night.

The lightweight ingredient replenishes skin to leave it plump, glowing and has anti-ageing effects. This is why you’ll find it as a component in popular cosmetic injectable fillers.

What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Aesthetic Practitioner Natali Kelly explains, “Hyaluronic acid is a sugar that is naturally present within our skin. It keeps our skin plump and hydrated, whilst preventing valuable moisture from escaping. Moisture, as we know, can help slow down signs of aging. One gram of HA can retain up to six litres of water, and regulate the moisture within our skin cells, which instantly adds hydration to even the most dehydrated skin types.”

The miraculous acid can hold up to 1000x its weight in water, delivering hydration where we need it without leaving skin with a greasy, oily or tacky film. Kelly confirms that as a humectant, “HA grabs onto water so when we are about our day, it latches on to moisture within the air, providing constant hydration throughout the day.

“HA works incredibly quickly due to the small molecules within the formula so it doesn’t take long to sink into the skin. An instance difference can be noticed due to this benefit especially if you suffer from dry skin.”

What are the benefits of Hyaluronic Acid?

Kelly adds, “There are many benefits to using HA and many of them are for cosmetic purposes. Unfortunately, as we get older our skin loses collagen, around one per cent every year, and this includes the loss of HA. When synthetic HA is used within skincare, it is capable of keeping the skin moisturised throughout the day which is one of its key benefits. Over time the texture of the skin will appear and feel softer, plumper and more radiant thanks to this.

“It helps combat any negative effects caused by free radicals as it has antioxidant properties which are extremely effective in protecting our skin against pollution or numerous other environmental factors that attempt to cause it harm.

“As well as hydration, HA reduces the appearance of wrinkles, due to the plumping effects caused, many users notice a change in their fine lines, especially around the eye area.”

Dermatologist Dr. Elif Benar also notes the role it can play in healing wounds. “Hyaluronic acid helps wounds heal faster by regulating inflammation levels and signalling the body to build more blood vessels in the damaged area.”

Who can use Hyaluronic Acid?

According to Kelly, “HA is universal, anyone can use this product no matter what skin type you may have.”

When do you incorporate Hyaluronic Acid into your routine?

Due to the versatile nature of the products, Kelly reveals that “HA works very well alongside other products, meaning that you can apply it at any stage of your skincare routine without any concerns.”

Is there a specific type of Hyaluronic Acid that we should be looking out for?

Dr. Elif Benar breaks it down: “The molecule sizes of different hyaluronic acids vary from bigger molecules that sit closer to the skin’s surface to smaller ones that go in deeper into the epidermis. For a Hyaluronic serum to deliver both instant and long-lasting effects, you need a combination of molecular weights.

“Low- and medium-weight hyaluronan molecules penetrate deeper into the skin’s structure, providing maximum below-the-surface hydration and in turn rehydrating skin cells over time. High-weight hyaluronan molecules deliver immediate intensive hydration to the surface layers of the skin for an instant smoothing and firming effect.”

Shop the best hyaluronic acid serums below

VICHY Liftactiv H.A Epidermic Filler Smoothing 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid Serum

There has been a surge in the number of injectables in recent years but Vichy has designed this intensive product to save you from going under the knife - or should we say, the needle. While offering a superior level of hydration, it has also been proven to minimise the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines as well as dark circles, blemishes and pesky marks that won’t seem to heal.

The combination of active ingredients get to work nourishing, while remaining totally non-invasive. You’ll find Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C and B within the formulation to support your skin’s natural barriers and giving it a soft, supple finish. The product can be used on all skin types including those with sensitive skin and is non-comedogenic.

Buy now £28.50, lookfantastic

111SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Booster

111SKIN was founded by plastic surgeon Dr. Yannis Alexandrides primarily to help his clients with recovery. Since then, the brand has evolved to everyday skincare essentials - all of which are created using his wealth of expertise.

The brand’s Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Booster packs nourishing and thirst-quenching ingredients into a supercharged formula where a little goes a long way. Dry skin will drink up the product and be left feeling soft, smooth, dewy and plumped.

Buy now £85.00, Space NK

SkinCeuticals H.A. (Hyaluronic Acid) Intensifier Serum

Recommended by dermatologists the world over, SkinCeuticals is a label renowned for its efficacious formulations - and this hydration booster is no different. The brand actually offers two products with Hyaluronic Acid as its key ingredient. You have the Hydrating B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum that is a lighter gel texture as well as the Intensifier Serum pictured.

The latter is a multitasking product that elevates the skin’s moisture levels with added plumping, firming and smoothing effects. It is designed to give you long-lasting hydration throughout the day. The formula is lightweight and sinks immediately into the skin so that you can layer up with other face oils or makeup as needed.

Buy now £90.00, FeelUnique

CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum All Skin Types

CeraVe is a drugstore brand from the US that delivers in the ingredients department without costing an arm and a leg. With the combination of the named powerhouse - Hyaluronic Acid - paired alongside three variations of ceramides and vitamin B, you are fortifying the skin’s natural defenses by providing relief to irritation and dry areas and increasing moisture. The formula has been enriched with a unique patented MVE Technology to provide continual hydration throughout the day.

Buy now £13.60, lookfantastic

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

The Ordinary has long proved that science-backed formulas can be cost-friendly. The brand is known and loved for its affordable prices as well as the no-fuss approach it takes to its product line-up that traditionally only feature one or two ingredients.

This is the Hyaluronic Acid-based product that has an oil-free light consistency yet leaves a dewy finish. You’ll be surprised just how long-lasting the bottle is, so it gives real bang for you buck. It also shouldn’t irritate sensitive skin.

Buy now £6.40, Boots

Dr Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum

After just one use, you will notice how much smoother and hydrated your complexion will appear. It has a slightly tacky texture but if you wet your face or mist it first, this will help you to counteract this and make it easier to lather on other products after application. The professional-grade formula does its thing to restore moisture to dry skin or act as a preventative measure in the summer months.

Buy now £235.00, Space NK

Kiehl’s Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum

There are many things that can cause dry skin, be it lifestyle or environmental factors, but keep this product from Kiehl’s on hand and your skin will thank you.

You can use it daily or even twice-daily basis for a hydration pick-me up. The formula has been created to penetrate deep within the skin - eight layers according to the brand. This revives skin and neutralises the harmful effects of external aggressors that can cause skin ageing. While preventing further damage, it also minimses the appearance of fine lines.

Buy now £60.00, Kiehl's

La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum

La Roche-Posay is stripping back skincare so that even those with the most sensitive skin can make the most of its nourishing products. This serum is the product equivalent of a tall glass of water that brings instant freshness to your complexion. So soothing is the formula that you’ll want to lather it up and the non-fragrance fragrance enhances this further. Bringing elasticity and plumpness, you also notice that wrinkles appear diminished.

Buy now £28.50, La Roche-Posay

Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster

No matter what customised skincare regime you are following, this universally-adored product from the experts at Paula’s Choice can be seamlessly slipped in. The Hyaluronic Acid super serum has a gel formula that is lightweight yet efficacious to replenish moisture and leave skin prepped, smooth and soft. It will be especially helpful during the summer months or to combat other harsh ingredients in your regime like retinol that may cause flaky, dry skin.

Buy now £36.00, Space NK

The INKEY List Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Whether you are spending time in the great outdoors or shielded in an office setting, your skin can get parched at the drop of a hat. No matter the season, rain or shine, the weather is rarely on our side when it comes to maintaining our skin’s moisture.

Quench your complexion with The INKEY List and its straightforward, fuss-free, no-frills Hyaluronic Acid Serum. The moisture magnet plumps and hydrates with a combination of molecular weights for better efficiency. It’s a quality product without the price tag that traditionally goes alongside this - a no brainer.

Buy now £6.99, Cult Beauty

Caudalie Vinosource-Hydra SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum

If a hydration hero is what you’ve asked for, then a hydration hero you shall get. Luxury French skincare label Caudalie gives a pampering experience from start to finish. The aroma is lovely, the formulation is enriching and the moisture that it provides is long-lasting. The key ingredient hyaluronic acid is part of a cocktail of other dehydration-fighting powerhouses included the brand’s signature organic grape water.

Buy now £24.00, lookfantastic

Wishful Thirst Trap Juice Serum

Huda Beauty’s Wishful Thirst Trap Juice Serum does as the name suggests, brings the hydration and makes it last. The serum offers an instant boost to the skin with a dryness-fighting concoction of hyaluronic acid, firming peptides, Hollyhock rose and aloe vera, known for its soothing properties. You’ll be left with a natural glow, plump and strengthened skin.

Buy now £16.00, Cult Beauty

Elizabeth Arden Hyaluronic Acid Ceramide Capsules Hydra-Plumping Serum

It can be hard to know quantities when it comes to serums but Elizabeth Arden takes the uncertainty out of the equation with its capsules, which are also a godsend for travelling.

While bringing the moisture, the formula also encourages firm skin and the reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a total rejuvenation. The brand’s trademarked Double-Lock Hydration System combines HA with ceramides to lock the moisture in. The product feels silky and lightweight, and for a sustainable nod, the capsules are biodegradable.

Buy now £92.00, lookfantastic

Beauty Pie Triple Hyaluronic Acid Lipopeptide serum

If you spend a lot of time in air conditioned rooms like offices, planes or are a certified sun worshipper, your skin may need a elevated level of thirst quenching. Enter Beauty Pie and its beloved Hyaluronic Acid serum. There are three weights of the Holy Grail ingredient as well as Polysaccharides, Pro-Ceramides and Super Peptides for their seemingly miraculous ability to plump and firm.

Buy now £19.00, Beauty Pie

Perricone MD High Potency Hyaluronic Intensive Hydrating Serum

When the warmer weather has made your skin feel parched, you need a heavy-hitting hydration hero to plump and add moisture in abundance. That’s where this new formula from Perricone MD works its magic. While remaining lightweight, it packs a serious punch in strengthening and supporting the skin’s barrier with quick-acting and potent ingredients. It contains a complex that includes four forms of hyaluronic acid and two natural building blocks of different weights in order to tackle hydration at different skin levels. There’s also DMAE and niacinamide to boost dullness.

Buy now £79.00, lookfantastic