Is My Hyaluronic Acid Actually Making My Skin More Dry?

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of hyaluronic acid. I’ve extolled the virtues of this product many times before in the pages of Stylebook. Hyaluronic acid is a complex sugar found in between the collagen in your skin. It provides amazing hydration and plumpness to the skin due to its ability to bind to water. The protein occurs naturally in the body and decreases as we age. By applying it topically, we can reduce wrinkles by keeping the skin plump.

But proper usage is critical, or you could find yourself with drier, more dehydrated skin than before you started using it. Hyaluronic acid is a large molecule and doesn’t penetrate the layers of skin. It’s best applied over a serum or damp skin and should be locked in with a moisturizer. If your skin is dehydrated to begin with, and the air around you is dry, then the product can actually suck water from deeper in the skin. It acts like a sponge, so when applied to dry skin in a dry climate, it absorbs moisture from the skin instead of drawing moisture toward it. When this happens, hyaluronic acid has the opposite effect of its intended purpose, leaving skin drier, more dehydrated, and more prone to show signs of aging.



Using hyaluronic acid over a serum or damp skin in humid environments like ours in the summer can yield great results. It can draw humidity from the air to the skin, binding it to itself and hydrating the skin. But in drier environments on dry skin, it can have the completely opposite effect.

Now that the heaters have turned on, if you find your skin drier than it should be, try locking your hyaluronic acid serum in with a richer, more occlusive moisturizer. Alternatively, you may consider giving it a rest until spring and swapping it out for a face oil.


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I have been a beauty junkie for what seems like forever, but before I did anything about it, I went to law school. (Yes, my life is a little like the reverse of Legally Blonde.) Then, I worked as a prosecutor in Sonoma County after which I moved to the DC area with my husband in ’97. I served as Majority Counsel to the Senate Banking Committee followed by a year-long stint at a lobbying firm. You get the picture. It was then that I decided to act on my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Finding my favorite beauty products proved to be impossible without stepping foot in a mall–the horror. So, I decided to bring my favorites to Alexandria. A few trips to New York and a flight to France and Bellacara was born in March 2000.

Located in historic Old Town Alexandria, for more than 17 years Bellacara has been Northern Virginia's preeminent boutique for high end cosmetic, skincare and haircare products. At Bellacara you will find premiere beauty products that have been carefully edited by the store’s owner, Angela Sitilides, who personally tests all the products sold in store. The boutique carries only the best product lines – Kiehl’s, Jouer, Dr. Dennis Gross, Christophe Robin, Moroccan Oil, Bumble & Bumble, Fresh, Molton Brown, Skinceuticals, Smashbox, Stila, Mario Badescu, Clarins, Dermalogica, Kevyn Aucoin, Kai, Child, St. Tropez, Smith and Cult, and many more.

1000 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


1 Comment

  1. Avatar Wendy Riley says:

    Thank you, Angela for this post. I have been experiencing what I think is drier skin ~ maybe I have skipped the moisturizer layer after applying a hyaluronic acid layer.
    Now I will take your advice and give the HA a rest and use oil instead after my Vitamin C serum.
    Once again, your wisdom and knowledge have been a great help in my skincare regimen

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