Hyaluronic acid can hold “1,000 times its weight in water,” says Harvard-trained dermatologist Michelle Henry.
“It’s a sugar that is found in our skin and naturally depletes with age, which is why it’s important to incorporate it into your skin-care routine via topical products,” explains Orit Markowitz, dermatologist and founder of Optiskin Medical in New York City. “It works to retain moisture within, which leads to hydrated and plump skin and a more youthful appearance.”
Markowitz recommends that her patients use a hyaluronic acid serum a few times a week, and only once per day. “If you use HA every day, your skin will adapt too quickly and the results won’t be as impactful,” she says. Another pro tip, courtesy of aesthetician and global ambassador for Fenty Skin, Sean Garrette, is to apply the serum onto damp skin. Aesthetician Samantha Mims of Dermasaa and Brooklyn Face & Eye is quick to second that application technique: “It aids in penetration and helps the hyaluronic acid to perform optimally in the skin, creating a plump, dewy look and feel.”
Below, the four skin experts share their recommendations for the best hyaluronic acid serums to help you achieve your most radiant and hydrated skin this winter and beyond.
“This isn’t just an ordinary hyaluronic acid serum,” says Garrette. It features multiple forms of hyaluronic acid, including sodium hyaluronate and hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, which “helps to penetrate and deeply hydrate all layers of the skin,” he explains. “This formula also includes ceramides and niacinamide-two nourishing ingredients that are crucial for proper skin barrier function. This blend of ingredients help to soothe, hydrate, and nourish the skin.”
Henry reaches for this serum because it “contains a small molecular-weight hyaluronic acid that gently penetrates to effectively hydrate the skin. It also contains ginseng root, holy basil, and other antioxidants to protect the skin from external stressors.”
Mims loves this hyaluronic-laced mask because it “includes dragon’s blood, which is a natural plant resin that reduces inflammation and can be worn on parched skin while in-flight or running errands, or as a weekly hydrating treatment.”
Markowitz loves this serum because it includes two ingredients she always recommends to her patients: a humectant and a sealant. The serum uses “HA as its humectant, but it’s also formulated with ceramides, which are sealants that create a barrier to your skin, sealing in the moisture,” she says. “I also love that this is considered a clean formula.”
Garrette leans on this as an affordable recommendation for his clients. He loves it because it also contains multiple forms of hyaluronic acid, accompanied by apricot kernel oil, all working together to restore the lipid barrier of the skin.
Skinmedica HA5 is another of Henry’s favorites: “It has many different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid to penetrate and hydrate at different depths of the epidermis.”
This formula is “a hydra-plumping concentrate made with three molecular forms of HA to deliver optimal hydration,” says Mims. “It’s a splurge but well worth it for its top-notch results and hydration support.”
“This is a super-lightweight serum that also contains the power duo of HA and ceramides like the Drunk Elephant serum,” says Markowitz. “When you combine the serums within the dual chamber, not only will skin look plump but the powerful formula locks in moisture, preventing any further water loss.”
This overnight lip hydrator comes packed with antioxidants and hyaluronic acid that will “soften the lips and lock in moisture,” says Mims. “I also like using this balm throughout the day to give me that long-lasting moisturized feeling.”
“This serum features a high level of HA (1.3 percent), making it extremely potent and effective. It is also considered a corrective serum since it targets fine lines and wrinkles with ingredients like licorice root and purple rice,” says Markowitz. “It is the perfect combination of ingredients to deliver hydration, which will in turn improve the overall texture of the skin.”