7 Best Hyaluronic Acid Serums for Plump and Hydrated Skin

BY Janeca Racho · September 30, 2020

hyaluronic acid serums for dry skin

Hyaluronic acid is one of the most sought-after skin care ingredients, but it’s also often misused and misunderstood. Many confuse it with alpha hydroxy (AHA) and beta hydroxy (BHA) acids, which are used to exfoliate the topmost layers of the skin. Hyaluronic acid, on the other hand, is a great pick for anyone looking for a serious boost of skin moisture, no matter your skin type. It is one of the most commonly buzzed-about beauty ingredients because of its incredible ability to hold up to 1,000x its weight in water. It’s also something that your body makes naturally, so its chemical composition absorbs easily into your skin. That makes hyaluronic acid serums particularly amazing for dry and mature complexions or anyone who wants to plump away fine lines and wrinkles.

What Is Hyaluronic Acid?

To understand how hyaluronic acid works, we chatted with Dr. Ashley Magovern, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Manhattan Beach, Calif. and Dermstore’s medical director. According to Dr. Magovern, hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan, a protein found naturally in the skin, the eyes, connective tissue and joints. “Think of hyaluronic acid as a powerful hydrator. It has an amazing ability to attract and hold water in the skin and in the rest of the body where it is found. It lubricates the joints and helps to repair damage to the body after injury,” she explains.

Why Use a Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Although hyaluronic acid is already present in our skin and body, it’s still important to include a hyaluronic acid serum in your skin care routine. Dr. Magovern explains: “As we age and go through life, our skin becomes increasingly dry and loses moisture. Aging skin loses its firmness, becomes less supple and often looks dehydrated. A product that contains hyaluronic acid can replenish the moisture that aging skin is lacking and improve the appearance of fine lines and make the skin look more smooth.”

Regardless of age, skin type or concern, everyone can and should be using a product containing hyaluronic acid, adds Dr. Magovern. “The great thing about hyaluronic acid is that it can be used on all skin types, even sensitive and acne- and rosacea-prone patients. There is nothing better at almost instantly giving a refreshed, hydrated, smooth appearance to the skin. My patients absolutely love it.”

Choosing the Best Hyaluronic Acid Serums for Your Skin

If you’re using a serum or a cream that aims to plump and hydrate the skin, there’s a good chance your product already contains hyaluronic acid. However, to get the most out of this ingredient, Dr. Magovern recommends looking closely at your product’s ingredient list. “Some formulations claim that they contain hyaluronic acid even though the amount is very small,” she warns.

To be sure, she says to “look for the ingredient ‘sodium hyaluronate’ early in the ingredient list.” Sodium hyaluronate is a hyaluronic acid derivative with a lower molecular weight, which allows it to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin. “Hyaluronic acid is a big molecule and if not formulated well, it may just sit on the skin’s surface,” explains Dr. Magovern. “I would also look for other ingredients along with the hyaluronic acid. For example, look for other things like ceramides, peptides, niacinamide or other antioxidants. I also prefer products that are paraben-free, fragrance-free and propylene glycol–free.”

How to Use It for Best Results

“I recommend adding it twice a day as the last treatment step in your daily routine and using a moisturizer immediately over it,” says Dr. Magovern. “If you are using it during the day, add a sunscreen as the final step. Hyaluronic acid serums and creams act as a fantastic makeup primer after morning application and I love the idea of allowing your skin to hydrate as you sleep.”

However, if you have oily skin and are already using a moisturizer, Dr. Magovern says you may not need both a hydrating serum and a moisturizer. “I enjoy layering a hyaluronic serum with my usual day and nighttime moisturizer. Those that have more oily skin may prefer the serum alone.”

More Tips for Keeping Skin Hydrated

Adding a hyaluronic acid serum to your skin care routine is one of the best and easiest ways to boost your skin’s hydration levels, especially if you’re struggling with skin that often feels tight and dry. But that’s not the only thing you can do to help your skin get as much moisture as it needs. Here are some more tips from Dr. Magovern:

  • Avoiding over-washing and scrubbing your skin. “This type of mechanical exfoliation damages the skin barrier and makes it harder for the skin to hold on to moisture. Mild exfoliation is key, in my opinion, and chemical exfoliation is my preferred way to do this. This will gently remove the old, surface skin layers. By removing these layers, your moisturizer and/or hyaluronic acid serum will be more effective.”
  • Amp up hydration through your diet. “Not necessarily drinking a ton of water, which is also critical. Certain foods may increase the production of hyaluronic acid, like green leafy and root vegetables, citrus fruits and soy-based foods.”
  • Be consistent with your skin care routine. “Skin care is like exercise; try not to miss a day.”

Ready to try this powerhouse ingredient? Here are the bestselling and most reviewed hyaluronic acid serums on Dermstore.

1. SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier

Why we love it: This ultra-hydrating face serum features a high concentration of pure hyaluronic acid, 10 percent proxylane™ and botanical extracts that work synergistically to boost the skin’s hyaluronic acid levels by up to 30 percent. The result? Long-lasting hydration, improved skin texture and reduced fine lines and wrinkles.

What shoppers say: I’ve been using this product daily for over a year now, and I can’t go without it. It absolutely improves texture and keeps my skin hydrated. Several weeks after I incorporated it into my skincare routine, I had a coworker ask if I had gotten a facial because my skin was ‘glowing.’”

2. Eminence Organic Skin Care Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum

Why we love it: Formulated to exfoliate, hydrate and brighten skin, this serum delivers all that and more—thanks to its deeply nourishing blend of plant-derived hyaluronic acid, botanicals (strawberry, rhubarb and aloe vera), coenzyme Q10 and powerhouse antioxidants. It plumps sagging facial contours and boosts moisture levels while encouraging collagen production.

What shoppers say: I’m in my early 30s, and I generally have okay skin. I feel that this serum truly tightens my pores and gives me a good glow. I have combination skin—oily in the T-zone—and I feel that this hydrates without making me look any more oily.”

3. SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator

Why we love it: This powerful hydrator features a proprietary blend containing five different forms of hyaluronic acid that immediately provides hydration for up to eight hours. Also formulated with vitamin E and peptides, it helps prevent free radical damage and keeps signs of premature aging at bay.

What shoppers say: This is my go-to after any exfoliator. It goes on super smooth and leaves my skin with a layer of hydration that lasts all day. It doesn’t cause any breakouts (for me) despite its thicker consistency. SkinMedica never fails.”

4. Neocutis Hyalis+

Why we love it: Powered by multiple types of sodium hyaluronate, this oil-free serum provides advanced hydration, seals in moisture and minimizes the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Formulated for all skin types, it also helps to soothe and nourish stressed post-procedure skin.

What shoppers say: “Love this serum! It’s very lightweight but super moisturizing. I’ve noticed improvements in skin texture and with my fine lines, and I’ve only been using this for about two weeks. Definitely will repurchase!”

5. Paula's Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster

Why we love it: Not only does this anti-aging treatment boost your skin’s moisture, it also helps repair and revitalize skin, smooth out wrinkles and prevent inflammation with the inclusion of adenosine and panthenol. Plus, it’s specially formulated to work seamlessly and effectively with other products in your skin care regimen!

What shoppers say: It is a gel consistency that absorbs very easily into the skin and can be layered or worn under products. It does not produce any redness and goes to work immediately to provide moisture to the skin!”

6. PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum

Why we love it: This face serum takes hydration to a whole new level. Featuring the brand’s proprietary blend HA-Pro Complex™, it encourages the skin to create its own hyaluronic acid, which provides long-term hydration and anti-aging benefits. It’s also infused with ceramides and niacinamide that repair skin and help prevent future damage.

What shoppers say: Good for sensitive, combination skin. I saw a brighter and more even tone of my skin. It’s very easy to use in combination with other serums and creams because of its lightweight, silky texture. No weird smells or irritation.”

7. Revision Skincare® Hydrating Serum

Why we love it: This lightweight, oil-free serum features sodium hyaluronate that absorbs quicker and deeper into the skin. It’s also infused with a hydrating blend of fruit extracts, vitamin E, palmitoyl tripeptide-5 and honey to keep your skin layers moisturized, refine the appearance of fine lines and boost antioxidants.

What shoppers say: This serum is absolute perfection. It’s incredibly lightweight. No oiliness or stickiness whatsoever. It adds the perfect amount of hydration that sinks into the skin and results in a smooth finish. A little goes a long way.”

Janeca-Racho | Dermstore Blog

Janeca Racho

With over 10 years of writing and editing experience, Janeca Racho has worked with clients in the fashion, entertainment, food, health and travel industries. An adventurer at heart, she will gladly trade her heels for ... Read More >

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