Does Hyaluronic Acid Cause Acne?

Does Hyaluronic Acid Cause Acne

Hyaluronic acid has exploded in popularity over the years.

This amazing humectant hydrates skin, keeping it plump, soft, and hydrated.

However, as hyaluronic acid is known to improve dry skin, oily-skinned people may wonder if it’s suitable for them.

This may make you wonder, can hyaluronic acid cause acne?

The answer isn’t that simple! We’ll cover if hyaluronic acid can cause acne in this article.

You’ll also find out how to apply hyaluronic acid correctly to prevent your skin from producing more oil.

Keep reading to find out more about hyaluronic acid and acne-prone skin.

What Does Hyaluronic Acid Do?

Hyaluronic acid is already within your skin! It’s a natural sugar that has amazing hydrating effects.

Other than residing in your skin, it’s also found inside the eye and helps to protect your joints from damage.

Hyaluronic acid is a popular skincare product as it is a humectant, so it can take in moisture from the air so that the skin absorbs it.

Once the skin soaks up hyaluronic acid, it can possess 1000 times its weight in water.

This is why you’ll often see hyaluronic acid as a key ingredient in several hydrating masks, serums, and moisturizers.

Hyaluronic Acid Advantages

Here are some main skin benefits of hyaluronic acid.

  • Lightweight product that delivers lots of hydration
  • Softens and improves skin texture
  • Temporarily smooths out fine lines
  • Helps the skin to maintain its elasticity
  • Helps oily skin by regulating sebum production
  • Soothes irritated or inflamed skin

Can Hyaluronic Acid Cause Acne?

When acne-prone skin is negatively affected by skincare products, it normally behaves in two ways. These are skin purging and classic breakouts.

What Is Skin Purging?

If a product increases the rate of skin cell turnover, the skin may react by producing whiteheads. It may look like a normal breakout, but this is called purging.

Purging can happen after using potent acid exfoliants or strong anti-acne treatments.

However, purging doesn’t mean that your product is bad for your skin. Your skin’s barrier might be damaged instead.

Purging normally lasts for a few weeks but some cases can last over a month. If you believe your skin is purging, don’t stop using your product.

Keep using it and monitor your skin to see if the spots stop. If they continue after a month, stop using your product and see if it makes a difference.

Can Hyaluronic Acid Make The Skin Purge?

Chemical exfoliants and anti-acne treatments can make the skin purge, but hyaluronic acid isn’t one of these.

It’s a humectant, so it hydrates the skin, it doesn’t encourage skin cell turnover.

If you find a purging breakout on an acne-prone portion of your skin, hyaluronic acid probably won’t be the issue.

Can Hyaluronic Acid Make The Skin Breakout?

Does Hyaluronic Acid Cause Acne?
Can Hyaluronic Acid Make The Skin Breakout

The next type of acne symptom skincare products may cause are classic breakouts. Breakouts occur when pores get clogged with oil, dirt, and dead skin cells.

In the case of skincare, products with comedogenic ingredients can clog pores, leading to whiteheads.

These whiteheads are similar to ones produced in skin purging, but general breakouts can happen all over the face, not just acne-prone areas.

If you believe your breakout is caused by a particular skincare product, stop using it and see if the breakout gets better.

Are Hyaluronic Acids Comedogenic Ingredients?

Comedogenic ingredients can clog your pores and cause spots, but hyaluronic acid isn’t one of these.

Hyaluronic acid itself isn’t likely to cause breakouts, but some hyaluronic acid skin care products might not be suitable for acne-prone skin.

Examine your product’s label to make sure there aren’t any comedogenic ingredients within it.

Lots of hyaluronic acid serums and moisturizers use ingredients like shea butter, hexadecyl alcohol, and coconut oil, which can all clog your pores.

Can Hyaluronic Acid Trigger Cystic Acne?

Hyaluronic acid isn’t likely to bring on cystic acne, even if your product contains comedogenic ingredients.

Cystic acne generally occurs when hormones produce too much sebum in the skin. This sebum clogs the pores and leads to breakouts.

People with cystic acne should try to find out the cause before adding hyaluronic acid to their routine.

Hyaluronic acid may be able to regulate oil production, but cystic acne can improve by curing easily remedied conditions, like thyroid issues, fungal acne, or bacteria growth.

A simple diet or lifestyle change may help your acne more than spending on skincare.

Can Hyaluronic Acid Cause Acne If Applied Incorrectly?

Hyaluronic acid draws in moisture from the air and holds it within your skin. This softens your skin, keeps it hydrated, and plumps up fine lines.

This humectant is very effective if applied in a humid setting or if you layer hyaluronic acid over water-based serums or toner.

However, hyaluronic acid can be used incorrectly.

If you live in dryer air or a colder location, hyaluronic acid may dehydrate your skin and encourage breakouts.

Hyaluronic acid needs to fix itself to an occlusive ingredient.

If you don’t use this substance, your skin will produce more oil, which can clog your pores and cause an outbreak.

How To Apply Hyaluronic Acid Correctly

You can help hyaluronic acid work effectively by exposing your skin to two occlusives.

These can be aqua-based skin care products or natural humidity from the air.

If you use hyaluronic acid with water-based products, hyaluronic acid can soak up moisture from the aqua compounds in your serum or cream.

This will keep your skin smooth and hydrated.

If you apply hyaluronic acid in a humid setting, the humectant can absorb water from the humid air and hold it within your skin.

Hyaluronic acid will need excess moisture to do its job well.

If you apply it without any water-based products or in a dry setting, your skin will produce too much oil, making your acne-prone skin worse.

The Right Way To Use Hyaluronic Acid

  • Always apply hyaluronic acid alongside a water-based serum or moisturizer. You can apply your serum after you use a toner, apply hyaluronic acid, then follow with your moisturizer.
  • Hyaluronic acid also works well applied to damp skin. You can apply your product after a shower when your skin is still damp, or use a hydrating mist before applying hyaluronic acid.
  • The best time to use hyaluronic acid is after a shower. Your skin will be damp, but the bathroom will be humid from the steam in the air. This is the perfect environment for hyaluronic acid to work, as it will pull moisture from the air into your skin.

Related: Does Shea Butter Clog Pores?


Hyaluronic acid doesn’t cause acne. This humectant is a non-comedogenic ingredient, so it won’t clog your pores.

However, that doesn’t mean that your hyaluronic acid serum, mask, or moisturizer doesn’t contain any pore-clogging ingredients.

Always check the label to see if there are any comedogenic ingredients in your product.

You need to make sure you’re applying hyaluronic acid correctly too. Always give your product an occlusive to attach to.

This can be a water-based serum, humidity in the air, or simply applied on damp skin.