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Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Even with regular SPF use, drinking plenty of water and eating our five-a-day, as we grow older, all human skin begins to show signs of aging.
Hormonal changes result in less elastic, drier and sometimes age spotted-skin, and sun damage is pretty much a part of life, even if we do spend 90 percent of our days indoors.
A variety of potions and serums are often touted as being beneficial, vitamin C and hyaluronic among them.
But what does the science say about vitamin C and hyaluronic acid? And can you use hyaluronic acid with vitamin C?
Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in our bodies, and it’s a key ingredient for hydrated skin. It can also be applied topically or as a filler, both of which are proven to be effective and safe.
A hyaluronic acid molecule is able to hold 1,000 times its weight in water, making it a popular anti-aging skin care active ingredient (considering that tendency toward dry skin as we age).
For this reason, it falls under the category of a “humectant,” or something that can help the skin retain moisture.
You can think of hyaluronic acid like a sponge, soaking up water and plumping up skin. If you're getting this acid confused with glycolic acid, another popular skincare ingredient, you can read up about hyaluronic acid vs glycolic acid in this article.
Hyaluronic acid injections work more quickly than hyaluronic acid serums or creams, but they’re also more expensive and invasive.
With regular use and within less than four weeks, research has shown that topical hyaluronic acid serums and creams can still:
Increase skin firmness and elasticity
Help regenerate new skin cells
Decrease the appearance of wrinkles
Smooth skin texture
You’re probably familiar with the vitamin C you eat in foods like citrus fruit, tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers and beyond.
Applied topically, you may have heard it called “ascorbic acid,” which is one of the most effective antioxidants for skin.
Increasing collagen synthesis
Exfoliating the skin via the promotion of healthy skin turnover
Brightening dark spots
Decreasing acne by offering anti-inflammatory properties
Reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Treating and preventing age spots by protecting the skin from oxidative stress
Look back at those two bulleted lists about the benefits of these skincare products — it sounds like a pretty winning complexion.
So can you use hyaluronic acid with vitamin C?
You bet, and they might even work better together. Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid complement each other to moisturize, protect and repair the skin all at once.
They can also help counteract any potential side effects of the other.
For example, vitamin C serums may result in dryness for some skin types, which hyaluronic acid can help balance.
A 2020 study discovered that applying a 20 percent vitamin C serum (which also included tocopheryl acetate and a very small amount of Rubus Idaeus leaf cell culture) once a day for two months boosted skin elasticity and vibrancy while reducing wrinkles.
A 2014 study found that hyaluronic acid cream applied twice a day for two months improved skin hydration by as much as 96 percent, decreased wrinkle depth by up to 40 percent, and improved skin firmness and elasticity.
There are many products on the market that combine these two in one skincare product.
Or you can bookend your day the skin healthy way: Wake up to this Vitamin C Serum and Moisturizer for Men then before bed, slather on wrinkle-fighting Anti-Aging Cream (which is customized to each skin type, but often includes hyaluronic acid if a consultation shows you might benefit from using it).
If you’re using hyaluronic acid and vitamin C separately — and for any skincare products you use and apply at morning or night — follow this rule of thumb: Work from thinnest to thickest consistency, say, a serum, then oil, then moisturizer.
Unless your skin is sensitive to either vitamin C or hyaluronic acid, there’s no risk of combining the two as part of one cohesive, healthy and hydrated skin routine.
From sun-damaged skin to wrinkly skin to parched pores and beyond, these superhero serums make a strong team.