Hyaluronic acid is often touted as a way to moisturize, clear, and improve skin appearance, but is there anything substantial to these claims?

Research says yes! Generally, hyaluronic acid offers many benefits for the skin, primarily by stimulating the body's ability to produce collagen, which helps firm up the skin's appearance. But there are also specific benefits of hyaluronic acid for acne, which makes this ingredient worth considering for those with acne-prone skin.

Hyaluronic acid is a type of sugar produced naturally in the body that helps tissues regenerate and wounds heal—but you can also get this ingredient through oral pills, injections, and topical treatments. If you're looking to expand your acne-prone skin care regimen, here are three reasons to give hyaluronic acid a try.

1. Prevents Acne by Restoring Skin's Moisture Barrier

While acne is mostly associated with oily skin, dry skin can still contribute to breakouts and blemishes when skin sensitivities allow bacteria to penetrate the skin's barrier. Hyaluronic acid is known to help nourish and hydrate the skin, which can help keep those pesky acne-causing bacteria out.

2. Reduces the Appearance of Acne Scars

Given its skin-firming mechanisms that measurably improve skin's appearance, hyaluronic acid is commonly used as a filler to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. This same mechanism has also been studied for its ability to reduce the appearance of acne scarring, with research indicating that three treatment sessions of hyaluronic acid gel helped reduce acne scar severity and also boosted the self-esteem and confidence among study participants.

3. Helps Acne Treatments Work Better

Research is still ongoing in this area, but a recent paper pointed to hyaluronic acid's potential impact not just as an acne treatment on its own, but as a delivery mechanism to reach skin layers with other acne medicines. In the recent study, published in February 2021, investigators found that hyaluronic acid nanoparticles helped deliver the antibiotic clindamycin to underlying skin tissue. Although this has limited application currently, it could affect future prescription or over-the-counter treatments.

Making the Most of Hyaluronic Acid for Acne

Powerful though it may be, hyaluronic acid is unfortunately not an acne panacea, as the plant-derived compound salicylic acid is known to be more effective and widely used to directly control acne flareups. Even so, evidence shows that hyaluronic acid can work indirectly to help prevent acne, bolster other treatments, and reduce acne scarring—which makes it an essential player on your skin care roster.

To take advantage of these and many other skin benefits, look for topical products that contain hyaluronic acid, from moisturizers to sunscreens. You may also want to ask your Dermatologist about hyaluronic acid injection treatments for lingering scarring and discoloration from previous acne marks. Results from these sessions can last from a few months to a year, and the American Academy of Dermatologists emphasizes that such treatments are safe when performed by professionals.

While hyaluronic acid might not solve all your acne problems, it can certainly help support better skin health in combination with other products designed to protect and improve the skin's appearance. When in doubt about these or other treatments, always check with a board-certified Dermatologist. They can help you find the best path forward based on your skin's unique needs, medical history, and future goals.