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There's no denying it: acne-prone skin can be frustrating. The good news is a growing list of ingredients can help prevent and heal breakouts—the trick is to know what to look for. You may already be familiar with targeted ingredients like Salicylic Acid, but is Hyaluronic Acid good for acne? It's lauded by skin care experts for its superior hydrating properties. But how does Hyaluronic Acid help acne, exactly?

Dive in to uncover how this ingredient fits into your acne-fighting routine.


What Is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the skin, where it plays a crucial role in maintaining hydration and elasticity. This hero ingredient has the remarkable ability to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. When applied topically, Hyaluronic Acid draws moisture from the surrounding environment and the skin's deeper layers into your skin's surface, supporting smooth, resilient, healthy-looking skin.


What Is Acne-Prone Skin?

Acne-prone skin refers to skin that's predisposed to developing—you guessed it—acne. This can include pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, and nodules. Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million people each year. While people of all ages can experience acne, it's most commonly associated with adolescence due to hormonal changes during puberty. That said, it can also persist into adulthood and may occur in various forms and degrees of severity.


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Causes of Acne

Here are some of the most common causes of acne.


Clogged Pores

At the most basic level, clogged pores cause acne. When dead skin cells accumulate on the skin's surface and mix with sebum, they plug your pores. This creates an ideal environment for acne-causing bacteria to flourish.


Excess Sebum Production

The sebaceous glands in your skin produce an oily substance called sebum. When these glands produce too much sebum, it's more likely to clog your hair follicles and lead to clogged pores. This is why oily skin and acne-prone skin often go hand in hand, though you can have dry acne-prone skin, too.


Hormonal Changes

Hormonal fluctuations—particularly during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause—can trigger an increase in sebum production and contribute to acne. Androgens, such as testosterone, play a significant role in stimulating sebum production.



Like most skin conditions, acne can have a hereditary component, meaning you're more likely to have acne if you have a family history of it. Genetic factors can influence sebum production, skin inflammation, and the body's response to acne-causing bacteria.


How Does Hyaluronic Acid Help Acne?

Hyaluronic Acid can support many skin conditions, and acne is no exception. So, how is Hyaluronic Acid good for acne, exactly? Let us count the ways.


Supports Skin Barrier Function

Hyaluronic Acid helps maintain skin barrier function—which shields the skin from external pollutants, irritants, and pathogens—by preventing transepidermal water loss. A strong skin barrier helps keep your skin healthy and less susceptible to damage.


Hydrates Skin without Clogging Pores

Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant, meaning it attracts and retains moisture. And because it's noncomedogenic, it hydrates the skin without adding excess oil or clogging pores. This can be particularly beneficial if you're using acne-fighting ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid, which can dry out the skin.


Promotes Healing

Hyaluronic Acid plays a critical role in wound healing and tissue repair by facilitating cell migration and proliferation, which are essential to tissue regeneration. When applied to the skin, Hyaluronic Acid can support skin healing—including acne and associated inflammation—by promoting new, healthy tissue growth.


Soothes Irritation

Hyaluronic Acid's anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe and calm irritated, inflamed skin. This can aid in alleviating redness, swelling, and discomfort associated with various skin conditions, including acne, eczema, and rosacea.


Balances Oil Production

Contrary to popular belief, maintaining adequate skin hydration is key to regulating sebum production. By keeping your skin well moisturized, Hyaluronic Acid helps prevent sebum overproduction, one of the leading causes of clogged pores and breakouts.


Plays Well with Acne Treatments

Hyaluronic Acid works well with acne-fighting ingredients without causing irritation or interfering with their efficacy. In fact, its hydrating and soothing properties can mitigate possible side effects of ingredients like Retinol and Salicylic Acid, including dryness, tightness, and peeling.


How to Use Hyaluronic Acid in Your Routine

Hyaluronic Acid is generally well tolerated by all skin types and is easy to use in your daily routine. It pairs well with other skin care ingredients and stars in many products, including cleansers, serums, moisturizers, sunscreens, and masks. Here are two excellent ways to boost your daily dose of Hyaluronic Acid:

  • PCA SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum: Apply morning and night after cleansing to encourage your skin's natural Hyaluronic Acid production and instantly hydrate and smooth your complexion.
  • PCA SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Overnight Mask: Apply to clean skin before bed to support skin regeneration and boost your skin's radiance and luminosity while you sleep.

As always, listen to your skin and observe how it responds.


Your Path to Clear Skin

Managing acne can take a combined approach of at-home skin care, professional treatments, lifestyle adjustments, and medication. Start with a consistent skin care routine that addresses your skin's unique needs, and consult a skin care professional for support if you're not getting the results you'd hoped for. Your path to skin care is your own, but you don't have to go it alone.


Kaleigh Fasanella
Kaleigh Fasanella is a New Jersey-based beauty and wellness reporter with over a decade of experience writing for both digital outlets and brands. She previously worked at magazines like Allure and Teen Vogue before going freelance to write for a variety of publications. While she loves all aspects of beauty, she's especially passionate about skin care and helping others learn about and care for their skin.