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Hyaluronic acid – dehydrated skin on cloud nine

Dry, dehydrated skin? Here comes the fire department! Hyaluronic acid binds a multiple of its mass to water and thus provides moisture, resilience and elasticity. And without complaining. But hyaluronic acid is not the same as hyaluronic acid. But what should you pay attention to when choosing a product? Find out!

Hyaluronic Acid | Five Skincare

Hyaluronic acid in skin care

Hyaluronic acid is one of our absolute favorites when it comes to moisturizing the skin . It binds water, protects, supports, calms and is suitable for all skin types. And because you carry hyaluronic acid in you anyway, it is particularly well tolerated in cosmetics.

The main property of hyaluronic acid is that it can bind many times its own weight in water . 1 Along with glycerin , hyaluronic acid is one of our favorites when it comes to moisturizing the skin.

You have probably already read about the different variants of hyaluronic acid. They come in different molecular weights, more on that in a moment. But first, let's take a closer look at the use of hyaluronic acid in cosmetics.

This is how hyaluronic acid is used in cosmetics

In recent times, aesthetic medicine has focused primarily on skin padding with hyaluronic acid. But here success is at Nadel's peak. Hyaluronic acid fillers have a dubious reputation, not least because of negative headlines about treatments that just didn't go according to plan.

That's too risky for many. And it's not cheap either. That's why some facial care products use another trick to get the bulky hyaluron as deep as possible into the skin: low-molecular hyaluronan . That's hyaluronic acid broken down into a much, much smaller volume. Only in this "small form" is hyaluronic acid able to penetrate the skin barrier. However, some studies show that the molecular size fundamentally influences the effect.

☝️ INCI knowledge: Hyaluronic acid can be found on the list of ingredients (INCI) under the term sodium hyaluronate . Strictly speaking, it is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid and is used in skin care products.

The difference between low and high molecular weight hyaluronic acid

While hyaluronic acid used to be obtained from animal material, today it is produced biotechnologically from bacterial cultures. In order to obtain different molecular sizes , high-molecular hyaluronic acid is enzymatically split into fragments. This results in hyaluronic acids with shorter fragments 2 . We essentially differentiate between three hyaluronic acids, the mass of which is given in daltons (Da) or kilodaltons (kDa). The following values ​​are guide values ​​and can vary depending on the manufacturer:

  • High molecular weight hyaluronic acid 1500 kDa (1'500'000 D)

  • Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid: 50 kDa (50'000 D)

  • Oligo hyaluronic acid: < 10 kDa (<10'000 D)

The different effects of the hyaluron variants

A study conducted in 2011 examined the effectiveness of hyaluronic acid-based creams of different molecular masses in treating wrinkles . All creams used in the study showed a significant improvement in skin hydration and elasticity compared to the placebo group. 5

High molecular weight hyaluronic acid

You have already read above: high-molecular hyaluronic acid is simply too large to pass through the skin barrier and penetrate the skin. Its effect is therefore described as short-term, as it is washed off when the face is washed. Nevertheless, in the study mentioned above, increased skin moisture and improved elasticity could be recorded even after 60 days of use. It unfolds its effect in a different way than hyaluronic acid with a smaller molecular mass: namely by forming a hyaluronic acid gel on the surface with water. 3 This covers your skin barrier like a second protective layer. This film prevents moisture loss , increases skin hydration and elasticity in the long term. 4

Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid

Low-molecular hyaluronic acid works more effectively because it penetrates deeper into the skin and develops a depot effect there. The long-term values ​​in terms of skin moisture and elasticity after 60 days were therefore better than with high-molecular hyaluronic acid. Furthermore, in the study mentioned above, the use of low molecular weight hyaluronic acid (50 kDa and 130 kDa) was associated with a significant reduction in wrinkle depth , which could be due to the better penetration ability of the low molecular weight hyaluronic acid. 5

We hang on to:

  • High and low molecular weight hyaluronic acid improves skin moisture and elasticity.

  • However, a reduction in deep wrinkles could only be determined with the low-molecular hyaluronic acid.

However, we use high-molecular hyaluronic acid in our facial serum . You're probably wondering why, when the low molecular weight is better in terms of wrinkle depth?

Why high molecular weight hyaluronic acid is better for the skin

In addition to the main properties of an active ingredient, it is always important to examine the other modes of action and the combination with other active ingredients in the product. In the case of hyaluron, we focus on the moisture-binding effect , which forms a net-like film on the skin's surface and thus prevents the skin's own water from evaporating.

In our moisturizing serum for the face we use high-molecular hyaluronic acid with 1000-1400 kDa (10'00'000-14'00'000 D). The highlight of high-molecular hyaluronic acid is that it binds masses of water and creates a lot of volume. This has an immediate tightening and smoothing effect on the skin. Hyaluronic acid with a lower molecular mass can surround itself with correspondingly less water, so it brings less "cushion dimensions" with it. 6,7

Anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory

Another reason for us to rely on high-molecular hyaluronic acid is its anti-inflammatory properties . Studies suggest that fragmented hyaluronic acid (≤ 20 kDa) promotes inflammation. 8,9 Scientists observed a link between chronically inflamed tissue and increased levels of low molecular weight hyaluronan.

wound healing

The variants of hyaluronic acid also have different effects on wound healing. On the face, this usually affects small injuries, pimples or sunburn. High-molecular hyaluronic acid forms a regular, net-like film that promotes even regeneration . The tissue heals without any visible traces. According to studies, low-molecular hyaluronan does not cover injured tissue so evenly. It forms an irregular pattern that can leave scars. 10 For spotty or sensitive skin where the skin barrier is visibly damaged, the high-molecular variant is recommended for traceless regeneration.

We hang on to:

  • high-molecular hyaluronic acid binds more water and forms a film on the skin. This protects against water loss and makes the skin appear refreshed immediately.

  • high-molecular hyaluronic acid promotes even wound healing, while low-molecular hyaluronic acid promotes scar formation.

  • high-molecular hyaluronic acid has an anti-inflammatory effect, while low-molecular hyaluronic acid has a pro-inflammatory effect.

In our vegan moisturizing serum for the face , we rely on high-molecular hyaluronic acid combined with glycerin.

Effective together – hyaluronic acid loves glycerin!

In our FIVE facial serum we use high-molecular hyaluronic acid with 1000-1400 kDa, which cannot penetrate the skin. However, this is not necessary either, because we have supplemented the serum with an ingredient that can do it much better anyway: glycerin!

Fun Fact: In this article you learned a lot about how manufacturers strive to produce hyaluronic acid with the smallest possible molecules. Did you know that glycerin has a molecular mass of just 92 daltons 11 ? In comparison, the molecular size of the smallest hyaluron variant is a joke , because it is massively larger at 10,000 daltons. So when it comes to improving the moisture depots in the depths of the skin, glycerin always outshines (or supplements, as with our serum) hyaluronic acid, as it can penetrate the skin much better.

Glycerin is a fantastic moisturizer. It has a long-lasting effect and supports your natural skin barrier. And this is the be-all and end-all for an intact moisture balance. However, glycerin unfolds its full power in combination with high-molecular hyaluronic acid . A dream team, you could say, because while hyaluronic acid forms a protective film on the skin's surface and prevents the skin from losing moisture, glycerin penetrates the epidermis and unfolds its moisturizing and plumping effect in the tissue.

You can read more about this underrated ingredient in our glycerin portrait .

Rose blossom hydrolate - the super power of hyaluronic acid and glycerin: it binds water. To do this, of course, we have to add water to the formulation. At FIVE, we rely on a rose blossom hydrolate as a carrier. Hydrolates also go by the pretty name flower water and there is already the advantage over simple H2O: In addition to moisture, they also bring active ingredients that soothe and harmonize the skin.

Our FIVE facial serum , like all FIVE products, comes with just 5 ingredients, is vegan and based on natural ingredients. Discover our moisturizing serum with hyaluron, glycerine and rose water now and treat your skin to a moisture kick.


  1. hyaluronic acid and skin. Trends in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology (Volume 3), Volume Editors: Wohlrab W, Neubert RRH, Wohlrab J, Shaker Verlag, Aachen 2004
  2. Boeriu CG, Springer J, Kooy FK, van den Broek LAM, Eggink G. Production methods for hyaluronan. international J. Carbohydr. Chem. 2013;2013:1-14. doi: 10.1155/2013/624967.
  3. Lautenschläger H., hyaluronic acid & polysaccharides - for skin moisture and against wrinkles published in medical Beauty Forum 2018 (6), 15-18
  4. Pavicic T, Gauglitz GG, Lersch P, Schwach-Abdellaoui K, Malle B, Korting HC, Farwick M. Efficacy of cream-based novel formulations of hyaluronic acid of different molecular weights in anti-wrinkle treatment. J Drugs Dermatol. 2011 Sep;10(9):990-1000. PMID: 22052267.
  5. Pavicic T, Gauglitz GG, Lersch P, Schwach-Abdellaoui K, Malle B, Korting HC, Farwick M. Efficacy of cream-based novel formulations of hyaluronic acid of different molecular weights in anti-wrinkle treatment. J Drugs Dermatol. 2011 Sep;10(9):990-1000. PMID: 22052267.
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  7. Nguyen L, Lin X, Verma S, Puri S, Hascall V, Gesteira TF, Coulson-Thomas VJ. Characterization of the Molecular Weight of Hyaluronan in Eye Products Using a Novel Method of Size Exclusion High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography. Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2023 Apr 3;12(4):13. doi: 10.1167/tvst.12.4.13. PMID: 37052911; PMCID: PMC10103721.
  8. Litwiniuk M, Krejner A, Speyrer MS, Gauto AR, Grzela T. Hyaluronic Acid in Inflammation and Tissue Regeneration. wounds 2016 Mar;28(3):78-88. PMID: 26978861.
  10. Litwiniuk M, Krejner A, Speyrer MS, Gauto AR, Grzela T. Hyaluronic Acid in Inflammation and Tissue Regeneration. wounds 2016 Mar;28(3):78-88. PMID: 26978861.
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