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Hyaluronic Acid and Glycolic Acid Together: Can We Mix Them?

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You would probably vote for the skin as one of the most taken care of body parts. After all, flawless skin is what every woman desires and most are willing to do everything possible to get it perfect. Although perfect skin may seem unattainable, the secret lies in a daily routine that includes ingredients your skin needs. While an inappropriate routine for your skin will do nothing good, a proper one will change your life. As simple as it sounds, your routine should consist of products with active ingredients that target your skin type and skin condition. However, exfoliation and hydration must never miss from your routine, even if “how often” and “how much” depend on each one case.

For this reason, in this article, we’ll be looking at one great exfoliating agent and one great hydrating agent: hyaluronic acid (HA) and glycolic acid, two elements that are becoming the rave of the skincare community. While it’s very common to use these as standalone, many people have wondered if they can combine them. Continue reading below if you want to learn how hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid should be used together, what happens when you use both in the same routine, and what are the possible side effects of this combination.

What is hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is an organic substance found in the human body, joints, eyes, and even skin. However, natural processes like aging, environmental factors (exposure to UV, pollution), and lifestyle factors (such as smoking) reduce hyaluronic acid’s quantity on the skin.


Since hyaluronic acid is natural to your body, it is rare to experience any common allergic reaction symptoms. This acid has the natural ability to keep water or moisture, which is why it is referred to as a humectant. It has a watery texture and absorbs quickly. Are you catching the cue? It means hyaluronic acid helps to keep your skin moisturized all day. In turn, this makes your skin look younger as HA helps maintain its elasticity. That’s one important function of hyaluronic acid right there. 

Look at the state of your skin. Is it itchy or dry? Does it look a little wrinkled? A skincare product containing hyaluronic acid is probably what you need. One study found that hyaluronic acid moisturizes the skin by gathering water from the environment and retaining it for skin use. Researchers have even found out some evidence that hyaluronic acid works as an anti-aging treatment when taken orally. A 2017 study was done on healthy men and women from Japan between ages 22 and 59, which discovered that oral hyaluronic acid works to prevent skin wrinkles after eight weeks.

The aim of this piece is to ascertain whether you can use hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid together. Before we can achieve that, let’s go on to examine the other side of the coin. 

What is glycolic acid? 

Glycolic acid is an organic acid found in sugarcane. It is available in different forms like lotions, peels, face washes, serums, and skincare pads. Glycolic acid can be used for chemical exfoliating because of its antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It breaks the bond between the skin cells of the outer layer. Glycolic acid is usually much more preferred to scrubs as it does its exfoliation in a much lighter way. It also helps treat acne because it can safely clear dead skin and remove the excess oil and dirt that block the skin pores. One research also confirmed that glycolic acid treatment may increase collagen gene expression and hyaluronic acid content of human skin.

Can you use hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid together?

Now that you have a basic understanding of these substances’ individual functions, it’s time to discover if they can be used together. So far, we have been able to establish a few facts: 

  1. They are both acids found from natural sources
  2. Hyaluronic acid is a moisturizing agent
  3. Glycolic acid is an exfoliating agent

Individually, these ingredients are safe to use. The correct sequence for a skincare routine is first cleansing, then exfoliation. Exfoliation usually leaves the skin dry, and so, moisturization comes next after exfoliation. So, cleansing, exfoliation, and then moisturization should do. 


In most cases, glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid are safe to use together when they are in the right quantities. Because they are acids, they affect the pH of the skin layers. The depth to which glycolic acid acts is proportional to the concentration used. This implies that a 1% concentration of glycolic acid can penetrate three layers of skin, while a 10% concentration can penetrate 20 layers of skin. Glycolic acid should be used with caution to get the desired results without irritation. 

To make up for glycolic acid’s irritation effect, it’s advisable to use hyaluronic acid to counteract its drying effect. So, after the harsh exfoliating impact of glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid can be used to hydrate the skin, making it lighter and softer. There is, however, a shortcoming in the use of the substances together. Using hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid together at the same time may become counter-effective, especially if you have sensitive skin. Therefore, it’s advisable that if you want to use these ingredients, you should use them at time intervals. You may want to use hyaluronic acid in the morning and glycolic acid at night.    

Do hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid work together?

To put it simply, there’s no evidence to show the effects of using hyaluronic acid with glycolic acid for skin treatment. Unfortunately, the efficacy of combining glycolic acid with HA has not been demonstrated in any study, yet. However, one research made clear that the use of a hyaluronic acid cream after a 70% glycolic acid peel increased the effects of glycolic acid than it would if used alone. Increased epidermal thickness and improvements of collagen fibers densification have been mentioned.


Indeed, it’s a good idea to use hyaluronic acid after applying glycolic acid. Using them in the same routine, it’s not a wrong approach. However, we suggest you apply glycolic acid in your night skincare routine while keeping the moisturizing hyaluronic acid for your morning regime.

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