There is increasing evidence that hyaluronic acid (HA) can be beneficial for seborrheic dermatitis. HA is a natural compound found in the skin and hair. Topical hyaluronic acid helps restore hydration and support the skin’s barrier function.
In a 2012 study, researchers found that a topical HA treatment was effective in reducing seborrheic dermatitis symptoms in adults.
I’ll talk about hyaluronic acid supplements another time. For now, let’s take a deep dive into topical HA and its effect on seborrheic dermatitis:
- What is hyaluronic acid?
- How does hyaluronic acid work to treat seborrheic dermatitis?
- Side effects of using hyaluronic acid for seborrheic dermatitis
- How long does it typically take for hyaluronic acid to work for seborrheic dermatitis?
- What is the best way to use hyaluronic acid for seborrheic dermatitis?
- Can I use hyaluronic acid if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
- To wrap up
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a natural substance found in the fluids in our eyes and joints. HA is a humectant – meaning it retains moisture. In fact, it’s capable of binding over 1000 times its weight in water!
HA is often used as an ingredient in skincare products because it tightens skin, improves fine lines and smoothens skin texture.
Some people swear by HA as a treatment for seborrheic dermatitis but I’ve found that there’s always someone swearing by something in the SD world.
In the case of hyaluronic acid, there is actually clinical evidence that it’s effective at treating seborrheic dermatitis. Coupled with HA’s other skincare benefits, this is one for your skincare arsenal.
How does hyaluronic acid work to treat seborrheic dermatitis?
While there is no cure for seborrheic dermatitis, hyaluronic acid can provide significant relief from the symptoms.
A 2012 study using hyaluronic acid sodium salt gel 0.2% found that treatment with low molecular weight hyaluronic acid (LMWHA) twice a day improved scaling, redness and itch in two-thirds of subjects by week 4 and in all subjects by week 8.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the body that binds up to 1000 times its weight in water. This makes it an extremely effective hydrator, which can help keep moisture in the skin and prevent water from escaping.
Hyaluronic acid has also been found to be very good for healing wounds. While not often obvious to the naked eye, SD flares and scratching causes skin breaks. That’s why your face can sometimes sting and burn. HA soothes your skin and helps those wounds heal.
Another lesser known mechanism by which HA can be beneficial for seborrheic dermatitis is the stimulation of your skin’s innate immunity. Innate immunity is the body’s first line of defense against infection and other harmful invaders. By stimulating this immune response, hyaluronic acid may help protect the skin from damage and inflammation.
Side effects of using hyaluronic acid for seborrheic dermatitis
People using hyaluronic acid report very few side effects. However, like any compound applied on your skin, it may cause skin irritation, dryness, itching and even peeling.
Hyaluronic acid may even worsen acne and seborrheic dermatitis. This is why it’s important to use the right type of hyaluronic acid. I’ll go through the differences between them below.
If you experience any unusual symptoms or problems while using a HA product, stop it right away.
How long does it typically take for hyaluronic acid to work for seborrheic dermatitis?
In the study on hyaluronate gel, participants started seeing improvements by Week 2 of applying HA on their face twice a day. Anecdotally, some people found their face soothed and hydrated even after one application.
Personally, I’ve had not much luck using HA by itself. Used as a serum prior to moisturizing, I found that it helped soothe my skin and kept it more supple. Used alone, my skin felt dry and ‘unprotected’.
What is the best way to use hyaluronic acid for seborrheic dermatitis?
I find hyaluronic acid works best when used in combination with other skincare products to combat seborrheic dermatitis.
The main role of HA in your skincare regimen is to hydrate the skin and reduce sebum overproduction. While HA has some function in skin immunity and may have some anti-fungal activity, it’s just not effective enough to treat SD on its own.
The best way to fit HA into your skincare routine is as a face serum that you apply prior to moisturizing. If you have oily skin, you might even be able to skip the creams and use hyaluronic acid as your ‘moisturizer’ instead.
Hyaluronic acid is everywhere and in every skincare product now a days. But be aware that there are a few different types of HAs.
High molecular weight hyluronic acid (HMWHA) is made up of large molecules and isn’t easily absorbed. It doesn’t do much and in fact and cause skin dryness and clogged pores.
Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid (LMWHA) between 50 to 150 kDa is the most beneficial for skin. These small molecules penetrate your skin cells easily, increasing skin roughness, elasticity and hydration.
Make sure you use skincare products that contain hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate or low molecular weight hyaluronic acid.
Can I use hyaluronic acid if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
There is no evidence that suggests hyaluronic acid is harmful to a fetus or newborn baby. HA can be applied on the skin even if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
To wrap up
Hyaluronic acid is a beneficial treatment for seborrheic dermatitis when used in combination with other treatments. It can help to improve the symptoms of the condition and restore the skin’s health.