Hyaluronic Acid for Hair: Can It Help You Fight Aging?

closeup of a woman putting serum on finger using a dropper

You’ve probably heard about hyaluronic acid and the various products that speak of its moisture-retaining properties and how it’s a great way to hydrate your dry skin and promote hair growth. This is quite appealing to many people, of course.

A current TikTok trend has people showing how they use a hyaluronic acid facial serum on their hair. One user reported they saw and felt a major difference after only two weeks of nightly application. This particular video has millions of views and apparently inspired many others to post their own videos to report their own results after trying the product.

Hyaluronic Acid for Hair: Can It Help You Fight Aging?

Hyaluronic acid can absorb and hold onto water so it traps the moisture when applied to the skin or hair, making them softer. Thus, it could be effective for various hair types. People usually apply the acid to wet hair as it acts like a sponge and absorbs the water from it. It sounds great, right? What you often do not hear is it can have the opposite effect when applied to dry hair. Hyaluronic acid is a large molecule and doesn’t always penetrate. So, it could soak the existing moisture from your hair and dry it out.

Dermatologists often hear questions about popular ingredients in beauty and skincare products. So what is hyaluronic acid? What are its properties? Can you use hyaluronic acid for hair? What are the most effective ways of using it?

What’s Hyaluronic Acid?

As we said above, hyaluronic acid not only retains moisture but can bind over a thousand times its weight in liquid. This acid is part of certain organs of the human body like the eyes, skin, and eyes. It’s also present in the synovial fluid of the joints. The type of hyaluronic acid used in cosmetics is usually made in a lab via bio-fermentation, a bacterial process.

The production of hyaluronic acid, collagen, elastin, and other key substances decreases as we age. This is the reason why the skin loses volume and moisture. Some doctors also prescribe it to people with arthritis as a joint pain reliever and wounds healer. Taking hyaluronic acid supplements or using cosmetic products that contain it may improve skin hydration and reduce signs of aging. So, it makes sense to use it with the intention to promote skin health and fight signs of aging.

What Does the Research On Hyaluronic Acid Reveal?

Research reveals that hyaluronic acid can be effective in various applications. Various studies explored its effects on aging and found that these vary from person to person and depend on other factors that influence the skin, such as nutrition, climate, genetics, and substance abuse.

A 2017 study examined the anti-aging effects of hyaluronic acid supplements in sixty healthy adults. The researchers divided them into two groups and randomly assigned them a hyaluronic acid treatment or a placebo. The skin of those in the group who used the real thing improved in comparison to those who used the placebo. It’s noteworthy to mention that not only the sample of this study was too small but it received funding from a company that produces hyaluronic acid supplements. Facts that probably didn’t influence the results, right?

Another small study found that hyaluronic acid may improve skin elasticity and reduce skin roughness in as little as 2-8 weeks while researchers in a 2016 German one compared the anti-aging effects of four different face creams containing hyaluronic acid. They recorded an increase in skin tightness and a reduction in wrinkle depth in the 20 participants.

As you can imagine, most cosmetic brands that produce these elixirs claim they can reverse aging. In reality, most of these products contain hyaluronic acid molecules and these are too large to pass through the outer layer of skin cells.

woman with long brown hair applying serum with a dropper

What Are the Most Effective Ways of Using Hyaluronic Acid?

One of the best applications for this kind of acid is to heal wounds by promoting skin hydration. According to a 2016 review article, it speeds up the process by decreasing inflammation and redirecting blood vessels to damaged skin areas. The researchers noticed that hyaluronic acid helps diabetic foot ulcers heal faster than the standard wound dressing materials.

In addition, the researchers in a 2019 animal study applied a biodegradable gel containing hyaluronic acid and poloxamer to skin wounds. It prevented bacterial infections and moisturized the wound and promoted healing as a consequence.

Furthermore, the synovial fluid that lubricates and cushions the joints contains hyaluronic acid and naturally relieves joint pain. It breaks down as people age and the joints become stiff and painful so some physicians prescribe hyaluronic injections to treat osteoarthritis. (insert link: according to the Arthritis Foundation) However, the guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation advise people against it. This is because there’s not enough evidence to prove its use is safe or effective.

Are There Any Side Effects?

In general, most products containing hyaluronic acid seem to be safe if you follow the instructions on how to use them. However, there could be allergic reactions and adverse side effects in some people so always do a test patch before you start using a new product. Furthermore, people who receive injections containing this acid could experience pain, redness, itching, swelling, or bruising. It’s possible for these side effects to be the result of the injection process rather than the solution, though.

Of course, you must always consult your doctor about any interactions of hyaluronic acid with your prescription medications or if you have a chronic health condition. This substance seldom causes severe side effects or allergic reactions as it’s naturally occurring in the human body. However, those with a history of severe allergic reactions should be cautious when using it. In addition, we don’t know much about its effects on pregnant or lactating women so they may want to avoid taking these supplements.

Three cosmetic pipettes with hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic Acid Containing Cosmetics

Many cosmetics containing hyaluronic acid claim to increase hydration but this is only partially true. It depends on the kind of product as this acid has varying molecular sizes. For instance, the larger ones can bind to water and hold it but cannot penetrate the skin. Thus, they merely sit on top of the skin when applied topically and the hydration only happens at the surface. In turn, the smaller molecules bind less water than the larger ones but can penetrate deeper into the epidermis. So, stick to a product with varying sizes of molecules for maximum surface hydration.

There’s such a thing as dermal fillers that contain hyaluronic acid; they’re usually available in an injectable gel form. These add volume by drawing water and by literally filling the area where they’re applied. People use these fillers to address all kinds of cosmetic concerns like softening folds and lifting the cheeks. They also diminish the creases around the mouth and chin and improve sunken, undereye circles. You can also use them to maintain your lips hydrated and enhance the appearance of your hands and earlobes.

Can Hyaluronic Acid Prevent or Reverse Aging?

Ok, so now you know more about the topical applications of hyaluronic acid. Do you think it’s worth the hype? Well, let’s be clear that topical applications won’t ever be as effective as the injectable form of this acid. Especially when it comes to replacing lost volume. Be aware that some manufacturers market these topical products as topical “fillers.” They’re excellent moisturizers, no doubt, but if you seek to improve the volume of your skin then stick to the injectable form.

The topical form of hyaluronic acid has good attributes as it doesn’t cause allergic reactions and it’s safe to use for the most part. It’s particularly great if you have dry skin, especially during the cooler months. Do keep in mind that it only hydrates you on the surface.

Let’s now proceed to evaluate a couple of products containing hyaluronic acid for hair that came to our attention.

closeup of a woman's shining wavy blond hair

Products Containing Hyaluronic Acid for Hair

Yal Filler Hyaluronic Acid Serum
$18.90 ($28.21 / Fl Oz)

by NOAH 

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09/21/2023 02:42 am GMT

NOAH Yal Filler Hyaluronic Acid Serum

This product claims to be anti-frizz and repair hair, especially if you’re experiencing hair loss or have severely damaged hair. According to them, the difference between good hair and bad hair is as simple as using the right hair serum.

The product is apparently organic and vegan and contains organic konjac, a root vegetable that grows in some parts of Asia and is rich in proteins, lipids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. All ingredients used in its production are supposed to be hand-picked and cruelty-free sourced. Its overall composition is supposed to be sulfate, paraben, paraffin, mineral oils, diethanolamine,cruelty-free, and Sodium lauryl sulfate-free.

The full list of ingredients of this filler serum treatment with hyaluronic acid, specific for hair is Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, sodium hyaluronate, Parfum [fragrance], Ethylhexyl palmitate, Trihydroxystearin, Amorphophallus konjac root powder.

A reviewer of this product on Amazon indicates the product does contain at least two silicone and petroleum ingredients, so it isn’t “organic.”

Another of them is quite disappointed because the product isn’t “100% natural.” He adds that Dimethiconol belongs to the family of silicones, organic derivatives of silicon, characterized by the presence of an oxygen-silicon bond, a stable and chemically inert bond. They’re photostable, colorless, and odorless substances. In particular, Dimethiconol is a silicone rubber while Cyclopentasiloxane is safe in cosmetic products, except in hair styling products and spray solar products.

A third review indicated they got it thinking it’ll be a quick fix for their recently damaged hair but quickly learned it isn’t worth the hype or money, even though it works.

Miracle Hair Elixir (Coconut Oil with Hyaluronic Acid Leave in Conditioner)
$29.00 ($14.50 / Fl Oz)

by Coco & Eve 

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09/21/2023 02:46 am GMT

Coco & Eve Miracle Hair Elixir

This coconut oil with hyaluronic acid leave-in conditioner is marketed as a hair treatment for dry damaged hair, and frizz control that also protects hair from heat styling.

The claim is this hair elixir revitalizes and restores dry frizzy hair as the coconut oil in it infuses softness, shine and gloss with a lightweight, non-greasy, silky finish. It also treats split-ends by boosting hydration, and smoothing “the feistiest of frizz.” One must rub a few drops of it on the hair ends before bedtime and can also use it as a pre-styling treatment by applying a few drops on damp hair to protect it from heat up to 428°F and for a healthy shine. You can also finish your look by using it as a styling serum to sleek, smooth, twist, or scrunch your hair and have a silky finish.

According to the claims, the formulation is a unique blend of Balinese fruits like mangosteen, papaya, prickly pear, and virgin coconut oil plus hyaluronic acid. The logic behind it is that coconut oil is “one of the world’s richest sources of fatty acids to recover hair from within and seal split ends, whilst hyaluronic acid will moisturize deep into the hair without any residue.”

They’re proud to offer a 100% vegan, cruelty-free product. Their list of ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, C15-19 Alkane, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil/Cocos Nucifera Oil, Parfum/Fragrance/Perfume, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Seed Oil/Carica Papaya Seed Oil, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Extract / Ficus Carica Fruit Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil/Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract/ Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Extract/ Citrus Limon Peel Extract, Garcinia Mangostana Fruit Extract, C10-18 Triglycerides, Sodium Hyaluronate, Triolein, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glyceryl Dioleate, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Coumarin, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal.

The product is well-rated on Amazon, 4.5 stars, and there’s a consensus in regard to how much they like the scent and how silky it is as well as how much it decreases frizz. However, some of them dislike the fact that it does contain silicones, so it isn’t “100% natural.”

The Process of Aging

Aging is a process of natural change that begins immediately after you’re born and while you begin to acquire many of your functions all the way to your thirties, many body functions begin to decline when you reach middle age.

People get old at different ages although 65 is officially the beginning of “old age” as we understand it. This is an arbitrary number and has nothing to do with biology, only with history. It began when Germans, the first people to establish a retirement program, chose the age of 65 as the age for their retirement. Other developed societies followed suit and it’s now the retirement age in many countries.

When Does a Person Become Old?

There are various types of ages: chronologic, biologic, and psychologic.

Chronologic age is solely based on the passage of time and has limited significance in terms of health, even though the likelihood of a health problem increases as you age. However, let’s be clear that health problems, not normal aging, are the main cause of functional loss during old age.

Biologic age is about body changes that affect some people but not others. Thus, some of us may be old at 65 while others won’t be until they’re 75. This is more the result of the type of lifestyle you led as well as your past and present habits.

Finally, the psychological age is more about your state of mind, and how you act and feel. There are many youthful 80-year-olds who are still fun and active so they’re psychologically young.

Normal aging

People age differently and most changes are due to normal internal processes that occur in everyone who reaches an old age These changes are expected and unavoidable. For example, collagen production decreases, and the lens of the eye stiffens and thickens. Thus, it becomes harder to focus on close objects. This change is part of normal aging and happens to everyone who gets older.

What exactly constitutes normal aging is still a subject of much debate but the changes that occur make it more likely to develop certain disorders. Still, you can take some actions to compensate for these changes. For instance, you’ll probably lose some of your teeth as you age but you can counteract it by visiting the dentist regularly and by brushing and flossing regularly.

Depending on your skin type, you might want to change your skincare routine and replenish your dead skin cells with vitamin E. It also does wonders for the dark spots in your hands as it evens your skin tone. People with sensitive skin should do a patch test to be sure they’re not allergic to it.

Healthy Aging

This refers to slowing down the undesired effects of aging, both physically and mentally. You want to live in a way that you can prevent illness and remain active and independent. Indeed, it’s harder to maintain your general good health as you age but some healthy habits can greatly contribute to it. Adopt a wholesome, well-balanced, nutritious diet that includes vitamin C, be physically active (a daily 30-minute walk is all you need), develop, and stay mentally active. The sooner you develop these habits, the better you’ll age, and remember, it’s never too late to begin.

Finally, hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance that helps retain moisture in the skin and eyes and lubricates the joints. It also plays a crucial role in wound healing by controlling inflammation and redirecting blood flow to damaged tissue. The effects of any hyaluronic acid supplement, be it a cosmetic or a medical product, vary from one person to another. So, always consult your doctor before using an anti-aging product containing this substance.

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