Since hyaluronic acid helps keep skin moisturized and vitamin C protects from sun damage and can help fade skin discoloration, the two make an ideal pairing.

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Check out the shelf of your local beauty boutique, and you’ll notice two ingredients are often paired in skin care products: hyaluronic acid and vitamin C.

It’s not a coincidence. Both ingredients can help support graceful aging in skin — especially when they’re used together.

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Our skin gets wrinkled with age thanks largely to hormonal changes that make skin drier and less elastic.

Oxidative damage (from the sun’s ultraviolet rays and the body’s regular metabolic functions) also impacts the synthesis of collagen, the protein that makes up skin and other connective tissues.

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is a molecule naturally produced by the body that’s found in bones, connective tissue, cartilage, hair follicles, and skin. As a humectant, it helps skin retain moisture.

“[Hyaluronic acid is] an effective moisturizer because it can hold one thousand times its weight in water,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist practicing at Shafer Clinic in New York.

“It creates a barrier for the skin, locking in moisture and improving texture,” explains Engelman.

“Hyaluronic acid acts like a sponge. It binds [with] water to pull it into the skin outer skin layer,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Department of Dermatology.

Although hyaluronic acid injections are more effective than creams or serums, research suggests that applying hyaluronic acid to the face may help:

  • moisturize skin
  • decrease the appearance of wrinkles
  • enhance skin firmness and elasticity
  • repair and regenerate skin

Hyaluronic acid creams may be particularly helpful as skin ages, especially as the levels of hyaluronic acid in the skin drop with age.

“Skin loses water and moisture as we age, and this ingredient will help store hydration. The result is a softer, plumper, and even skin tone. It can improve fine lines and wrinkles as well,” Engelman says.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that’s naturally present in high levels in the skin. It helps protect the skin from ultraviolet (UV) sun and other environmental damage.

A 2017 review suggests that photodamaged skin, or skin exposed to high levels of UV light, tends to have lower levels of vitamin C.

“Vitamin C is perhaps the best-studied antioxidant we have available for topical application,” says Zeichner.

Engelman and Zeichner say applying vitamin C to the skin may help:

  • protect the skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays
  • prevent premature skin aging by protecting the skin from oxidative stress
  • boost collagen synthesis
  • reduce skin pigmentation
  • have an anti-inflammatory effect to help treat acne and rosacea
  • exfoliate skin
  • brighten dark spots

If you’re looking for a pair of skin care ingredients for optimal skin health, consider hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. Combining the two makes for a great all-in-one skin care step.

“Hyaluronic acid and vitamin C are commonly used together because they complement each other to hydrate, protect, and repair aging skin,” says Zeichner.

There’s another reason the ingredients are often paired: “Too much vitamin C can be irritating, trigger dryness, and even cause acne breakouts in certain skin types,” says Engelman. “Hyaluronic acid is a great addition to vitamin C because it does not overwork the skin. Rather, it nourishes [skin] by helping to create a moisture barrier, and it allows the skin to heal.”

Rsearch suggests that both hyaluronic acid and vitamin C help moisturize and smooth skin, even out redness and discoloration, repair skin, and reduce signs of aging.

A 2020 randomized controlled trial involving 50 women found that, compared to a placebo, applying a 20% vitamin C serum daily for 2 months improved skin color, elasticity, and radiance while reducing wrinkles.

A 2015 study involving 60 women with light to medium skin tones had participants in the study group apply a solution containing 5% vitamin C followed by a moisturizer. The control groups applied a moisturizer without the vitamin C solution.

Ultrasound was used to measure the thickness of the epidermis and dermis at multiple points during the study. Researchers found that the vitamin C solution was highly effective as a rejuvenation therapy and induced collagen production in all age groups.

As for hyaluronic acid, a 2021 study of 40 women with a wider range of skin tones measured the effectiveness of a hyaluronic acid serum to improve hydration, smoothness, plumping, fine lines, wrinkles, and overall appearance issues using high-frequency ultrasound.

At the end of 6 weeks, researchers noted improvement in all measured areas, with the largest improvements in hydration, smoothness, plumping, and fine lines.

There aren’t any risks when pairing these ingredients together. But if your skin is sensitive to either ingredient, you should avoid it, says Engelman.

Engelman adds that it’s highly unusual to have a reaction to hyaluronic acid. “Everyone can benefit from hyaluronic acid. There is no tolerance required, and it pairs nicely with other ingredients.”

Before applying a new product to the entire face, it’s best to do a patch test on a small area to test for sensitivity. Apply a small amount of the product to the skin and wait 24 hours. If any sign of reaction or irritation occurs, discontinue use.

With age, skin becomes drier and less elastic, increasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help battle oxidative damage to the skin. It’s often paired in skin care products with hyaluronic acid, a humectant that helps keep skin moisturized.

If you want to maximize your skin care benefits, try using these ingredients together.

Colleen de Bellefonds is a Paris-based health and wellness journalist with over a decade of experience regularly writing and editing for publications including, Women’s Health, WebMD,, and Find her on Twitter.