5 Hyaluronic acid side effects to be aware of

Hyaluronic acid has become a buzzword in the health and wellness sphere, especially among skincare enthusiasts.

This remarkable molecule, known for its ability to hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, offers many benefits, from keeping your skin plump and hydrated to ease joint discomfort. 

The widespread use of hyaluronic acid in creams, serums, supplements, and even injectable forms speaks volumes about its popularity and effectiveness.

Yet, as with any substance we introduce to our bodies, it’s smart to stay informed about potential side effects.

While hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in our bodies, the external addition through various products or treatments can sometimes lead to unexpected reactions.

Knowing these can help you make informed decisions and use hyaluronic acid to your advantage without unwelcome surprises.

Can hyaluronic acid have side effects?

Hyaluronic acid has become a buzzword in skincare and medical treatments, lauded for its ability to hydrate the skin and ease joint pain [1]. However, like any other treatment, it comes with its potential side effects.

Understanding these can help users make informed decisions and use HA safely.

1. Skin reactions

Hyaluronic acid is a favorite for many seeking to boost their skin’s moisture levels. Yet, it’s smart to remember that even the most praised skincare heroes can sometimes lead to skin reactions. These reactions are generally mild and can vary from person to person.

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Redness and irritation: Some folks might find their skin a bit upset after the first few applications, showing signs of redness or feeling irritated.
  • Itching and rash: A less common reaction, but you might notice an itchy rash, indicating your skin isn’t too happy.
  • Dryness: Ironically, hyaluronic acid can sometimes pull moisture away from the skin in very dry environments, leading to a feeling of dryness instead of hydration.

If you’re diving into using hyaluronic acid, consider these tips:

  • Do a patch test on a small skin area before going all in.
  • Look for products with a lower concentration of hyaluronic acid to start.
  • Pair it with a good moisturizer to lock in that hydration.

Listening to your skin and adjusting your routine accordingly can make all the difference in enjoying the benefits of hyaluronic acid without the unwanted side effects.

skin reactions
Photograph: Prostock-studio/Envato

3. Allergic reactions

Allergic reactions to hyaluronic acid are rare, but they can happen. It’s crucial to be aware of the signs to act quickly if you’re one of the few who experience this. The symptoms can range from mild to more severe, including:

  • Swelling and hives: These can appear around the application or injection site, showing your body is reacting to the product.
  • Breathing difficulties: Any trouble breathing after using hyaluronic acid is a serious sign and requires immediate medical attention.

Here’s how to stay on the safe side: Consider an allergy test before opting for injectable treatments. Start with a topical form of hyaluronic acid to gauge how your skin reacts before moving on to more invasive procedures.

Knowing your body’s response can help you enjoy the benefits of hyaluronic acid safely [2]. Always watch for any unusual reactions, especially after trying a new product, and don’t hesitate to consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns.

3. Injection site reactions

When hyaluronic acid is used in injectable forms, such as dermal fillers or for joint relief, it’s common to have some reactions at the site of the injection. These reactions are usually mild and temporary, but it’s good to know what to expect:

  • Pain and swelling: It’s normal to feel a bit of discomfort and see some swelling. This typically eases within a few days.
  • Bruising: Some might notice bruising. The extent varies from person to person but usually fades over time.
  • Redness and tenderness: The area might look redder and feel tender to the touch. This should get better quickly.

To help manage these reactions, you can do the following:

  • Choose a skilled professional for your injections to minimize risks.
  • Follow any aftercare advice given to you, such as applying ice to reduce swelling.
  • Keep an eye on the site for signs of more serious issues, like increased pain or signs of infection, and report these to your healthcare provider.

Understanding these potential reactions can help you feel more prepared and comfortable with your decision to use injectable hyaluronic acid.

4. Risk of infection

There’s a small chance of infection Whenever you get an injection, whether it’s hyaluronic acid for your skin or joints. This isn’t unique to hyaluronic acid; it’s a risk with any procedure that breaks the skin. Knowing what to watch for can help you catch any issues early:

  • Increased pain: If the pain gets worse instead of better, it’s a red flag.
  • Redness and swelling: Some are normal, but if it increases or spreads, that’s a concern.
  • Warmth and pus: The site feeling warmer than the surrounding area or showing signs of pus points to infection.

To keep risks low, you can follow these:

  • Ensure your provider uses sterile equipment and follows proper procedures.
  • Follow any aftercare instructions you’re given to keep the site clean.

If you notice any signs of infection, don’t wait. Contact your healthcare provider right away for advice. Prompt action can prevent more serious problems and restore your recovery.

5. Long-term usage effects

Exploring the long-term effects of using hyaluronic acid, especially when taken as an oral supplement, is a topic of growing interest.

While hyaluronic acid is celebrated for its ability to hydrate skin and support joint health, the impact of using it over an extended period remains under scrutiny.

Here’s what you should consider:

  • Gastrointestinal issues: Some people report experiencing bloating or discomfort in the digestive tract. It’s not widespread, but it’s something to watch out for.
  • Interactions with medications: There’s a potential for hyaluronic acid to interact with other medications or supplements you might be taking [3]. The research is still evolving, but it’s wise to be cautious.

To navigate the use of hyaluronic acid safely over the long haul, chat with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you’re already on medication.

Keep an eye on how your body responds. Don’t hesitate to bring something up with your doctor if something feels off.

Being informed and vigilant can help you harness the benefits of hyaluronic acid while minimizing any risks associated with its long-term use.

How do you use hyaluronic acid safely?

It’s naturally found in our bodies, particularly in skin, eyes, and joints, playing a critical role in retaining moisture. While HA is celebrated for its benefits, like plumping up the skin and easing joint discomfort, it’s vital to use it wisely to avoid potential side effects.

Topical use

Using hyaluronic acid topically can be a game-changer for your skincare routine, especially if you’re aiming for that dewy, hydrated glow. Here are some tips to get the most out of it:

  • Pick a product formulated for your specific skin needs—oily, dry, sensitive, or combination.
  • If you are new to hyaluronic acid, begin with a lower concentration to see how your skin reacts.
  • Apply it to damp skin or layer under a moisturizer to seal in hydration.
  • Before going all in, test a small area to ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction.
  • Use it regularly as part of your skincare regime, but adjust based on how your skin feels and responds.

With these steps, you can safely incorporate hyaluronic acid into your daily skincare, enhancing moisture and achieving softer, plumper skin.

topical use

Injectable forms

Injectable forms of hyaluronic acid, such as dermal fillers or joint injections, offer more targeted benefits, from smoothing wrinkles to relieving joint pain. Here’s how to approach them safely:

  • Opt for a qualified, experienced professional for any injectable treatment. Their expertise can make a significant difference in outcomes and safety.
  • Familiarize yourself with common reactions like swelling, bruising, and redness. These usually subside quickly, but knowing what’s normal helps you stay informed.
  • Follow the provided aftercare instructions closely to minimize discomfort and enhance healing.
  • Share your medical history and any concerns with your provider beforehand to tailor the treatment to your needs.

Injectable hyaluronic acid can provide dramatic yet natural-looking results when used correctly, offering a safe way to enhance your appearance or improve joint function [4].

Oral supplements

Oral supplements of hyaluronic acid are becoming popular for those looking to support their skin’s hydration from the inside out and improve joint health. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Talk with your healthcare provider before starting, especially if you have existing health conditions or take other medications.
  • Choose supplements from reputable brands to ensure purity and efficacy.
  • Stick to the suggested dosage to avoid any potential side effects.
  • Pay attention to how your body responds. Any unusual symptoms should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

Oral hyaluronic acid can be a valuable addition to your wellness routine, offering benefits that complement topical and injectable forms.

Closing thoughts

This powerhouse ingredient offers many benefits for skin hydration, joint health, and overall wellness. Whether you’re considering topical products, injectable forms, or oral supplements, the key to harnessing hyaluronic acid’s full potential lies in informed and cautious use.

Start today if you’re ready to add hyaluronic acid to your routine or looking to optimize its benefits. With the right approach, you can enjoy the hydrating and health-supporting properties of hyaluronic acid safely and effectively.

Remember, the goal is not just to follow trends but to make informed choices that contribute to your long-term health and happiness.


What are the side effects of using hyaluronic acid?

Common side effects include redness, irritation, and swelling, mainly when used in injectable form. Topically, it’s generally well-tolerated.

Is it safe to use hyaluronic acid daily on face?

Yes, it’s safe and beneficial for most people to use hyaluronic acid daily on the face, enhancing hydration and skin texture.

What happens if you use too much hyaluronic acid?

Using too much can lead to skin dryness or irritation, as it can draw moisture from deeper skin layers if not properly sealed with a moisturizer.

Who should avoid hyaluronic acid?

Individuals with a known allergy to hyaluronic acid should avoid it. Those with severe skin conditions should consult a healthcare provider before use.

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326385
[2] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/hyaluronic-acid-benefits
[3] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22915-hyaluronic-acid
[4] https://www.asds.net/skin-experts/skin-treatments/injectables/injectable-hyaluronic-acid

Photograph: YuriArcursPeopleimages/Envato
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