Health Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on May 08, 2023
3 min read

Hyaluronic acid is a substance that’s naturally found in your body, including the eyes, skin, and joints. It holds onto moisture and keeps tissues and joints lubricated. Scientists can also make it in a lab through from bacteria. This lab-made version can help with a variety of bodily functions.

Hyaluronic acid has become a popular skin care treatment. While there’s little proof that it works as an anti-aging cosmetic product, you can get it injected into your face -- a treatment called a dermal filler -- to lessen wrinkles and add fullness.

Products claim that hyaluronic acid gels, creams, and serums fight wrinkles and aging while making your face look better overall. The evidence suggests that hyaluronic acid helps with soft tissue growth, prompts your body to make more collagen and elastin, keeps your skin moisturized, prevents tightness, boots elasticity, and reduces scarring.

Hyaluronic acid is approved for use in some eye operations. It can lower inflammation and speed up healing from surgery. It can also help people with dry eyes. When used in eye drops or contact lenses, it can keep your eyes moistened and improve eye health.

Hyaluronic acid injections may help with knee osteoarthritis, which results from a loss of cartilage, the spongy material that cushions your joints. Your doctor might suggest hyaluronic acid injections, or gel injections, to ease the pain. It might take many shots before you notice results. But the benefits can last from 6 months to a year. This treatment works best if you have mild to moderate osteoporosis.

Acid reflux is when stomach acid flows up into your esophagus. It’s a symptom of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Research suggests that hyaluronic acid could relieve the damage in your esophagus from stomach acid and promote a quicker healing process.

One study showed people who took hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate supplements along with acid-reducing drugs had fewer acid reflux symptoms than those who only took acid-reducing drugs. While the research looks promising, experts are still studying how hyaluronic acid treatment benefits acid reflux.

Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS) happens when your bladder walls become inflamed and irritated. This can cause sensitivity and pain. Intravesical hyaluronic acid, a treatment inserted directly into your bladder, might ease both the urge to pee and the pain linked to IC/PBS.

In one study, experts treated people who had IC/PBS with hyaluronic acid for 3 months. Their urge to pee during the night went down by 40% and their overall pain dropped by 30%. Their need for painkillers also went down.

Sometimes hyaluronic acid can cause an allergic reaction. Your doctor will ask you about allergies before they prescribe it. If you use over-the-counter hyaluronic acid, carefully read the instructions and ingredients first.

If you have skin infections, knee joint infections, or any other issue around the hyaluronic acid injection site, tell your doctor right away. It could be unsafe to get the treatment. Similarly, it’s best to get a joint effusion (too much fluid in your knees) treated before you use hyaluronic acid.

It’s also important to tell your doctor about any other medications you use. Some over-the-counter and prescription drugs may interact with hyaluronic acid. Your doctor can change the dosage of your medications or take other safety measures before giving you hyaluronic acid.