Hyaluronic Acid vs. Salicylic Acid - Glow Bar London

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  • September 27, 2022 5 min read

    Hyaluronic Acid vs. Salicylic Acid

    This article explains the relationship between the two skin acids by providing information to questions such as; What is hyaluronic acid? What is salicylic acid? Differences between hyaluronic and salicylic acid and if both skin acids can be used together.

    Everyone wants skin that looks well moisturized. However, the climate, stress, and environmental conditions as their ways poison your skin's smoothness, leaving your skin appearing dry, dull, and tired. Therefore, you need assistance from skincare ingredients and herbal remedies like hyaluronic and salicylic acid. Some people believe that acid is something that will burn and irritate their skin. However, the ingredients moisturize the skin and help treat conditions like Acne. Simply use both if you are questioning which ingredient to add to your skincare routine. They are different things with different uses and compositions to your skin's smoothness.

    What Is Hyaluronic Acid?

    Hyaluronic acid is also known as hyaluronate. Bukhari et al. (2018) stated that hyaluronic acid is a remarkable slippery substance that your body produces. It is highly located in the skin, joints, and eye. On the other hand, it is an ingredient containing amino sugar that binds with over 1000x its mass in water.

    It is a humectant, meaning it draws water to your skin or joint and makes the skin moisturized. In short, hyaluronic acid nourishes and hydrates the skin instead of exfoliating it, as most acids do. It also helps in conditions like dry eye; however, it is mostly used to improve skin appearance. Few applications of hyaluronic acid include:

    • It makes your skin more elastic and flexible- the acid helps the skin stretch and flex, thus reducing skin wrinkles and making one appear younger. Hydrated skin has higher elasticity meaning it returns to normal when poked or pulled.
    • Clinical studies show that acid can help wounds to heal faster by reducing bacterial and inflation growth.
    • It helps keep bones and joints moving smoothly by preventing pain and injuries from bones grinding against each other
    • The acid helps the skin retain water- One spoonful can hold over 1000 liters of water. Therefore, it is used in treating dry eyes and incorporated in moisturizing creams, serums, ointments, and lotions.

    What Is Salicylic Acid?

    Calvisi  (2021) stated that salicylic is also known as a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), an organic compound that plays a crucial role in removing the outer layer of the skin. It acts as an exfoliant whereby it breaks down the bonds that hold the dead skin cells together, thus shedding the unwanted skin surface. The acid is an odorless white crystalline solid with a melting point of around 158.6 degrees Celsius. It plays an important role in treating skin conditions like Acne and dandruff by removing the outer layer of affected skin. Additionally, it penetrates your skin pores due to oil solubility and interacts with the oil gland controlling the production of oil for moisturizing. Other ways that the acid benefits the skin include:

    • Alleviate skin inflammation soothing the skin
    • Acts as a barrier from irritating UV radiation
    • It has high acidic ph, thus preventing the growth and reproduction of bacteria
    • It increases the production of collagen protein which helps to remove wrinkles and maintain fine lines.

    Differences Between Hyaluronic and Salicylic Acid

    Jhundoo et al. (2021) explained that acids are often feared by many people who wish to treat their skin conditions since they are mistaken to be chemical exfoliants. Salicylic acid is an exfoliant. On the other hand, hyaluronic acid is a hydrate. Therefore, people should be careful not to use salicylic acid frequently since it can damage your skin layers and worsen your skin condition.

    Difference in Applications

    Hyaluronic Acid

    It can be used on its own or by combining with other products. Many are readily available over the counter, and some are doctor's prescriptions. Hyaluronic acid can be taken in the following ways:


    The acid can come in the form of pills taken with water or mixed with other drinks. It acts as a pain reliever for conditions such as arthritis.

    • Applying directly to the skin-

    Hyaluronic acid can be infused in topicals like shampoo, lotions, creams, serums, and ointments to moisturize skin when applied.

    Eye Drops

    The acid is a non-exfoliate and is safe for the eyes. It is common in many eye drops prescribed.

    Through Injections

    Prescribed hyaluronic acid can be given as shots. It is injected into your joints to alleviate chronic pains associated with arthritis, bladder pain, and interstitial cystitis. It can also be injected under your skin as fillers containing acid and collagen, which help to restore the skin's natural appearance and shape.

    Through Your Nose

    It is taken through the nose by inhaling to treat respiratory disorders like asthma or breathing difficulty.

    Salicylic Acid

    It is only applied to the skin. To avoid irritation, the acid should not contact the nose, mouth, eyes, or any skin wound or broken skin. Salicylic acid is mostly infused with cream, gel, and lotions to minimize its irritation, whereby it is prescribed by doctors to be applied to skin affected by Acne. For other uses, such as removing wrinkles for a younger appearance, salicylic acid is used with cleansers on the purposed skin area. After 15 min, the area is washed with clean water.

    Can Both Skin Acids Be Used Together?

    Yes. Najmi et al. (2020) explained that they are more convenient and effective when combined. Most cleansers and multi-verse serums contain both ingredients in a proportional ratio whereby the salicylic acid is in small quantity to avoid irritation in daily use. They are both effective in treating the following conditions;

    • Skin dryness, stiffness, and skin diseases like Acne, arthritis, and scleroderma.
    • Improve joint health
    • Improving wound healing
    • A small quantity of salicylic acid with hyaluronic acid can be infused into inhalers to treat respiratory conditions such as asthma.


    Both acids may have some differences, but the main point is they are a great way to work towards promoting your skin appearance and health. Looking at the skincare community, you will find countless photos of the exfoliating and hydrating acid that has helped people get rid of wrinkles and warts leaving them with good skin complexity. However, salicylic acid shouldn't be used daily since many cases have been reported on how it causes irritations to the skin plus, it is not suitable for open body areas like the mouth, nose, eyes, or broken skin. A combination of both reduces the irritation, generally boosting skin health.


    Bukhari, S. N. A., Roswandi, N. L., Waqas, M., Habib, H., Hussain, F., Khan, S., ... & Hussain, Z. (2018). Hyaluronic acid, a promising skin rejuvenating biomedicine: A review of recent updates and pre-clinical and clinical investigations on cosmetic and nutricosmetic effects. International journal of biological macromolecules, 120, 1682-1695.

    Calvisi, L. (2021). Efficacy of a combined chemical peel and topical salicylic acid‐based gel combination in the treatment of active Acne. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 20, 2-6.

    Jhundoo, H. D., Siefen, T., Liang, A., Schmidt, C., Lokhnauth, J., Moulari, B., ... & Lamprecht, A. (2021). Hyaluronic Acid Increases Anti-Inflammatory Efficacy of Rectal 5-Amino Salicylic Acid Administration in a Murine Colitis Model. Biomolecules & Therapeutics, 29(5), 536.

    Najmi, M., Sharp, L., Kollipara, R., & Tarbox, M. (2020). Improvement of nevus comedonicus after repeated micro-needling. JAAD Case Reports, 6(2), 152.