Best Humectants For Skin:  Is Hyaluronic Acid The Best?

Best Humectants For Skin: Is Hyaluronic Acid The Best?

Best Humectants for skin: Is Hyaluronic Acid the best or are there others that give this humectant a run for its money?

Hyaluronic Acid is the hydration darling of the beauty industry. Now, it is common to find this ingredient in almost every beauty, hair, and skin care product.

In this article, we will compare and contrast and the differences between some of the more common and not so common humectant ingredients.

Hyaluronic Acid: holds up to 1000x its weight in water

-Naturally occurring in the body so most people won’t react to this ingredient.

Hyaluronic Acid holds up to 1000x its weight in water so it is a powerhouse in is ability to hold water.

Although you will see this ingredient make its appearance in many ingredients lists, its’ alternative humectant, glycerin is usually listed BEFORE the hyaluronic acid ingredient.

Hyaluronic Acid: What the Beauty Industry DOESN’T Want you to Know

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Glycerin is less expensive and more common. For it hydration capabilities and price, you can’t beat this inexpensive ingredient. Although it has no where near the water holding capabilities as hyaluronic acid, here is a very good value:

Yu-Be Deep Hydration Cream-

Glycerin/Urea –both of these are humectant ingredients that provides surface hydration and infuse moisture directly into the skin cells.

The next one is Sodium PCA.

Sodium PCA: holds up to 250x its weight in water

When comparing Hyaluronic acid vs Sodium PCA, Hyaluronic Acid still can hold a significant amount more than Sodium PCA. Sodium PCA is the salt form of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid.

Sodium PCA mainly works as a humectant moisturizer in skin and hair care products, typically .2 ~45 concentration.

It is a natural component of the skins NMF (natural moisturizing factor) around 12%. It is non comedogenic. Both PCA and Urea are ingredients that bind moisture to our skin.

**In the world of cosmetic chemistry, Sodium PCA is usually considered to be a more effective hydrating property than glycerin and propylene glycol (synthetically derived).


Tremella Fuciformis (Snow Mushroom): holds up to 500x its weight in water


This fairly new ingredient may be giving Hyaluronic Acid a run for its fame and moneyand is found in many Asian diets and skin care. The Asians believe that the snow mushroom helps nourish organs such as the heart, brain, lungs, kidney, stomach and helps support the immune system.

The Chinese have used this ingredient as a part of Chinese medicine and their diet. They use this snow mushroom in everything from “anti aging soups” to desserts.

In clinical studies, Tremella Fuciformis has been used to clear chest congestion, asthma, lower inflammation, constipation, reduce cholesterol and balance out blood sugar levels.

The Japanese call this “Shiro Kikurage” (white tree jellyfish). They use it to top noodles (usually marinated in a seasoned sauce) , and sometimes eat it pickled on top of rice.

This white, jelly mushroom that belongs to the jelly fungus family is called, Tremella Fuciformis (snow mushroom). It is usually found on dead trees such as oak,maple, eucalyptus and other fallen broad leaf trees.

One of the most beneficial ingredients in Tremella Fuciformis (snow mushroom) is the powerful immune stimulating/ inflammation reducing polysaccharides.

Nutritional Benefits of the Tremella Fuciformis (Snow Mushroom)

Clinical studies have shown the snow mushroom can inhibit tumor cell growth activity, stimulate vascular endothileal cells (cells that line the inside surface of blood vessels), stimulate the creation of blood cells,, reduce inflammation, and slow down aging.

Cosmetic Benefits: How the snow mushroom is different from Hyaluronic Acid

The snow mushroom’s hydration particles are much smaller than the Hyaluronic Acid so it can penetrate the skin easier. It also has the ability to create a flexible hydration film that helps restore dry skin to its most favorable hydration levels.

The snow mushroom has also been shown to inhibit melanin production by 59.7% so its used as a lightning and brightening agents.

It has well over 18 different Amino Acid and has been proven to be beneficial in cell growth and wound healing, including acne lesions.

The snow mushrooms polysaccharide also stimulates Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) in the brain and liver and helps protect the skin from aging, wrinkling and sagging.


Other Humectants:

Other ingredients that can increase hydration but not to the level of the ones mentioned are:


Lactic Acid– Gentle exfoliating property that is also a humectant. It has the added benefits of being anti bacterial that hinders the formation of hyper pigmentation.

Oat Milk- this humectant has antioxidant protection that adds high levels of essential fatty acids and can help calm and soothe the skin.

Chasteberry Extracts-Phytohormone (plant derived) hydrates and plumps the skin

Panthenol and Soy Isoflavones are also known humectants.

Here are some products that contain some of these ingredients if you would like the moisture benefits for Hyaluronic Acid but also some naturally occurring antioxidants and anti inflammatory properties:

I looked at a few snow mushroom skin care products. When I am looking for concentrated products, I will always seek to find the serum version over the cream version to increase absorption ability.


Volition Snow Mushroom Serum

The most popular one was Volition Snow Mushroom Serum. It has many raving reviews on its website and the snow mushroom extract is listed first (according to the website and as of the date of this writing).

Tremella Fuciformis (Mushroom) Extract, Propanediol, Glycerin, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sea Water, Citrullus Vulgaris (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Fruit Extract, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Water, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, N-Prolyl Palmitoyl Tripeptide-56 Acetate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Diheptyl Succinate, Xanthan Gum, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Sodium Carbomer, Ethylhexylglycerin.


It has quite a few humectant ingredients to help the hydration properties of this product. However, some skin types may break out with any type of oil so if you have the skin type that breaks out easily with any type of oil, then you may need to try this first to see if your skin actually breaks out. The Amazon price is more than on its website.

White Fungus Serum-Alcohol Free

This can be BOTH ingested and used as a topical serum.

According to the Amazon listing, it contains the following ingredients:

Organic White Fungus (Tremella Fuciformis) Dried Mushroom. Origin: USA. Other ingredients: Vegetable palm glycerin, crystal clear water. Contains NO: Alcohol, GMO, gluten, artificial colors, heavy metals, preservatives, pesticides, fertilizers.

According to the directions :

Add 20-30 drops up to 3x daily in water, tea, or any other beverage.

You can also add this to any skin care product. If you are going to use this as a skin serum booster.


Moon Juice Beauty Shroom Plumping Jelly Serum

This serum lists Tremella Fucisformis extract as being 6th on the list. This blend of oils and emollients may be better suited for someone who has skin on the drier side or does not tend to break out. Like Volition Snow Mushroom serum, it lists the price higher on Amazon than it does on its own website.


If you are looking to add this as a nutritional supplement to your diet here is:

Moon Juice- Beauty Shroom Vegan Collagen Protection– Unlike the other skin care products, the price is the same on Amazon as it is on their own website.


Rice Bran Solubles (Tocotrienols), Tremella Fuciformis Sporocarp (Silver Ear Mushroom), Sodium Hyaluronate – Salt of Hyaluronic Acid

You can blend this in coffee, matcha (green tea), and adding it to drinks, including water.


Although I have added a few synthetic humectants, most of these are natural. I have not included the more common synthetic humectants.

A good moisturizer for most skin types will have a balance of humectants, emollients, and occlusives.

You may also be using the wrong product to treat your actual skin condition:

How to Get Rid of Dry vs Dehydrated Skin

The Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin in the Winter will give you a better explanation



International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v2.i3.10
26 pages
Medicinal Value of the Genus Tremella Pers. (Heterobasidiomycetes) (Review)
Sergey V. Reshetnikov
N. G. Kholodny Institute of Botany, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 2 Tereshchenkivskaya Str., Kiev 252001, Ukraine; and Med Myco Ltd., Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel
Solomon P. Wasser
N.G. Kholodny Institute of Botany, NAS of Ukraine, 2 Tereshchenkovskaya Str., Kiev 01004, Ukraine; International Center for Cryptogamic Plants and Fungi, Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel
Ina Duckman
Med Myco Ltd., Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel
Katherina Tsukor
Med Myco Ltd., Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel

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