Is Hyaluronic Acid Vegan? What Is Hyaluronic Acid Made Of?

By Anett Rannamets. Updated: April 2023.
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Hyaluronic acid can be both, vegan and non-vegan. Hyaluronic acid is a water-binding compound widely used in skincare. It is possible to produce vegan hyaluronic acid in a lab. But it is also possible to obtain hyaluronic acid from animal tissue. Therefore, hyaluronic acid can be both, vegan and non-vegan.

Today, hyaluronic acid is one of the main components that has found its place in the skincare routine. Its mechanism is simple but very important. Now, let’s learn more about it.

See also: Vegan Hyaluronic Acid Skincare

What Is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide found almost everywhere in the human body. It is a gel-like, transparent liquid. Hyaluronic acid has the ability to bind large amounts of water.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is found in the skin, bones, cartilage, synovial fluid, and the vitreous body of the eye. Over the years, the hyaluronic acid in our skin wears off. Therefore, elasticity decreases, skin becomes drier and wrinkles more visible.

As a medicinal substance, HA is used to treat joint problems. Due to its spatial structure, hyaluronic acid can bind water. Thus contributing to the stability and friction-free mechanics of the joints. As a lubricant, it ensures that our joints remain stable, even under heavy loads.

Lately, it has become one of the most popular skincare ingredients as well. As it binds up to six liters of water per gram of its own weight, it is one of the best moisturizers.

Hyaluronic acid comes in different sizes. In the body, hyaluronic acid is usually present as a long-chain compound with a high molecular mass. Short-chain HA has proven itself in skincare. It has a lower molecular mass. Therefore, it penetrates deeper into the skin.

Basically, the rule applies. The smaller the hyaluron chains, the deeper HA penetrates.

Hyaluronic Acid or HA is also known as hyaluron.

What Is Hyaluronic Acid Made Of?

Hyaluronic acid is made synthetically or is extracted from animals. Synthetic Hyaluronic acid is vegan. Therefore, HA can be both, vegan and non-vegan.

Formerly, hyaluronic acid was obtained exclusively from animal materials. Particularly rooster’s combs, extracting the HA in a complex process. However, animal-based HA has its disadvantages.

Bird protein, which naturally occurs in rooster’s combs, can lead to an allergic reactions. And unfortunately, that protein cannot be completely eliminated from the HA. In addition, animal HA also carries the risk of transmitting pathogens.

Although biotechnological hyaluronic acid poses fewer side effects, brands still sometimes use animal-based HA. Mainly because it is cheaper. However, most conscious skincare brands only use vegan HA.

Why Is Hyaluronic Acid Used In Skincare?

Hyaluronic acid is used in skin care because it has anti-aging properties. It also hydrates very dry skin and binds moisture.

The amount of hyaluronic acid in the body decreases with age. The skin loses moisture, elasticity, and wrinkles form as a result. However, if the skin is supplied with HA over a longer period of time, it can become plumper.

The skin owes its firmness and elasticity to the connective tissue. And its building blocks include collagen and elastin. As HA is a key component of the connective tissue, it fills and supports it. So it ensures the firmness of the skin.

As HA is a moisture magnet that attracts and binds water, HA can also treat dry skin. It lies on the surface of the skin and hydrates it.

Nevertheless, hyaluronic acid is not a miracle cure, but rather a moisturizer. Moisture loss is just one factor why the skin ages. Exposure to oxidative stress and UV radiation are other important factors.

Therefore, we recommend using HA with other skin-complimenting active ingredients and sunscreen.

FAQ About Hyaluronic Acid

What is hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide found almost everywhere in the human body. It is a gel-like, transparent liquid. Hyaluronic acid has the ability to bind very large amounts of water.

What is hyaluronic acid made of?

There are two different ways to produce or obtain hyaluronic acid. These are biotechnological production and extraction from certain body parts of animals.

Is hyaluronic acid vegan?

Hyaluronic acid can be both, vegan and non-vegan. It is either made synthetically in a vegan way or is extracted from animals.


Hyaluronic acid is a powerful skincare ingredient. This humectant binds large amounts of water and regulates the moisture content of the skin. Thus, it deals with dry skin and wrinkles.

HA can be extracted from rooster’s combs but it can also be produced biotechnologically in a vegan form.

As HA occurs also naturally in the body, it has almost no side effects. Still, it is recommended to use products with vegan HA as it does not cause allergic reactions.

Although most conscious skincare brands have chosen vegan HA in their products, not everyone has. So when in doubt, ask the manufacturer.

However, in order to always be sure of the origin of the products, we recommend buying skincare from vegan skincare brands.

See also: Vegan Hyaluronic Acid Skincare, Best Vegan Skincare Products

Anett is a passionate journalist, writer, and magazine editor with almost 7 years of experience. Through engaging articles, she brings kinder and more environmentally-friendly choices closer to everybody.