Hyaluronic acid protects granulation tissue from oxygen free radical damage and stimulates wound healing, but its molecular weight prevents it from permeating the epidermal barrier A low molecular weight hyaluronic acid preparation is able to permeate the skin, but it is unknown whether or not it retains the scavenging effects of oxygen free radicals in granulation tissue. Our experiments were conducted in rats with excisional or incisional wounds. Wound contraction over 11 days and breaking strength on the fifth day were measured. Oxygen free radical production was induced by intraperitoneal administration of two different xenobiotics: phenazine methosulfate and zymosan. The wounds were treated topically with low molecular weight hyaluronic acid (0.2%) cream or placebo. In the incisional wound group, the effects of superoxide dismutase were also determined. Absolute controls received wounds and placebo but no xenobiotics. Wound healing was significantly slower in the xenobiotic group than in the control groups. These effects were strongly reduced by topical administration of low molecular weight hyaluronic acid (0.2%) cream and in incisional wounds by topically injected superoxide dismutase. Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid is effective as the native compound against oxygen free radicals. Its pharmacological effects through transdermal administration should be tested in appropriate models.