Hyaluronic acid has become one of the most popular, trending products in the beauty world due to its healing and hydrating qualities, but do you know about sodium hyaluronate?
Despite a couple of differences, these two compounds are nearly the same and serve similar purposes in the ever-growing world of skincare.
You shouldn’t need a Master’s degree in chemistry or chemical engineering to understand what you’re putting on your skin. With names such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and beta hydroxy acid, it can seem daunting and intimidating to approach.
But don’t worry. We’re here to help!
Today, we will clearly and succinctly explain what sodium hyaluronate is, the differences between it and hyaluronic acid and its benefits.
Here we go!
What is Sodium Hyaluronate?
In simple terms, sodium hyaluronate is a water-soluble salt that’s a derivative of hyaluronic acid. Did you know that you also have hyaluronic acid naturally occurring within your body and not just in your favourite serum or moisturizer? It’s true!
For those who may not know, water-soluble simply means that it can dissolve in and mixes well with water.
Within our bodies, hyaluronic acid’s role is to bind and retain water molecules, making it great for minimizing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging. It belongs to the extracellular matrix, also known as the ECM, the non-cellular component present in all tissues and organs.
So the ECM, and consequently hyaluronic acid, provides essential physical protection for cells while also facilitating essential biochemical processes and intercellular communication.
You likely remember learning the term ‘sodium chloride’ in elementary school and thinking you were the reincarnation of Einstein when you asked your parents to pass you the sodium chloride at dinner. This is an easy way to remember what sodium hyaluronate is.
Sodium hyaluronate is merely an ingredient that is extracted from hyaluronic acid. It’s the sodium salt form of hyaluronic acid. Like hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate possesses numerous beneficial qualities that can help your skin look more youthful and supple.
However, its applications also extend to the eye and joint health, as well. For the sake of this article’s purpose, we’re going to stick to its skincare purposes, which is why you clicked on this link, no doubt.
And we aim to please!
Sodium Hyaluronate vs Hyaluronic Acid
While they share similarities, some factors set these two ingredients apart.
Typically, if you were to purchase a hyaluronic acid product, you’ll likely see the name “hyaluronic acid” on the front label.
However, when you turn it over, you’ll probably find that it’s actually listed as sodium hyaluronate in the list of ingredients.
This is because, in the beauty and skincare worlds, the terms sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid are frequently used interchangeably, even though they are technically different things. Their purpose as a skincare ingredient is meant to perform the same purposes
Essentially, two primary factors differentiate sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid – stability and ability to penetrate the skin.
Hyaluronic acid in its salt form, aka sodium hyaluronate, is more stable. Sodium hyaluronate also has a lower molecular weight and size.
In other words, hyaluronic acid has a larger molecular weight and size, which means that it is excellent for hydrating the surface of your skin.
That being said, sodium hyaluronate has a lower molecular weight and size. This allows it to penetrate the skin deeper and more readily, meaning that it can combat the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging from underlying skin layers.
The skin’s nature degrades over time with age and exposure to external environmental factors, such as sun damage and pollution, which can cause the skin to lose its moisture. Sodium hyaluronate’s smaller size allows it to replace the skin’s natural hyaluronic acid content.
As we noted earlier, both of these things are water-soluble, and like hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate binds up to 1000 times its weight in water.
Coupled with its ability to penetrate deeper due to its smaller molecular size, this means that it will last longer in cosmetic formulations.
Like hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate is suitable for all skin types, including those acne-prone skin.
Those with dry skin types could benefit substantially from purchasing skincare products containing sodium hyaluronate due to its ability to retain moisture.
What are the Benefits of Sodium Hyaluronate?
Due to its low molecular weight, hydrating qualities, and ability to penetrate deeper, opting for sodium hyaluronate products has multiple benefits.
Examples of the wonders it can do for your skin include:
Combating Dryness & Repairing the Moisture Barrier
Sodium hyaluronate falls under the category of a humectant, meaning a substance used to retain moisture. In this way, it pulls in water and moisture from the air and helps maintain hydration to keep your skin feeling moisturized.
Aging and external factors can lead to water loss, which we outlined before. Losing moisture content in your skin can lead to adverse consequences, such as wrinkles, dryness, and inflammation. Sodium hyaluronate works to retain hydration and therefore protect the skin barrier.
Reducing the Appearance of Fine Lines and Wrinkles
As we stated above, lack of moisture can cause the skin to dry out and make the fine lines and wrinkles on your face more noticeable. Since it hydrates the skin, sodium hyaluronate improves the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
According to a study published in 2014, products and formulas containing sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid as an ingredient decreased the depth of wrinkles and improved overall skin elasticity.
Reducing Skin Inflammation
On top of its hydrating properties, sodium hyaluronate can also be used to help treat various skin inflammation and skin conditions that cause inflammation.
For example, in a study conducted in 2013, a sodium hyaluronate sodium salt cream reduced rosacea symptoms in adults.
According to the results, the low molecular weight of sodium hyaluronate promoted production of beta-defensin 2, a compound that encourages tissue healing.
Sodium Hyaluronate – A Magical Moisturizing Ingredient
If you have dry skin and need skin hydration or are looking for products that can help reduce inflammation, wrinkles, and other ageing signs, we would highly recommend you use sodium hyaluronate.
While both hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate are considered safe for all skin types, you should still probably perform a patch test just to be safe and observe how your skin reacts to these products’ topical application.
No adverse side effects have been reported, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry when trying new skin care items.
Take your beauty regime to new heights and promote healthy, hydrated, and supple skin with sodium hyaluronate.