4 Benefits Of Sodium Hyaluronate For The Skin & How To Use It

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Surbhi Mahajan, MBBS, MD (Dermatology)
Written by Ramona Sinha, Certified Skin Care Coach

There are various advantages of using sodium hyaluronate for the skin. However, is it the same as hyaluronic acid? Imagine you have just purchased a hyaluronic acid serum and discovered sodium hyaluronate in the ingredient list. You go through the ingredient list but don’t see hyaluronic acid listed anywhere. Is there a problem? Has the brand fooled you? Not at all.

The terms hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate are frequently interchanged in the skin care and beauty sector. They both do the same thing, although they are technically different. This article explains everything you need to know about sodium hyaluronate and how it varies from hyaluronic acid in terms of skin care. Keep reading!

What Is Sodium Hyaluronate?

Sodium hyaluronate is one of the salts of hyaluronic acid (the other is potassium hyaluronate). It is water-soluble and derived from hyaluronic acid. Just like hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate has the power to bind 1000 times its weight in water.

Hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in your body and is mainly found in your skin, eyes, and connective tissues. Its primary function is to help retain water to keep the tissues and cells lubricated. This is one reason hyaluronic acid is widely used in skin care products. Let’s take a quick look at this ingredient.

                                      Sodium Hyaluronate At A Glance

What Is It
A humectant (a salt of HA)
The Benefits
Prevents dryness and improves skin hydration and elasticity
Suitable For
All skin types, especially dry and flaky skin
Frequency Of Usage
Twice daily – morning and night
Works Well With
Any moisturizer
Avoid Using With
It goes well with all ingredients, including retinol, AHAs and BHAs, and vitamin C

If it is beneficial for the skin, why is sodium hyaluronate more widely used than hyaluronic acid? This is because of the difference discussed below.

Sodium Hyaluronate Vs. Hyaluronic Acid: Understanding The Differences

The molecular weight of sodium hyaluronate is lower than that of hyaluronic acid. That is why it can easily penetrate the epidermis (the skin’s top layer) and improve the skin hydration by pumping more water into the skin.

However, hyaluronic acid is a macromolecule and cannot penetrate the skin. It sits on the skin surface. It forms a protective layer and minimizes water loss to help retain skin moisture.

Moreover, sodium hyaluronate is often engineered and extracted in laboratories. As a result, scientists can increase its stability and minimize the chances of oxidization. These are the reasons sodium hyaluronate is a widely preferred ingredient.

Sodium hyaluronate is often labeled as hyaluronic acid in skin care products. This ingredient is not studied separately. However, as it is derived from hyaluronic acid, it has similar properties and benefits your skin just like HA. Let’s take a look.

Benefits Of Sodium Hyaluronate For Skin

1. May Improve The Signs Of Aging

Loss of moisture is one of the key reasons for skin aging. With age, the levels of naturally occurring hyaluronic acid in your skin may decline. As a result, you may develop wrinkles and fine lines (1). Applying products with sodium hyaluronate can help replenish moisture loss. It penetrates the skin layers and keeps them hydrated and plump. However, you cannot rely on HA alone for anti-aging. You need to team it up with retinoids and peptides for the best results.

2. Minimizes Dry Skin

Sodium hyaluronate is a powerful humectant. It is water-soluble and attracts moisture to your skin cells and hydrates the skin’s deep layers. This is especially helpful in dealing with dry and flaky skin.

3. Soothes Inflammation

Applying 0.2% sodium hyaluronate can soothe skin inflammation caused by conditions like rosacea. It can soothe symptoms like erythema (dryness), burning, and stinging sensation (2). It may also be helpful in soothing other inflammatory skin conditions like eczema.

4. May Heal Wounds

A study found that 0.2% sodium hyaluronate gel could heal wounds caused by venous leg ulcers in just four weeks (3). However, studies are extremely limited on the clinical use of HA for wound healing. If you are wondering about the safety concerns related to this ingredient, check out the next section.

Side Effects Of Sodium Hyaluronate

Hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate are extremely mild and safe for topical use. Sodium hyaluronate suits sensitive skin and is considered safe for pregnant and lactating women (only for topical use).

However, a product may contain multiple ingredients in addition to sodium hyaluronate. Hence, it is better to consult a dermatologist and do a patch test to avoid an adverse reaction. In case you are allergic to hyaluronic acid and its salt, you may experience side effects like:

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Rashes

Here are a few ways you can use it on your skin.

How To Use Sodium Hyaluronate For Skin

Sodium hyaluronate is commonly found in serums, creams, emulsions, lotions, and gels. If you are using a serum, always apply it after the toner and layer it with emulsions, creams, and other products. However, if you are using creams, gels, and lotions, make sure to apply the product to damp skin for better penetration.

Note: HA alone might not be enough for extremely dehydrated skin, especially in low humidity conditions. It can paradoxically suck water from the deep layers of the skin. In such cases, use a cream with HA instead of serums.

Key Takeaways

  • Sodium hyaluronate is a hyaluronic acid salt and is water-soluble.
  • It may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, minimize dry skin, calm inflammation, and heal wounds.
  • It is commonly found in serums, creams, emulsions, lotions, and gels.
  • If you are allergic to hyaluronic acid or its salts, you may feel itching, redness, and rashes.

Sodium hyaluronate is derived from hyaluronic acid and functions similarly to the element. However, sodium salt penetrates deeper into the skin layers than hyaluronic acid, keeping the skin supple and plump from the inside out. It is good for all skin types, especially dry and flaky ones. Sodium hyaluronate is a great way to reduce dryness and wrinkles when applied topically. It is found in serums, eye creams, and facial cleansers, among other things. So, the next time this ingredient appears in your product, grab it right away. In addition to sodium hyaluronate, a product may contain other components. As a result, it is preferable to consult a dermatologist and do a patch test to avoid an unfavorable reaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you mix sodium hyaluronate with retinol?

Yes, you can mix retinol and hyaluronic acid and use them on your skin.

Should you apply sodium hyaluronate after the moisturizer?

It is best to use it before the moisturizer. Skincare products should be layered as per consistency. Since the moisturizer has a thicker consistency, it should go on top to lock in all the ingredients.


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  1. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging.
  2. Efficacy and Tolerability of Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid Sodium Salt 0.2% Cream in Rosacea
  3. Hyaluronic Acid Sodium Salt 0.2% Gel in the Treatment of a Recalcitrant Distal Leg Ulcer
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Dr. Surbhi Mahajan

(MBBS, MD (Dermatology))
Dr. Surbhi is a dermatologist by profession and a skincare blogger and counselor by passion. After a few months into... more