Sodium Hyaluronate For The Skin: A Complete Guide

Written by Ramona Sinha

You just bought a hyaluronic acid serum, and while checking the ingredient list, you find sodium hyaluronate. You check the list from top to bottom but do not find “hyaluronic acid” mentioned anywhere. Is something wrong? Did the brand mislead you? Not really.

The terms sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid are often used interchangeably in the beauty and skincare industry. They do the same thing, but technically, both are different. This article throws light on all that you need to know about sodium hyaluronate for the skin and how it differs from hyaluronic acid.

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 levels from within.

However, hyaluronic acid is a macromolecule and cannot penetrate the skin. It sits on the skin surface 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. As a result, you may notice visible smoothening of fine lines and wrinkles.

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.

Concluding Thoughts

Sodium hyaluronate is extracted from hyaluronic acid and works in a similar way. Its sodium salt can penetrate the skin layers better than hyaluronic acid and keep the skin plump and elastic from within. It is beneficial for all skin types, especially dry and flaky skin. So, the next time you see this ingredient in your product, grab it immediately.

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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