Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, esthetician or scientist. Just a fellow skincare nerd that loves to learn.
Today I want to talk a little about Hyaluronic Acid and Sodium Hyaluronate. Our bodies naturally create Hyaluronic acid. It's a polysaccharide used in our hair, skin, eyes and joints. You see it in a lot of beauty products, why? Because it's a humectant that binds water molecules to it. So it's in a lot of face masks and moisturizers. Something you may not know though, is that pure Hyaluronic Acid can't be absorbed through the skin. It can only be injected.
Which is why your beauty products contain Sodium Hyaluronate(which is the salt form of Hyaluronic Acid) Sodium Hyaluronate is what's used in most products. SH is processed into different molecular weights with hydrolysis. Sometimes you'll see the ingredient hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, it's Sodium Hyaluronate with a fancy name. There's a lot of studies and beauty companies out there that say a lower molecular weight(LMW) is better because it can penetrate the skin. But I have read some studies saying the opposite. This article at BareFacedTruth.com states that a LMW actually causes an inflammatory response in the skin whereas a high molecular weight(HMW) has better moisturizing and healing properties.
Look out for products that claim percentages in their stuff. For example, if you saw a serum that claimed it was comprised of 99% Hyaluronic Acid, that wouldn't make any sense because at 99% it would be a powder. Another thing, the industry standard percentage is 2%. Any higher and it would dry out your skin.
You can buy your own on Amazon for cheap. They will say "Hyaluronic Acid" but it's sodium hyaluronate. Just be on the lookout for the ingredients. Usually there's the sodium hyaluronate, a preservative and water, but watch out for fillers and ask what the weight is. A lower molecular weight usually goes for more. (I prefer the higher weight after reading that article I linked to above)
After cleansing, put it on your skin and let it absorb for about 10-15 minutes. Then put your moisturizer on.
- Sodium Hyaluronate is the powdery salt form of Hyaluronic Acid after it's gone through hydrolysis.
- You can buy your own on Amazon for cheap. Just make sure it's only got the sodium hyaluronate, water and a preservative if you want a "pure" version (I haven't seen one without a preservative)
- Look out for serums or moisturizers claiming 99% Hyaluronic Acid content, this would only make sense if it was being sold in powder form.
- A high molecular weight is considered better for healing according to this article