- Sodium hyaluronate is the salt form of hyaluronic acid, which makes it water-soluble and allows it to penetrate the skin deeper.
- Sodium hyaluronate is commonly used to improve skin firmness, smooth wrinkles, and hydrate skin.
- It comes in multiple forms, including serums, moisturizers, powders, and oral supplements, and it’s safe to use for most skin types.
Hyaluronic acid is one of the most popular ingredients in the cosmetic industry today, offering powerful absorption and hydration properties.
Sodium hyaluronate, on the other hand, is the salt form of hyaluronic acid, and though they’re often referred to interchangeably, there are differences between the two that can make sodium hyaluronate more effective in some cases.
What Is Sodium Hyaluronate?
Sodium hyaluronate is a sodium salt that’s been synthesized by scientists to be stable and resistant to oxidation. It’s a water-binding ingredient that allows for improved hydration.
Skin care uses
It’s often used in cosmetic products to help the skin absorb and retain more moisture, which can create a plumping effect that results in smooth, supple skin.
Sodium hyaluronate is typically added to moisturizing serums, creams, and lotions, allowing the skin to more easily absorb the hydrating benefits of the product.
In addition to being a popular ingredient in skin care products, sodium hyaluronate is also used in numerous other products, too:
- Eye drops to prevent dryness
- Joint injections to act as a shock absorber between joints with low cartilage or in those with osteoarthritis
- Treatment to coat the bladder lining when treating conditions like interstitial cystitis.
What’s the Difference Between Sodium Hyaluronate and Hyaluronic Acid?
Sodium hyaluronate is the sodium salt form of hyaluronic acid. This form makes it more water soluble, allowing it to penetrate deeper into the skin. Because it’s synthesized to have a smaller molecular structure, it’s also more stable and less susceptible to damage from oxidation. This can help the product last longer.
Both hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate are used for the same skin care purposes, primarily its hydrating, plumping, and antiaging benefits.
Sodium Hyaluronate Skin Care Benefits
Sodium hyaluronate has multiple skin care benefits that can result in healthier, glowing skin and an improved complexion.
Improves firmness of skin
When sodium hyaluronate is applied directly to the skin, its water-binding properties allow it to sink deeply into the skin between connective tissues to better absorb and retain moisture. As a result, the skin will look and feel firmer to the touch, offering a smooth, youthful complexion.
Smooths wrinkles and fine lines
As the hydration penetrates deeply into the skin and results in a firmer appearance, the skin becomes plumper. This reduces the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles, and moisturized skin can help prevent further wrinkles from developing.
Hydrates Skin Without Clogging Pores
Sodium hyaluronate is gentle, so it offers hydration without irritating sensitive skin in most cases. It’s also non-comedogenic, meaning that it can offer significant hydration and moisturization benefits without clogging pores, unlike a large number of other products on the market.
A word about acne
Many people with acne-prone skin need to be particularly careful with the products they use to prevent breakouts or irritation. Sodium hyaluronate is particularly gentle, and since it won’t clog pores, it won’t result in additional breakouts.
Having moisturized skin can even help prevent breakouts. When the skin is too dry, it may overproduce oil in attempt to rectify the problem, resulting in more breakouts. Using sodium hyaluronate with a gentle, non-comedogenic moisturizer can keep your skin properly hydrated.
Skin care uses and complementary ingredients
Sodium hyaluronate is often found in serums, moisturizers, and creams. These can be applied directly to the skin, and it’s not uncommon to find products created specifically for either facial use or full-body use.
In some cases, you may find serums that have sodium hyaluronate as the primary ingredient. In others, complementary ingredients may be used to strengthen its potential or offer additional benefits.
Common complementary ingredients may include:
- Vitamin C, which can promote skin healing
- Vitamin E, which may help repair damage caused by UV rays
- Vitamin A, for antiaging purposes
- Collagen, which also has water-binding properties to improve skin firmness
- Glycerin, which is effective for smoothing and moisturizing skin
Powder form & oral supplements
Sodium hyaluronate can be purchased in powder form. You can use this to create an at-home, pure form of hyaluronic acid and apply it to your skin, or add it to food or beverages to consume it directly. This can be used to improve complexion, hydrate the skin, and possibly treat joint pain, though topical application on the skin and injections for the joints can be more effective.
Sodium Hyaluronate Safety and Side Effects
Sodium hyaluronate is gentle and safe for most people to use, though you should always use it as directed; only food-grade sodium hyaluronate is safe for consumption.
It’s recommended to apply sodium hyaluronate to a small test patch of skin before using for a full facial to ensure that there is no irritation or allergic reaction. While a feeling of slight tightness is normal immediately after application, it should not be uncomfortable.
Irritation can include redness, bumps, itchiness, or discomfort.
In cases of an allergic reaction, you may experience hives, severe itching, or swelling of eyes, face, lips, and tongue.
Only those over 21 years old should use products containing sodium hyaluronate, and it should not be used by those who are pregnant or nursing.
Skin type profile
Sodium hyaluronate will often work best for people with dry, normal, oily, and combination skin types. Those with acne-prone skin may benefit from it, but it’s important to test it out first to ensure it doesn’t worsen breakouts instead of helping them. People with sensitive skin can use sodium hyaluronate as its gentle, but should also do test it first.
Before you start using sodium hyaluronate, discuss it with your dermatologist to see if it’s right for you. This is particularly important if you’re already using topical treatments they’ve prescribed for you.
Sodium hyaluronate is the synthesized, salt form of hyaluronic acid, and the two offer many of the same benefits. Its abilities to promote moisture absorption and retention, hydrate the skin, promote firmness, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles can result in a smooth, glowing complexion.
Though you’ll typically find sodium hyaluronate in creams, serums, and moisturizers, they can be found in powder form and in oral supplements, though topical application is most effective.
If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, talk to your dermatologist before adding hyaluronic acid to your regimen, especially if you’re on topical prescription medications.
- Jegasothy, M., Zabolontniaia, V., Bielfeldt, S. (2014). Efficacy of a new topical Nano-hyaluronic acid in humans. Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3970829/
- Kawada, C., Yoshida, T., Yoshida, H., Matsuoka, R., Sakamoto, W., Odanaka, W., Sato, T., Yamasaki, T., Kanemitsu, T., Masuda, Y., Urushibata, O. (2014). Ingested hyaluronan moisturizes dry skin. Nutrition Journal. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4110621/
- Papakonstantinou, E., Roth, M., Karakiulakis, G. (2012). Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. DermatoEndocrinology. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583886/
- Salk, RS., Chang, TJ., D’Costa, WF., Soomekh, DJ., Grogan, KA. (2006). Sodium hyaluronate in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the ankle: a controlled, randomized, doulbe-blind pilot study. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16452740