Hyaluronic Acid VS Sodium Hyaluronate: Which is better?
Hyaluronic acid is one of the most popular ingredients we see in almost every serum, moisturiser, toner or cleanser! Anyone who craves this ingredient typically has skin that requires extra hydration, faster absorption and a boost of moisture in their skin.
WHERE IS HYALURONIC ACID DERIVED FROM?
In fact, our own bodies naturally produce hyaluronic acid to maintain the moisture levels within our connective tissues, joints, eyes and skin. Lesson number #1: To obtain the hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid that we commonly see in serums or moisturiser, chemists are required to hydrolyse pure hyaluronic acid to break down the HA molecules via a chemical reaction with water first (Journal of Immunology, 2018), due to the reason that HA originally has a large molecular weight that in most cases, is completely unable to permeate into human skin, making it sit on the surface of your skin only without hydrating the deeper layers.
So yes, now you may be more familiar with hyaluronic acid, do you know it’s lesser-known sister ingredient: sodium hyaluronate? Hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate are both famous skincare ingredients that tend to confuse the beauty community, so which one is actually better for your skin?
The conclusion is rather vague, but both ingredients are both beneficial in its own way in different cases, depending on your different skin types.
SO, WHAT'S SO MUCH TO HYPE ABOUT SODIUM HYALURONATE?
When you extract the “sodium salt” out from pure hyaluronic acid, it turns into a more niche topical that is called “sodium hyaluronate”. Note that, this salt form of HA has significantly lower molecular weight than both pure hyaluronic acid and hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid.
Sodium hyaluronate basically does everything that hyaluronic acid does, except that it permeates into your skin a little easier! This form makes it more water soluble, and it has a smaller molecular structure as compared to HA, making it more stable and less susceptible to damage from oxidation (oxidation causes wrinkling, aging and damaging of cells). That also means, sodium hyaluronate tends to sustain longer and can help products last longer due to a slower oxidation process.
"LOCK & STAY!" RICE SERUM KEY ACTIVE INGREDIENTS:
((Aqua, Rice Extract, Grapeseed Extract,
Aloe Vera, Green Tea Extract,
Ceramides, SODIUM HYALURONATE, d-Panthenol))
THE TRUTH ABOUT YOUR INGREDIENT LISTS!
Sodium hyaluronate is perfect for people with sensitive skin in most cases. It is non-comedogenic, so it does not clog your pores but still be able to provide maximum moisturising, hydrating and anti-ageing benefits.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Zoe Reports (2019) stated, if you have ever noticed, although your favourite products (such as the famous “The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5”) may display “hyaluronic acid” on the front packaging of the bottle, you may not find HA in the ingredients list.
What you will find written among the lists is “sodium hyaluronate”, as it is the key active ingredient that is actually working wonders on your skin. (*terms are often used interchangeably between HA and SH)
" The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ingredient list"
ARE THERE ANY PROS AND CONS OF USING HYALURONIC ACID AND SODIUM HYALURONATE? OF COURSE!
ON HYALURONIC ACID
For those using hyaluronic acid religiously, make sure to seal a layer moisturiser after applying any hyaluronic acid serum or essence. As HA requires moisture to work effectively, if it is applied onto dry/dehydrated skin + an environmental condition where humidity is low, it will draw moisture from your skin since the surrounding is dry (The Cut, 2019). The irony.
Hence, that was the reason why some tend to stray away from HA only when used wrongly. If you have hydrated yourself enough, and you live in a high humid climate, then HA can work wonders on your skin!
ON SODIUM HYALURONATE
There are also reports of those who have skin types that cannot comprehend molecular structures that are too small, as it will lead to inflammation easily. That being said, sodium hyaluronate would not be suitable for those of that category, leaning more towards the usage of HA. Those are some precautions that must be highlighted upon testing products containing either one of these two ingredients.
This article is not written to falsely accuse certain brands on using hyaluronic acid on the front packaging as a marketing adjective. This article is written for those who wonder why hyaluronic acid does not work on their skin although it seems to work on EVERYONE ELSE. It could be its (i) larger molecular structure that seems to just sit on the surface of your skin or (ii) your skin type just does not suit that ingredient, typically dry or dehydrated skin.
Yet as mentioned before, most serums now use hydrolysed hyaluronic acid as it is a more broken down form of pure hyaluronic acid that is able to penetrate and hydrate the skin layers more. But, its effect is definitely different than sodium hyaluronate, as sodium hyaluronate is the key ingredient that holds 1000 times its weight in water.
For your interest, here’s an additional discussion on Reddit by a group of skincare junkies who discusses the use of HA and SH in the asian beauty community: Sodium Hyaluronate VS Hyaluronic Acid - Can Someone Clarify?