The Beauty Alphabet: S is for Sodium Hyaluronate

What is Sodium Hyaluronate?

Sodium Hyaluronate (the sodium salt form of hyaluronic acid) is one of the most popular ingredients in the market for its amazing hygroscopic and moisturizing properties.

The structure difference between Sodium Hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid can be seen in a previous post — Popular Cosmetic Ingredients Found on The Google.

Sodium Hyaluronate typically has a lower molecular weight than hyaluronic acid; therefore, it is thought to have better skin penetration when applied topically. It can reach deep into the dermis layer of the skin to mix with, attract, and maintain water. This attribute results in decreased wrinkles (anti-aging) and more youthful looking skin.

Some consumers may mistake hyaluronic acid to be in the same category as AHAs or BHAs, chemical exfoliants, but Sodium Hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid do not fall in those categories despite the word “acid”.

What does Sodium Hyaluronate do?

As we age, our skin loses moisture, becomes dehydrated and dry, resulting in a loss of elasticity and skin firmness. As a direct result, our skin ages — aka we begin to wrinkle.

When Sodium Hyaluronate is applied topically, it penetrates through the skin and helps retain water and hydrates the skin and layers. Your skin then appears more supple with diminished wrinkles.

Sodium Hyaluronate brings water to the lower layers of the skin, whereas hyaluronic acid would bring water to the upper layers of the skin. Therefore, it would be great to use products with both the ingredients for broad spectrum hydration.

Who can use Sodium Hyaluronate?

Those with dry or aging skin would be great candidates for Sodium Hyaluronate containing products. However, Sodium Hyaluronate is safe for ALL skin types and can be used EVERYDAY in your skincare routine — morning or night.

Products Containing Sodium Hyaluronate

  • The Ordinary | Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($6.80 for 30 mL) — Although the product name says Hyaluronic Acid, the IL lists “Sodium Hyaluronate” and “Sodium Hyaluronate crosspolymer”
  • The Plant Base | Waterfall Moist Balanced Hyaluronic Acid 100 ($23.00 for 20 mL) — The only ingredient on the IL is Sodium Hyaluronate. This may be a little misleading since Sodium Hyaluronate is literally a salt, a white powder, whatever you want to call it. For it to be in a liquid or viscous liquid form, there needs to be some sort of water or some sort of vehicle for the Sodium Hyaluronate to hydrate and thicken. I wouldn’t be too concerned about this though, because it claims to have a pH of 6.15 which would be about right for a 1-2% Sodium Hyaluronate solution.
  • COSRX | Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream ($21.00 for 100 mL) — Although the product name says Hyaluronic Acid, the ingredient listed is Sodium Hyaluronate. What I like about this product is that it can provide both hydration and moisturization. It contains arginine which is an amino acid that can protect the skin from free radicals as well as increase hydration and boost collagen production.

If you have oily or combination skin, I would suggest the first two options to provide hydration without the extra emollients. If you have dry or aging skin, I would suggest the COSRX cream as it will provide both hydrating and moisturizing benefits from the Sodium Hyaluronate and emollients.

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