Hyaluronic Acid vs. Sodium hyaluronate: what no one tells you about your anti aging face cream...

Have you ever wondered how much truth there is in advertisements promoting hyaluronic acid in your anti aging face cream as the anti-wrinkle ingredient of the moment? Also, pay attention, if you consult the INCI of the aforementioned face cream you will never find hyaluronic acid written, but hyaluronate sodium!

So how much truth is there in these advertising claims? Let's find out together...

Continuing the in-depth study of the INCI that we started in the blog post " INCI products: What is it? How do you read it? What does it tell us about the product? " for clarity on misleading advertising claims that speak of the miraculous effects of your hyaluronic acid-based anti-aging face cream .

It is normal to feel confused when the miraculous action of hyaluronic acid is praised in the claim and then find sodium hyaluronate instead of hyaluronic acid in the INCI.

Sodium hyaluronate vs. Hyaluronic acid: what does your anti aging face cream contain?

hyaluronic acid anti aging face cream

The first question you need to ask yourself to understand what your anti-aging face cream contains is:

Can hyaluronic acid penetrate the skin?

Hyaluronic acid is a substance (macromolecule) naturally produced by our body with the aim of hydrating and protecting tissues. It can only be detected within living organisms.

If you want to learn more about what hyaluronic acid is, what its function is and what its uses are, I invite you to read the dedicated blog post " Does Hyaluronic Acid really have a natural anti-wrinkle action? ".

Having such a large molecule, it penetrates very little and very slowly. In fact, it is possible to "restore" the level of hyaluronic acid in the skin ONLY by injecting it and placing it in the skin dermis to stimulate the activity of fibroblasts.

Therefore, in cosmetology, for a question of solubility, it is necessary either to salify the hyaluronic acid so that it is soluble in water, or to depolymerize it .

In a nutshell , hyaluronic acid as it is is NEVER used in cosmetics both for a matter of solubility and because the barrier action carried out by the stratum corneum of the skin does not allow the macromolecules to penetrate.

Consequently, in all the cosmetics that praise the miraculous properties of hyaluronic acid , if you stop and read the INCI, you will never find "HYALURONIC ACID", but:

- sodium hyaluronate (INCI: SODIUM HYALURONATE) at various molecular weights i.e. hyaluronic acid in salified form , or

- low molecular weight hyaluronic acid (INCI: HYDROLYZED HYALURONIC ACID),

substances that have their own specific role with different results, but which are NOT the same thing as hyaluronic acid.

Sodium hyaluronate

sodium hyaluronate hyaluronic acid

it is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid and cannot be found as such in the human body. It is obtained through the chemical reaction between hyaluronic acid and sodium hydroxide.

It is used in cosmetics for its film-forming effect as it forms a film on the surface of the skin which prevents the loss of transdermal water.

It has properties:

  • humectants (absorbs and retains moisture),
  • moisturizers (increases the water content of the skin and keeps it soft and smooth),
  • anti aging (it also stimulates skin repair),
  • healing and is
  • skin compatible .

You can find it as an ingredient both in Beautilicious Delights face creams and in the hair spray for its excellent moisturizing properties since it is able both to effectively retain water molecules and to keep skin and hair soft and supple.

It is available in various molecular weights, with very different costs.

  • The lower the molecular weight, the more likely the molecules will pass through the stratum corneum.
  • The lower the molecular weight, the more expensive and less hydrated, and that is why it is usually used in synergy with high molecular weight sodium hyaluronate.

It is a much cheaper cosmetic ingredient than hyaluronic acid, which is never used as it is in the cosmetic industry.

READ ALSO: Moisturizing or Nourishing Cream for Dry, Dehydrated Skin?

Hydrolysed hyaluronic acid

it is obtained through the hydrolysis of hyaluronic acid, again using plant-derived biotechnologies.

Being of low molecular weight , it does not need to be salified, as it has a high solubility and is able to penetrate the stratum corneum by stimulating the synthesis of collagen and keeping the skin hydrated, with greater skin compactness and elasticity.

Concentrations of hyaluronic acid in cosmetics: watch out for advertising claims

We often read on the net, advertising claims of cosmetics that contain 25%, 50% or even 75% of hyaluronic acid.

Considering that the 1% sodium hyaluronate solution is a thick and viscous gel, at only 8% concentration it turns out to be a solid pudding, while at 20% it cannot even be dispersed to form a gel, how could a cosmetic ever contain 50 % or 75% hyaluronic acid?

Not only is the advertising claim misleading when speaking of hyaluronic acid, when, as we have ascertained above, pure hyaluronic acid is not, and in addition it also indicates percentages that do not reflect the true concentration. You sum up and evaluate the correctness and transparency of the companies that make use of these advertising claims.

I hope that, even in a small way, this blog post will help you to look at "hyaluronic acid-based" cosmetics with different eyes and with greater awareness. And you? Have you ever noticed any misleading advertising claims? Do you want to share it with us?

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Hi, i just watched your YouTube video on how to make hyaluronic acid serum. Can you please tell me what preservative you used and how much? Thank you and thanks for the lovely videos!


Thank you Edelmira! I am glad you enjoyed the blog post and that you have found it useful. Sending you my love <3


Your insights are powerful tools that we can use in our daily care, I am deeply grateful and hope that I can acquire your products soon. Thanks

edelmira ruiz

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