Lesser known facts about the battle between hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate
Despite widespread popularity of skincare products, a lot of people are still in the dark when it comes to differentiating the ingredients- hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate. While the acid is a macromolecule, the other component is a micro one that can penetrate deep within the skin layers. This is specifically, the state of hyaluronic acid, which is not traced inside human bodies. Only after a certain chemical reaction happens between the acid and sodium hydroxide, the substance called sodium hyaluronate is formed.
Getting inside the ingredient
This salt is a glycosaminoglycan, which can be found in a number of epithelial, neural and connective tissues. If seen from the chemical makeup point of view, it’s a long chain polymer found on the corneal endothelium. In the polyanionic form, the name is hyaluronan, which is a visco-elastic polymer located inside the vitreous and aqueous humour.
The component can be found in different molecular weights, where the costs vary. There are two factors in this regard-
First, if the molecular weight is low, the chances of hyaluronic aid penetrating the dermis layer are more
Second, the price is higher fort the low molecular weight. Also, the moisturizing ability is reduced. So, his version of sodium hylauronate is often used in combination with high molecular weight of the ingredient.
Ideally, sodium hyaluronate is best known for its ‘hydrating miracle’ role. Most topical creams, lotions, makeup products make a thin film or layer over the skin such that trans-dermal water loss is prevented. Aside that, there are few basic functions of sodium hyaluronate, like:
Moisturizing (increasing water content of the skin to retain the softness and suppleness)
Humectant (absorption and retention of moisture)
Compatible to the skin, and
Anti-ageing properties (like wrinkle prevention, stimulation of skin repair
The fuss between hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate
The acid occurs naturally and is widely distributed throughout our bodies. Whether it’s the skin, cartilage, synovial fluid and so on, the reason why we have our basic hydrating properties intact is largely because of the cellular balance via hyaluronic acid. With ageing however, the decrease in collagen and elastin results in fine line, wrinkles, flaking, rough patches, pigmentation, sagging, dehydrated skin and so on.
Most women and even men opt for injections and fillers, so as to plump up their skin, hold water and help make the face appear fuller and voluptuous. However, the problem lies in the absorption pattern, as topical creams containing hyaluronic acid prove worthless. This is where sodium hyaluronate steps in. With its much lower molecular size, the penetration capacity is higher and naturally that’s a boon when topical creams, serums, lotions rich in the product is applied. One might marvel learning that sodium hyaluronate can hold more than 1000 times its weight of water. So besides hydrating the skin, it also prevents water loss. The slight selling that occurs right after the injection or cream application works wonders for reducing fine line and wrinkles.
Other uses of sodium hyaluronate
While most of us are confined to the knowledge that sodium hyaluronate is best used for skin benefits, there are other uses that deserves a mention too.
In the form of intra-articular injections, patients suffering from acute knee pain or sever form of osteoarthritis can recover. The moment it’s injected in the joint capsule, the work is that of a lubricant and also a shock absorber. There is not one, but a series of injections that can be applied to the knee, which increases the viscosity of synovial fluid. For patients who want to make the last attempt before their surgery, the use of this ingredient might even do away the requirement of joint replacement.
Another form called intraocular visco-elastic injection is best meant as surgical aids for eyeball related cases like corneal transplant, intraocular lens implantation, cataract extraction, retina attachment surgery and many more.
In addition to these, injections of this ingredient reduce wrinkles too, meant for plastic surgery.
The next time you go to the market to purchase a topical cream rich in sodium hyaluronate, remember that you visit your doctor once before the purchase. After all, an expert can best determine the use of any product.