Skincare Ingredient Spotlight: Sodium Hyaluronate

What is it?

Sodium hyaluronate is a salt derived from hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is known to have a large molecular weight, and therefore when it is applied to the skin it does not penetrate the skin. Sodium hyaluronate is smaller in molecular weight than hyaluronic acid, and as it is in salt form it is more stable and better for skin compatibility, helping to make it an effective moisturiser by enabling it to hold a large quantity of water. 

Different molecular weights of sodium hyaluronate are available and are used by cosmetic brands – it depends on the efficiency wanted, performance, marketing: low, medium, high.

In Lucy Bee products, we use a medium molecular weight.

If we consider a simple formula base with only sodium hyaluronate as the main active:

  • The lower the molecular weight, the more penetration of sodium hyaluronate through the epidermis. It means that a low molecular weight deeply hydrates over time, it takes the form of the skin's smaller molecules so that it can penetrate deeper into the epidermis and stimulate the body's natural production of hyaluronic acid – commonly used for anti-ageing skin care.
  • The higher the molecular weight, the less penetration of sodium hyaluronate through the skin. It means that the key area of moisturisation will be on the top of the skin, it remains on the surface of the epidermis and creates a protective film that retains the water in the skin cells – really good to have an ‘immediate’ moisturising effect.
  • Medium molecular weight: mixed performance with low and high molecular weight! Hence it can cover ‘more’ areas of hydration within the epidermis!

Hyaluronic acid is found in our joints and eyes, and it is also found in the skin, and can attract and hold up to 1,000 times it’s own weight in water. This means that it holds onto the water and helps plump the skin. Around 50% of our body’s total hyaluronic acid is found in the dermis. Hyaluronic acid is also found in the epidermis and is synthesised by fibroblasts and keratinocytes.  This is what happens when we apply sodium hyaluronate in cosmetic products to our skin, it penetrates deep into the skin and holds water, again up to 1,000 times its own weight. Sodium hyaluronate is a humectant which means that it works by hydrating the skin, pulling moisture from the environment and hydrating the skin. Hyaluronic acid is one of the components called a Natural Moisturising Factor (NMF) of the body, which helps to keep adequate hydration of the outermost part of the epidermis (the top layer of the skin).

The use of sodium hyaluronate in skincare is that it is less susceptible to oxidation, and therefore is more stable.

Interestingly, all hyaluronic acid serums that you find on the market will usually contain sodium hyaluronate as the key active ingredient, as this is the ingredient that can penetrate the skin.


How does it help my skin?

As mentioned above, the ability to attract and hold that much waters means that it:

  • Moisturises and hydrates the skin
  • Keeps cells hydrated and plump

We have our own hyaluronic acid supply in our system, however, as we age levels decrease, which can make our skin drier and more prone to wrinkling. By using sodium hyaluronate it:

  • Gives volume back to the skin
  • Leaves the skin feeling plump
  • Reduces the look of wrinkles
  • Helps to leave the skin looking younger

    Which Lucy Bee products use it?

    You can find it in our:

    • Lucy Bee Reviving Cleansing Cream
    • Lucy Bee AHA Dazzling Tonic
    • Lucy Bee Radiance-Boosting Face Cream


    Is it suitable for my skin type?

    In short the answer is, yes! It is suitable for all ages and skin types; it is especially helpful with those with dehydrated skin. There is no greasy feeling after use, and is not known to be irritating, and is usually well tolerated by those with sensitive skin. However, as always, if you do have sensitive skin or you are unsure, carry out a patch test.

    If there is too high of a concentration of hyaluronic acid it can make the product sticky. Hyaluronic acid is effective at low levels, which allows us to avoid the products being sticky.

    One thing to note with hyaluronic acid products,  is that in dry conditions with low humidity, it will try and pull moisture from wherever it can, this means that if it can’t get it from the air, it will pull it from the deeper layers of the skin. This in turn can leave your skin drier than it was originally. So, it’s important to seal it with a moisturiser or an oil.

    Hyaluronic acid = one of the key ingredients of the cosmetic industry, it is very well-known and efficient ingredient and has been used for a very long time in the industry!


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    Lucy Bee is a lifestyle brand selling food, skincare and soap products all completely free from palm oil and with minimal use of plastic. Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, organic, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and empowering people to make informed choices and select quality, natural products for their food and their skin

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