We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a substance that naturally occurs in your body, including your skin and joint fluid.
HA can also be used as a skin care ingredient. In this case, it’s usually sourced from animal tissues or bacterial fermentation. When applied topically, it has a moisturizing and soothing effect.
Sodium hyaluronate is an ingredient that’s extracted from HA. It’s the sodium salt form of HA.
Other names include:
- hyaluronate sodium
- hyaluronic acid sodium
- hyaluronic acid sodium salt
- hyalurone sodium
Like HA, sodium hyaluronate can help your skin look youthful and supple. It also has benefits for joint and eye health.
Sodium hyaluronate is different from HA, though. Read on to learn how it compares to HA, along with its benefits and uses.
Hyaluronic acid has two salt forms: sodium hyaluronate and potassium hyaluronate. As the name suggests, sodium hyaluronate is the sodium salt version.
Sodium hyaluronate is part of HA. It can be extracted and used separately. This is important because it changes how the substance affects the skin.
The difference comes down to molecular weight. Hyaluronic acid has a high molecular weight, which means it’s a macromolecule. The large molecules coat the skin and prevent water loss, leading to better hydration.
Sodium hyaluronate has a low molecular weight. It’s small enough to penetrate the epidermis, or top layer of the skin. In turn, it can improve hydration from the underlying skin layers.
Since sodium hyaluronate is derived from HA, it’s sometimes called “hyaluronic acid.” It may be listed as “hyaluronic acid (as sodium hyaluronate)” on skin care labels.
As a derivative of HA, sodium hyaluronate has similar benefits to HA. It’s been proven to:
Moisturize the skin
Sodium hyaluronate is hydrophilic, meaning it easily mixes with water.
When applied topically, it attracts moisture in skin cells. This reduces dryness and flaking by increasing skin hydration.
Compared to high molecular weight HA, sodium hyaluronate can provide a greater hydrating effect. This is due to its low molecular weight, according to a 2019 report.
Reduce appearance of wrinkles
Dry skin makes fine lines and creases more noticeable. But as sodium hyaluronate hydrates the skin, it improves the appearance of wrinkles.
In a 2014 study, formulas with sodium hyaluronate decreased wrinkle depth and improved elasticity. The researchers linked this effect to the hydrating properties of HA.
Reduce skin inflammation
Sodium hyaluronate can also soothe skin inflammation.
In a 2013 study, an HA sodium salt cream reduced symptoms of rosacea in adults. Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that causes redness, burning, and bumps.
According to the study, low molecular weight HA promotes the production of beta-defensin 2 (DEFβ2,) a compound that promotes tissue healing. It also controls the activity of inflammatory cells.
Similarly, in a 2014 study, HA sodium salt gel improved an inflammatory skin disorder called seborrheic dermatitis.
In a 2017 case report, HA sodium salt gel helped heal a recurring skin ulcer. According to the researchers, this was due to HA’s ability to promote cell multiplication and tissue repair.
The rise in DEFβ2 also played a role. DEFβ2 has antimicrobial effects, which protects wounds from infection.
These properties, combined with the anti-inflammatory activity of sodium hyaluronate, can help support proper wound healing.
Beyond skin care, sodium hyaluronate has other medical benefits.
As mentioned earlier, it’s naturally found in joint fluid and cartilage. However, in osteoarthritis, levels of sodium hyaluronate in the joints become low.
If you have osteoarthritis in the knee, an injection of sodium hyaluronate can help. The treatment is directly injected in the knee, which decreases pain in the area.
Sodium hyaluronate is also an ophthalmic viscosurgical device (OVD).
As an OVD, sodium hyaluronate protects the eye and creates space for surgery. It’s useful in procedures like:
Dry eye syndrome
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and moisturizing effects, sodium hyaluronate can soothe dry eyes.
It may reduce symptoms like:
When used as a nasal spray, sodium hyaluronate can relieve symptoms of rhinitis. This condition occurs when the inside of your nose becomes inflamed.
The spray may help:
- nasal congestion
- runny nose
Sodium hyaluronate, as well as HA, are considered safe. It’s rarely associated with side effects when applied topically.
It’s also safe to use sodium hyaluronate when pregnant or breastfeeding.
Still, it’s possible to be sensitive to any ingredient. If sodium hyaluronate makes your skin irritated or red, stop using it immediately.
Sodium hyaluronate is available in many forms:
Sodium hyaluronate injection
A sodium hyaluronate injection is used to treat osteoarthritis knee pain. It’s given by a medical provider in a clinical setting.
Sodium hyaluronate eye drops
Eye drops are used to treat dry eyes. They’re also called artificial tears.
The drops, which are available at drugstores, can be used at home. You place the drops directly in your eyes.
Sodium hyaluronate nasal spray
This is a liquid that contains sodium hyaluronate. It comes in a bottle with a spray attachment, which you use to mist the liquid into your nostril.
Like eye drops, nasal sprays are available at drugstores.
Sodium hyaluronate face wash
A face wash with sodium hyaluronate can help hydrate your skin while removing makeup, dirt, and excess oil. The product is applied to wet skin, then rinsed off.
Sodium hyaluronate serum
A serum is a product with a high concentration of beneficial ingredients. To use it, you spread the formula on your face after cleansing.
Sodium hyaluronate lotion
Sodium hyaluronate is available as a lotion or cream, which is applied directly on your skin. It may be formulated for your face, body, or both.
You can also buy sodium hyaluronate cream for undereye skin.
Sodium hyaluronate gel
The ingredient also comes in gel form. You spread the gel on your skin until it’s absorbed.
If you’d like to make your skin more supple and hydrated, consider using sodium hyaluronate. This ingredient is a form of hyaluronic acid that can enter the deep layers of your skin. Here, it attracts moisture and reduces inflammation.
When applied topically, sodium hyaluronate is excellent for reducing dryness and wrinkles. You can find it in products like serums, eye creams, and facial cleansers.