What is the Difference Between Sodium Hyaluronate and Hyaluronic Acid

Sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid are two closely related compounds renowned for their remarkable skincare and medical applications. These compounds, often interchangeably referred to as “hyaluronic acid,” play crucial roles in maintaining skin hydration, joint health, wound healing, and ocular health.

What is the difference between sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid? Hyaluronic acid has a larger molecular size, while sodium hyaluronate is smaller.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Sodium Hyaluronate 
      – Definition, Features, Applications
2. What is Hyaluronic Acid
      – Definition, Features, Applications 
3. Similarities Between Sodium Hyaluronate and Hyaluronic Acid
      – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Sodium Hyaluronate and Hyaluronic Acid
      – Comparison of Key Differences
5. FAQ: Sodium Hyaluronate and Hyaluronic Acid
      – Frequently Asked Questions

Key Terms

Sodium Hyaluronate, HA, Hyaluronic Acid

Difference Between Sodium Hyaluronate and Hyaluronic Acid - Comparison Summary

What is Sodium Hyaluronate

Sodium hyaluronate is a naturally occurring substance found in the human body, particularly in connective tissues, skin, and eyes. It plays a crucial role in maintaining hydration, lubrication, and elasticity in tissues. With its unique ability to retain water, sodium hyaluronate is widely utilized in various industries, including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare.

In skincare, sodium hyaluronate is a popular ingredient due to its hydrating properties. It is often incorporated into moisturizers, serums, and masks to help improve skin hydration, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and promote a plump, youthful complexion. Its ability to hold up to 1000 times its weight in water makes it an effective humectant, drawing moisture from the environment into the skin.

Sodium Hyaluronate

In ophthalmology, sodium hyaluronate is used in eye drops to relieve dryness and discomfort caused by conditions such as dry eye syndrome. Its lubricating properties help soothe irritation and improve ocular comfort, making it a staple in eye care products.

Furthermore, sodium hyaluronate has applications in orthopedics and joint health. It is commonly injected into joints to provide lubrication and cushioning, offering relief for conditions like osteoarthritis.

In the pharmaceutical industry, sodium hyaluronate is also utilized in drug delivery systems and wound healing formulations. Its biocompatibility and ability to promote tissue regeneration make it a valuable component in various medical products.

What is Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid, often referred to as HA, is a naturally occurring substance found in the human body, particularly in connective tissues, joints, and skin. Its primary function is to retain water, providing hydration and lubrication to tissues.

In skincare, hyaluronic acid has gained widespread popularity for its ability to hold moisture. Due to its unique molecular structure, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, making it an excellent hydrating agent for the skin. As we age, the natural production of hyaluronic acid decreases, leading to drier, less elastic skin. Incorporating hyaluronic acid into skincare routines helps replenish moisture levels, resulting in plumper, more youthful-looking skin.

Hyaluronic Acid

One of the key benefits of hyaluronic acid is its versatility. It is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin, as it is lightweight and non-comedogenic. Additionally, it can be used in conjunction with other skincare ingredients without causing irritation, making it a popular choice for formulators and consumers alike.

Aside from its hydrating properties, hyaluronic acid also plays a crucial role in wound healing and tissue repair. Its presence in the skin helps maintain its structural integrity and promotes faster healing of wounds and injuries.

Beyond skincare, hyaluronic acid has medical applications as well. It is used in joint injections to alleviate pain and improve mobility in conditions such as osteoarthritis. In ophthalmology, it is used during eye surgeries and to treat dry eye syndrome.

Similarities Between Sodium Hyaluronate and Hyaluronic Acid

  1. Both sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid are polysaccharides composed of repeating units of D-glucuronic acid and N-acetylglucosamine.
  2. They are commonly used in skincare and pharmaceutical products for their hydrating and anti-aging benefits.
  3. Both compounds naturally occur in the human body.

Difference Between Sodium Hyaluronate and Hyaluronic Acid


Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide present in the extracellular matrix of connective tissues, while sodium hyaluronate is the sodium salt form of hyaluronic acid.

Molecular Weight

Moreover, sodium hyaluronate typically has a lower molecular weight compared to hyaluronic acid.


Sodium hyaluronate is commonly used in topical skincare products, while hyaluronic acid is used in various medical procedures, such as joint injections or eye surgeries.


While both sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid share similarities as hydrating agents crucial for skin health, they differ in molecular size and applications. Sodium hyaluronate, the salt form of hyaluronic acid, boasts smaller molecules and finds extensive use in skincare due to its hydrating prowess. Conversely, hyaluronic acid, with larger molecules, excels in medical procedures such as joint injections and eye surgeries. Despite their distinctions, both compounds play vital roles in maintaining tissue hydration, lubrication, and elasticity.

FAQ: Sodium Hyaluronate and Hyaluronic Acid

1. Who should not use hyaluronic acid on the face?

If you are undergoing radiation therapy, avoid using hyaluronic acid on your face. Radiation therapy can cause skin irritation, sensitivity, and inflammation, and hyaluronic acid may exacerbate these effects or interfere with the treatment process.

2. What is the disadvantage of hyaluronic acid for the skin?

In very dry environments, hyaluronic acid may pull moisture from the skin instead of the air if there isn’t enough humidity. This can lead to increased dryness rather than hydration.

3. Does sodium hyaluronate clog pores?

Sodium hyaluronate typically does not clog pores. Due to its lightweight and non-comedogenic nature, it is generally well-tolerated by most skin types, including oily or acne-prone skin. This makes it a popular ingredient in skincare products.

4. Is vitamin C or hyaluronic acid better?

Vitamin C serum is effective in addressing skin concerns like hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and acne scars. It helps even out skin tone. Hyaluronic Acid serum primarily focuses on hydration and moisturization.

5. Which skin type suits hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is suitable for almost all skin types and can be easily incorporated into your regular skincare routine as it works well with most other skincare ingredients.


1. “Hyaluronic Acid.” WebMD.
2. “Sodium Hyaluronate.” Health Line.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Hyaluronan” By Vaccinationist – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Sodium hyaluronate” By Ed (Edgar181) – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasini A

Hasini is a graduate of Applied Science with a strong background in forestry, environmental science, chemistry, and management science. She is an amateur photographer with a keen interest in exploring the wonders of nature and science.

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