Focus: Hyaluronic Acid (Sodium Hyaluronate)

anti-aging anti-inflammatory GAG hyaluronic acid hydration sodium hyaluronate

Hyaluronic Acid Skin Benefits

Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan (GAG) integral to healthy mammalian connective, epithelial, neural, and corneal tissues.  It serves as an antioxidant, humectant, injectable, and dietary supplements within Medicine, Nutraceuticals, cosmetics, and skincare. Animals and humans synthesize it naturally, however our bodies metabolize it in less than a day and synthesis declines with age. By age of 70 years, the Hyaluronic Acid concentration found within skin tissue declines by 75%.

Most dermal fillers, cosmetics and skincare use the hyaluronan sodium salt, Sodium Hyaluronate, due to superior stability and cost without sacrificing any benefits.  The terms are interchangeable. Hyaluronic Acid often appears in the product description, however the INCI label is likely to reflect Sodium Hyaluronate. Biofermentation of plants, yields vegan Hyaluronic Acid (HA) with bioidentical structure, although many oral supplements continue to employ animal sourcing. 

Applied topically, Hyaluronic Acid improves skin’s ability to retain moisture, hydration and elasticity through humectant properties, antioxidant protection, repair and re-generation.   Saturating the skin with anti-aging, hydration, anti-inflammatory and healing capabilities, it is an effective choice for most skin types.  Reactive and sensitive skin may respond better to high molecular weight (500k daltons or higher) HA.

Skin Benefits:

  • Hydrates: Helps the epidermis (outer skin layer) to hold moisture – up to 1000 times its own weight. Improves skin hydration up to 96% in 8 weeks.
  • Firms: Improves firmness/elasticity by 55% in 8 weeks.
  • Smooths: Reduces wrinkle depth by 40% in 8 weeks.
  • Anti-Inflammatory: High-Weight HA (500K – 4M Daltons), calms, soothes, and promotes healing by reinforcing the skin’s protective barrier function.  
  • Protects: Antioxidant properties and ability to stimulate ceramide synthesis, mitigate environmental aggressors.


  • Effective in topical applications ranging between 0.01- 2% concentrations.
  • Sensitive to light degradation, so choose airless/opaque containers and store in a dark place. Do not refrigerate.
  • Concentrations of 1% or greater affect tactile properties of topical formulations – feels sticky or tacky.
  • Molecular weight varies widely, as do the skin benefits:
    • High Molecular Weight (HMW) HA, ranging from 500k to 4M daltons, improves surface hydration. 
    • Low Molecular Weight (LMW) HA, less than 500k daltons, provides superior antioxidant, reparative, and anti-aging skin benefits, while enhancing enhancing the permeability of other water-soluble actives. May also trigger the skin’s pro-inflammatory response.
  • Works nicely with most ingredients found in skincare. For extremely dry or compromised skin in low humidity climates, consider layering highly concentrated hyaluronic skincare with an essence and facial oil.  This will will inhibit powerful humectant from drawing moisture from the deeper tissue layers of the skin. 

    What is clean hyaluronic acid?


    • Synthetic (Biofermentation)
    • Rooster Combs
    • Bovine synovial fluid (Eye)


    Hyaluronic Acid and the Human BodyVitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) SKincareVegan Retinol 0.5% Skincare





    Best Ingredient for Glassy Skin


    • International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 2017, 0.59, Chemistry of hyaluronic acid and its significance in drug delivery strategies: a review
    • DermatoEndocrinology, 2012 Jul 1, 4(3): 253-258, Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging.
    • 3 Biotech, 2016 Jun, 6(1): 67, Biotechnological production of hyaluronic acid: a mini review.
    • Necas, J. et al, "Hyaluronic acid (hyaluronan): a review" in Veterinarni Medicina 8 (2008) pp. 397-411 [Accessible at:]
    • Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2011 Oct, 49(10); 2670-2675, Antioxidant acitivity of low molecular weight hyaluronic acid.
    • Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents, 2017 Dec 27, 31(4 Suppl 2): 63-69, Systematic review: the efficacy of topical hyaluronic acid on oral ulcers.
    • Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, 2017, 10: 311-315, The 24-hour skin hydration and barrier function effects of a hyaluronic 1%, glycerin 5%, and Centella asiatica stem cells extract moisturizing fluid: an intra-subject, randomized, assessor-blinded study
    • Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 2014 Mar, 7(3): 27-29, Efficacy of a New Topical Nano-hyaluronic Acid in Humans.
    • Archives of Dermatological Research, 2016 Mar, 308(2): 95-101, Hyaluronan tetrasaccharides stimulate ceramide production through upregulated mRNA expression of ceramide synthesis-associated enzymes.
    • Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Apllications, 2014 Jan, 04(03): 150-155, The Effects of a Hyaluronan Lotion with a Molecular Weight of around 50 - 110 kDa on the Aged Atrophic Skin.

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      • Nance4Joy on

        Will keep coming back for more Rephyll! Props Michelle, for keeping it real.

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