Step aside, hyaluronic acid.
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What Is Sodium Hyaluronate — and How Can It Benefit the Skin?
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Spending time online can make you instantly question if you have everything you need. "Do I need that new dress to have the best weekend ever?" "Do I need that new pre-made meal kit to eat healthily?" "Do I need to trash my beauty routine and replace it with a brand new skincare ingredient?"

The answer is usually no — but it's still fun to consider. When it comes to skincare in particular, though, having all the necessary information about new, trending ingredients is key to knowing whether or not you really need it in your routine. Take sodium hyaluronate (SH), for example. 

You may have already heard of this very science-y sounding ingredient, but not every ingredient is right for everyone. So, if you're curious to find out if sodium hyaluronate is for you, we interviewed three board-certified dermatologists to get all the details about what the ingredient is and how to use it. 

What Is Sodium Hyaluronate?

"Sodium hyaluronate is a salt derived from hyaluronic acid (HA), a sugar molecule that naturally occurs in our bodies and can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water," explains Toronto-based dermatologist, Geeta Yadav, M.D. 

Though the type of sodium hyaluronate found in skincare is synthetically created in a lab, New York-based cosmetic dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D., explains that it's also naturally found in the connective tissues of the body. 

When used in skincare, Manhattan-based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D., says sodium hyaluronate is used to deliver optimal hydration deep within the skin barrier, much like the ingredient it is derived from (hyaluronic acid), and can help smooth fine lines. Additionally, it can soothe irritated skin and help heal wounds. 

However, there are some differences between sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid.  

How Does Sodium Hyaluronate Compare to Hyaluronic Acid?

Though both SH and HA provide major hydration benefits thanks to how much water they can hold, the key difference between the two is that sodium hyaluronate has a much smaller molecule size, which means it can more swiftly penetrate the skin's barrier. There are some benefits to HA's larger molecular structure, though. 

"While sodium hyaluronate has a lower molecular weight and size, hyaluronic acid has a higher molecular weight which makes it more effective at locking moisture in the skin," Dr. Engelman explains. "Both are very hydrating ingredients and great additions to your skincare routine — just in slightly different ways."

The good news is that almost all skin types benefit from the use of SH and/or HA, though Dr. Yadav does note that SH is particularly great for people with dry or more mature skin that might need longer-lasting moisture. 

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How Should You Use Sodium Hyaluronate to Get the Best Results? 

Though you can find sodium hyaluronate in most types of skincare products, it's serums, followed by moisturizers, that will allow the ingredient to penetrate your skin the quickest.

"Since serums have a high concentration of ingredients and absorb quickly and deeply, they allow you to reap the benefits of a potent dose of ingredients," says Dr. Engelman. "Serums with sodium hyaluronate will help dry skin quickly and effectively retain hydration." She recommends Glo Skin Beauty's HA-Revive Hyaluronic Drops as they're formulated with a high dose of sodium hyaluronate, plant stem cells, and marine actives that quench dry skin and help maintain a strong skin barrier.

Pro tip: Dr. Jaliman recommends applying serums after washing your face and exfoliating it, as that's when your skin is "slightly moist so that you can bind this moisture to your skin." 

To seal in moisture, follow up with an SH-infused moisturizer. Dr. Engelman suggests Bliss' Drench & Quench Moisturizer, which contains four different forms of hyaluronic acid — including sodium hyaluronate — that "rapidly restore moisture to the skin barrier" and "instantly refresh" skin.