Diary / Beauty / Feb 13, 2024

Sodium Hyaluronate vs. Hyaluronic Acid: Are They the Same?

Written by: Jones Road Beauty

Photography by: Ben Ritter & Jon Patterson

Jones Road Beauty model with the multivitamin serum.

Sodium Hyaluronate vs. Hyaluronic Acid: Are They the Same?

Hyaluronic acid has been a buzzy ingredient in skincare and makeup for a while now, with plenty of reasons to support the chatter. It’s a powerful moisturizing ingredient that is known to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles—not exactly what first comes to mind when you think of an acid.

Sodium hyaluronate probably also sounds familiar because the two are often used interchangeably (and they are in the same ingredient family)—but is there actually a difference? And when it comes to choosing a product with either of the ingredients, is one better than the other? 

Read on to learn about the differences between sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid and why they are rightfully such beloved ingredients.

What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occuring acid produced by our bodies, found in large part in our skin, eyes, and joints. 

You often hear the word “acid” and think of something that may be akin to a harsh exfoliator, but that’s not the case with hyaluronic acid that exists outside the body. Hyaluronic acid is incredibly gentle and mostly commonly applied topically as it’s found in serums and moisturizers. It promotes flexibility, elasticity, and hydration throughout the body, especially in the skin. As we age, the production of hyaluronic acid diminishes, which is why this ingredient has become so popular. 

The molecules of hyaluronic acid (or as you may have seen it written, HA) can carry up to 1,000 times its weight in water so it’s often touted for its humectant properties—meaning, it attracts and holds onto water, often drawing water from the deeper layers of your skin to help moisturize the top layer, allowing your skin to stay moisturized, nourished, and healthy.

Hyaluronic acid also fortifies your skin barrier and supports your skin’s resilience so it can better fend off damage caused by environmental stressors, like pollutants or UV rays (hardly a substitute for sunscreen though! Keep at it with the SPF.). 

Is Sodium Hyaluronate the Same as Hyaluronic Acid?

In short, no, but there are many similarities. You may reach for a product touted as having hyaluronic acid but when you look more closely at the ingredients, you find it actually contains sodium hyaluronate. 

Sodium hyaluronate is the salt of hyaluronic acid, so it’s smaller in size and has a lower molecular weight—although it can also hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. This means it is able to penetrate the skin more deeply where it can deliver powerful hydration, targeting all the layers with its moisturizing properties more effectively.

Skin gets drier as we get older, and an ingredient like sodium hyaluronate can be super effective in supporting your natural moisture. Sodium hyaluronate is also more stable so it can maintain a longer shelf life and isn’t as likely to oxidize. Excellent news for those with supremely dry skin and even those who live in drier climates. 

At Jones Road, What The Foundation, The Mascara, and Multivitamin Serum all contain sodium hyaluronate.  

Jones Road Beauty serum.

Benefits of Sodium Hyaluronate & Hyaluronic Acid in Skincare

Both Moisturize & Hydrate Skin

Hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate, with their unique ability to hold onto water, penetrate the layers of the skin and help rejuvenate skin cells with water.

Moisturizing your face in the morning and night is the optimal way to stay hydrated, and if dry skin is a particular concern for you, hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate are worthy additions to your routine.

In particular, our What The Foundation is excellent at maintaining nourished, even skin. It’s a tinted moisture balm meets traditional foundation. It’s so moisturizing in fact that, if your skin type is oily or even normal, you can skip applying moisturizer before you put on your WTF.

We don’t need to tell you that dull, rough skin is a byproduct of a neglected complexion that’s turned dry. Not only that, dry skin shows signs of unevenness more easily. Plus, skin loses elasticity and tautness as we age. Your skin will benefit greatly from the presence of sodium hyaluronate in WTF, particularly if changing skin due to aging is top of mind. 

Both Help Reduce the Appearance of Fine Lines & Wrinkles

Both humectants, hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate plump the skin with water, leading to fuller, tighter, and therefore smoother skin. Fuller skin diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines so you automatically, and more easily, maintain a youthful, healthy appearance.

Plus, hydrated skin is healthy, which means it can more regularly turn over and produce more skin cells, too.

To assist in your pursuit of smoother skin, consider Multivitamin Serum, which contains vitamins C, B, and E, and sodium hyaluronate to soothe, brighten, and hydrate the face and neck for healthy-feeling, nourished skin. The stainless steel rollerball soothes and depuffs, too.

In the evening, cleanse your skin and apply the serum over your face and neck. Gently pat into your skin and follow with moisturizer. It’s also great for morning use—just make sure to layer your SPF on top of the serum.

Both are Gentle and Non-Comedogenic

Hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate are gentle and well-tolerated across all skin types, even those with sensitive skin. (Of course, if you find yourself in the midst of a flare-up or have a history of very sensitive skin, it’s also a good idea to test out a new product first before fully incorporating it into your routines.)

Plus, as they are both non-comedogenic, you won’t have to worry about clogging your pores or exacerbating a breakout in the pursuit of moisturized, nourished skin.

Which is Better: Sodium Hyaluronate or Hyaluronic Acid?

If you’re looking for a tidy answer, there isn’t really one. Both hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate are excellent additions to your skincare and makeup routines—you can use both concurrently to double up on the moisturizing benefits. That’s especially true if you suffer from dry skin, and in that case, sodium hyaluronate will be particularly beneficial.

The main differences between sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid lie in their size and stability, but both are remarkably gentle and effective in moisturizing skin for a nourished, smoother appearance. 

Both are easy-to-incorporate ingredients that, with consistent use, will help give you your skin on its best day. Start reading up on your favorite products more closely—you may find you’re already benefiting from these powerhouse ingredients.

Shop the article:


The Mascara


What The Foundation

Multivitamin Serum

Multivitamin Serum

Diary / Beauty / Feb 13, 2024

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