This mighty molecule penetrates deeper into the skin, resulting in increased hydration.

By Erica Sloan
January 29, 2021
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woman applying serum
Credit: Getty / Sorrorwoot Chaiyawong / EyeEm

Hyaluronic acid (HA) may be the gold standard of hydration, but there's another version of the molecule that is proving to be even shinier. Enter sodium hyaluronate. It penetrates deeper than its bigger sibling and attracts water from both the environment and the lower layers of your skin, explains New York City dermatologist Nikhil Dhingra. "This has the effect of plumping and hydrating not just the topmost aspect of the skin but deeper layers, as well, drawing water further," he tells us. "When combined with an occlusive moisturizer, like petrolatum or ceramides, this can plump up the skin, smooth out wrinkles, and fight off inflammation."

The reason why sodium hyluronate can go the distance? Its small size. "Sodium hyaluronate is the salt form of hyaluronic acid," notes Dr. Caroline Chang of the Rhode Island Dermatology Institute. "It is smaller than HA, which allows it to penetrate the skin further." It's also more stable than its larger counterpart, since it is less susceptible to oxidation, she continues—but don't go and rule out good, old HA for good. "Both hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate bind water and are therefore both good ingredients for hydrating the skin," she affirms. As for where you can find this workhorse ingredient? Find it embedded into the formulas of a few of our favorite products, below.

Neutrogena hydro boost night pressed serum
Credit: Courtesy of Neutrogena

Neutrogena

This oil- and alcohol-free formula will revitalize your complexion's moisture barrier overnight, resulting in dewy, bouncy skin by morning.

Shop Now: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Night Pressed Serum, $23, ulta.com.

zo skin health eye serum
Credit: Courtesy of ZO Skin Health

ZO Skin Health

With a cooling applicator, this sodium hyaluronate-rich eye serum reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time and increases plumpness right away.

Shop Now: ZO Skin Health Growth Factor Eye Serum, $130, zoskinhealth.com.

codex cream
Credit: Courtesy of Codex

Codex

Calendula and sodium hyaluronate work together to moisturize skin, providing intense nourishment and reducing irritation and redness.

Shop Now: Codex Beauty Bia Day Cream, $70, saksfifthavenue.com.

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