When looking for Hyaluronic Acid-based skincare products – size matters. Hyaluronic Acid, also known as hyaluronan, (HA) plays a major role in cosmetics as a humectant (a substance that retains moisture). Savvy skin care product aficionados look for products that use multi-weight (complimentary medium, low, oligo, high and very high molecular weights) hyaluronic acid. The secret is out…..multi-weight hyaluronic acid improves skin care by offering significant moisturization and skin health benefits.
Hyaluronic Acid in the Skin
HA is found both in the deeper layers of the skin where connective tissue is predominant, as well as in the top layers of the skin (epidermis) around the horny cells (keratinocytes). A combination of multi-weight HA molecules is believed to more accurately mimic the natural functions of HA in the skin.
In the skin, HA binds to proteins, and glycosaminoglycans (2). HA molecules also have a strong ability to bind to water. Consequently, HA becomes so hydrated (up to 1000 x’s its weight) that a gel-like system is formed. Hence, the main function of HA is to aid in the body’s water maintenance. HA is an essential moisture reservoir for body processes and molecular transport. Unfortunately, as we age, the HA levels in the skin decrease, contributing to skin aging and formation of wrinkles. At fifty years of age, for example, the amount of HA in the skin is only about 50% of what it was in our youth.(2)
Production of Hyaluronic Acid
Most HA is produced biotechnologically, ideally at an ISO certified lab, through microbial fermentation with the aid of yeast extract, peptones, and serums. Consumers who prefer vegan skin care products should always check the source of the HA in their favorite products as it can also be isolated from animal sources, including the synovial fluid, umbilical cord, skin, and rooster comb.
Hyaluronic Acid in Skin Care and Cosmetics
HA is extensively utilized in skin care products because of its ability to penetrate the skin, its unique moisturizing and viscoelastic properties and excellent biocompatibility. The most popular indications of cosmetic HA products are to moisturize the skin and/or combat signs of aging. (2)
Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid (2)
- Replenishes levels of skin HA lost in the aging process
- Hydrates dry skin
- Makes skins soft & smooth
- Reduces fine lines & wrinkles
- Reconstructs connective tissue
Multi-Weight Hyaluronic Acid Improves Skin Care – Size Matters
The molecule sizes of different weight hyaluronic acids vary from bigger molecules that sit closer to the skin’s surface to smaller ones that go deeper into the epidermis. “For a hyaluronan-based serum to deliver both instant and long-lasting effects, you need a combination of molecular weights.”(1)
Benefits of Combined Weight Hyaluronic Acid:
- Very high molecular weight/high molecular weight sodium hyaluronate forms an invisible and dense protective film on the surface of the skin helping to trap moisture and prevent external pollution and haze.
- Medium molecular sodium hyaluronate adheres to the surface of the skin to soften the stratum corneum making the skin feels soft and smooth
- Low-molecular and oligo molecular sodium hyaluronate combat preliminary aging, increase skin elasticity, and penetrate into the skin for deep hydration and nourishment.
Penetration Profiles of Hyaluronic Molecular Profiles:
- Super low and medium-weight hyaluronan molecules penetrate deeper into the skin’s structure.
- Low-weight HA provides maximum below-the-surface hydration, rehydrating skin cells over time.
- High-weight hyaluronan molecules (HMW-HA) sit on the surface of the skin. The large hyaluronan molecule is readily recognized by our body since that is what we predominantly produce naturally. HMW-HA is thought to stimulate an anti-inflammatory response from macrophages. It also delivers immediate intensive hydration to the surface layers of the skin for an instant smoothing and firming effect.
Multiple molecular size HA or multi-weight hyaluronic acid improves skin care by providing a more comprehensive approach to moisturization and skin health.
Multi-Weight Hyaluronic Acid Signaling & Response
Super low-molecular weight HA (SLMW-HA) has excellent anti-irritating and regenerating effects once absorbed by skin. “Hyaluronic acid is found naturally at a high molecular weight in our tissue, but it can be broken down and found as a (super) low molecular weight as well,” says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. “The different weights may signal different cellular responses in the skin, triggering different pathways of healing and repair mechanisms, but they also have varying levels of penetration into the skin.”
Look For a Multi-Weight HA Serum
Not all manufactures’ serums containing hyaluronic acid actually say the molecular weight they’re using, but plenty will now tip you off to the fact that they use a variety of molecular weights of the ingredient—which is what you should look for. “I do think this is a trend that we should be looking for in the future,” shares Dr. Nazarian. “I will say that the multi-weight hyaluronic acid serums that I’ve tried definitely provide some longer-lasting results.” (1)
- Rachel Lapidos – The Most Important Thing to Look for in a Hyaluronic Acid Serum to Keep Skin Hydrated. May 30, 2019 [Accessed 28th January 2021]
- Making Cosmetics – Hyaluronic Acid White Paper https://www.makingcosmetics.com/Whitepapers_ep_248-1.html MakingCosmetics Inc.10800 231st Way NE Redmond, WA 98053 [Accessed 28th January 2021]
I Label It Skincare, a private label skincare & therapeutics company, uses multi-weight (SLMW-HA & HMW-HA). Find all 10 of our exceptional Vegan CBD-infused Facial Serums: solutions-based serums, serum-based mask. aromatherapy mists, micellar waters, conduction serums, eye serums, and 3 of our best-selling moisturizers.