High vs. Low Hyaluronic Acid - Which One Should You Use?

Like most things in life, Hyaluronic acid molecules are not created equal. The complex ingredient actually comes in many different forms and sizes. And their effects on your skin varies.

What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring sugar molecule that is in fact made by the body. The molecule is most often found in our skin, but also in our joints and eyes to keep these structures moist and lubricated. The unique acid molecule is classified as a humectant which means it attracts and binds to water to replenish the moisture in the skin and also prevents water from evaporating through the epidermis. Hyaluronic acid is so powerful, it can hold up to 1000 times its molecular weight. This means hydrated, dewier, and healthy-looking skin. Unfortunately, as we age the amount of Hyaluronic acid our body creates declines and so too does the hydration. Our skin then develops wrinkles, fine lines and dryness. This is why a skincare product with a high-quality hyaluronic acid molecule can hydrate the skin and keep premature signs of ageing at bay.

But picking the right hyaluronic acid is tricky. With so many formulations on the market, it’s hard to know which one is right for your skin. It also makes it harder to choose when a manufacturer doesn’t explicitly label the molecular size of Hyaluronic acid they are using on the ingredient list…which is incredibly important to know in order to get the results you are looking for.

Why Size Matters?

Hyaluronic acid has a molecular weight of 4000 to 8,000,000 daltons. The ingredient can be found in six different sizes. And depending on the molecular weight, the effect on the skin varies as well. Such that, hyaluronic acid with low molecular weight (LMW-HA), also known as sodium hyaluronate, easily absorbs and penetrates the deepest layers of your skin. This means low molecular weight Hyaluronic acid (LMW-HA) provides intense moisture and sustained hydration deep in the skin. The effect of sodium hyaluronate can plump the skin and reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

As the hyaluronic acid molecule gets bigger and the molecular weight higher, hyaluronic acid thus remains closer to the surface of the human skin. A high molecular weight Hyaluronic acid (HMW-HA) delivers the most visible results, but with a shorter life-span. And, the results can be washed away with a simple face cleansing. Most often, companies distinguish hyaluronic acid as either high or low molecular weight HA, but in reality, there are more specific sizes.

Type of Hyaluronic Acid

Molecular Weight in Daltons

Use/Effect

 

High Molecular Weight (HMW-HA)

 

>1.800.000

  • Acid works short-term
  • HMW-HA provides a moisturizing barrier for the skin surface
  • HMW-HA has anti-inflammatory properties

 

Middle Molecular Weight

 

1.000.000 to 1.800.000

  • Stored in the connective tissue of the skin
  • Works for a longer-term

 

Low Molecular Weight (LMW-HA)

 

400.000 to 1.000.000

  • AKA sodium hyaluronate
  • Works for a longer-term
  • More stable
  • Stored in the connective tissue of the skin
  • Has anti-wrinkle effects that last

 

S

 

100.000 to 400.000

 

  • Deeper level skin penetration

 

XS

 

<100.000

 

  • Hydrates
  • Regenerating

 

The Most Effective Hyaluronic Acid Size for Skin

With all that being said, you might be wondering if there is a better Hyaluronic acid molecular size you should look for in a moisturizer or be using? Rather than picking one or the other, we recommend you use a face cream that offers a combination of high (HMW-HA) and low molecular weight hyaluronic acid (LMW-HA) to really benefit your skin. This is why Pascoe’s Hyaluronic Face Cream is made with a smart combination of high molecular weight and low hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate. The high molecular weight (HMW-HA) not only moisturizes the skin’s surface, protects the skin’s barrier and improves skin elasticity, it also has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe sensitive or irritated skin. At the same time, the sodium hyaluronate, which is a lower molecular weight in Pascoe’s Hyaluronic Face Cream means that the additional moisture penetrates deep into the skin to deliver intense hydration and provide long-lasting visible results of plump, firm, and smooth skin.

Why choose one when your skin can have the best of both worlds? 

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