50 to 1 water/mass ratio
Sodium Hyaluronate is an unprecedented skin moisturizer with the capacity to retain a 50 to 1 water/mass ratio. This is easily the best natural skin moisturizer available on the market today.
Injections of hyaluronic acid (the primary ingredient of Restalyne), according to a review in The Archives of Dermatology cited by this New York Times article, are one of three anti-aging treatments available that are proven clinically effective. The others are: the topical application of retinal and carbon dioxide laser resurfacing.
Theory and experiment back these treatments… Each depends on the same mechanism, the interaction of skin cells called fibroblasts with the collagen they produce… Fibroblasts—connective tissue cells—secrete a complex group of polysaccharides and proteins that creates collagen, which gives the skin shape and elasticity and supports blood vessels that permeate it. The network of collagen tissue is maintained by its mechanical tension with these skin cells…
This post, however, is about the topical application of skin-care products containing sodium hyaluronate—the salt of hyaluronic acid, which, the article says, “should not be confused with HA in some topical cosmetic products… Rubbing such products on the skin will not stimulate collagen production.
Still others claim that—thanks in part to advances in infiltration nanotechnology and its ultra low-weight molecular formation—that there is something to sodium hyaluronate.
But before we can get to what that something is, we have to learn a little bit about what makes hyaluronic acid (HA) so special.
What is it? Hyaluronic Acid
HA is the naturally occurring and widespread component found within the extra-cellular space within bodily tissues, especially those of the face. Originally extracted from rooster combs, it is now produced as a reactive byproduct of a benign bacteria and is identical to the substance found within the skin. Its water-binding and water-attracting attributes fill up the spaces between the connective fibers collagen and elastin in the dermis. When injected into the face, HA functions to hydrate and separate the skin, holding onto water and supporting all that makes the face plump and voluptuous.
So Why Do You Need It?
Well, in case you didn’t know, your skin’s dermis layer is made up of about 70% water and claims nearly 50% of your body’s total HA allotment; there it helps to support and hydrate the skin, resulting in a healthy and attractive appearance. As your amount of HA decreases (as it will do with age, in fact adults have only 1/20th the amount of HA of a baby), the ECM becomes dehydrated, leading to surface roughness, flaking, fine lines, and a whole host of other undesirables.
Dry skin also leads to wrinkly, flappy skin. Wrinkles come about from the loss of three important components in the skin: collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin. HA provides the hydrating, nutrient-transporting framework necessary for holding up the structure of the ECM in the skin. If elastin is not bathed in water it becomes dry and brittle, invariably leading to dull, loose and less-elastic skin. Dry skin is aged skin.
What is Sodium Hyaluronate?
Sodium hyaluronate has a smaller molecular size as HA (making it especially penetrative), and is able to hold more water than any other natural substance—up to 1000 times its weight in water!
Thanks to these to attributes, when applied topically to the skin it can reach deep down into the dermis to combine with, maintain and attract water, as well as to promote skin/blood micro-circulation and nutrient absorption and maintain normal metabolism. And thanks to its super-sized hydrating properties will result in a smoother and softer skin with decreased wrinkles and an all-around fuller appearance.
Although HA and its various formations have been used in skin-care products and cosmetics for some time, there have been no published clinical studies on its topical application, says Jenny Kim, associate professor of medicine and dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in an article for the Los Angeles Times. “…and to claim HA can rejuvenate the skin by applying it topically is probably a stretch, but its very good for the skin because its very moisturizing.”
So what does it do, really?
Well, for one, it helps your skin bring in and absorb more water more effectively. On top of that, it reduces any sort of trans-epidermal water loss.
Think of it like one of those sammy sports towels you saw Olympic divers use to draw up all the extra water from their skin after getting out of the pool. Topically adding sodium hyaluronate transforms the dermis layer of your skin into a super-sponge for your face: by helping to maintain and attract water within the extra-cellular space, it not only hydrates the skin and increases its volume and density; but, by effect, temporarily stabilizes inter-cellular skin matrix, the glue that holds your face together.
The results of all this lead to a slight swelling of the skin that reduces the appearance of wrinkles. The intense moisturization does allow for the skin to operate at higher capacity to provide a better defense against environmental assaults and other aging effects.