How to choose the best hyaluronic acid

If you've found your way to this post, it shows that you truly value the importance of keeping your skin well hydrated. So, in order to make the most of your attention and keep you engaged, let's dive into those other intriguing aspects of this well-known molecule: the hyaluronic acid.

... but as some may overlook the basic theory 😊, and as we strive to be an "inclusive" brand, here's a brief reminder of its main functions.

¿What is hyaluronic acid?

What are the differences between natural hyaluronic acid in the body and in cosmetics?

¿How to identify the best hyaluronic acid?

Different types of non-cross-linked hyaluronic acid, according to their molecular weight

How much hyaluronic acid is best?

¿What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a hygroscopic molecule, that is, capable of attracting and retaining water... up to 1000 times its volume. We can find it in the connective tissue that also makes up the skin, in the synovial fluid of the joints acting as a lubricant and shock absorber, and even in the eyes. And always with the function of keeping everything well hydrated.

It is constantly produced by the body and, at the same time, natural enzymes degrade it 24/36 hours after it has been produced. A short but intense life!

No one could deny its merits; the problem is that with age our body begins to reduce its production - not to mention other factors such as stress, pollution or sun exposure... which also contribute to accelerate its degradation - and, from the age of 25-30, the loss of hyaluronic acid becomes more noticeable. Therefore, and returning to what concerns us, at the level of the epidermis it is recommended to consider the use of products that provide us with an extra dose.

¿What are the differences between natural body hyaluronic acid and cosmetic hyaluronic acid?

Question: Is the hyaluronic acid that we provide to our skin through the use of a cosmetic the same as the one produced by our body?

Answer: Yes, but...


Hyaluronic acid molecules formulated in the laboratory must be small enough to be absorbed by the skin. Some products may not be fully effective because the molecules are too large to be absorbed, so they remain on the surface of the skin.

In this case, topical HA that is not completely absorbed by the skin may have the opposite effect and end up driving moisture from the skin into itself, and drying it out.

Have you ever wondered, "Why do I have dry skin if I'm using a cosmetic with hyaluronic acid?" There you have the answer.

Therefore, (although there is no real scientific evidence on this aspect) it is preferable to use hyaluronic acid in a moist environment so that the moisture theoretically moves towards the skin rather than away from it.

Parentheses: What about injectable Hyaluronic Acid?

The HA that is injected with a medical-aesthetic treatment (cross-linked HA) is very different from that contained in cosmetics (non-cross-linked HA). The injectable is more artificial because certain chemicals are added to it so that our body's natural enzymes do not degrade it as quickly. This contributes to a longer lasting effect ranging from 6 to 12 months.

It is also different because of its dimensions, since the molecule is designed to be injected into the dermis and its size prevents it from diffusing through the different layers of the skin. Let us remember that cosmetics act in the epidermis and at the border with dermis.

We close parentheses and return to a less invasive solution, which is the use of a HA-based cosmetic.

¿How to identify the best hyaluronic acid?

As we were anticipating, it is a question of weight, and for that a specific unit of measurement need to be introduced: the "Dalton"... We are talking about something veryyyyyyy small.

To establish a relationship between the dalton (Da) and for example the gram, one can consider that 1 dalton is approximately equal to the mass of a hydrogen atom, which is around 1.66 x 10^-24 grams.

A low molecular weight HA molecule (20-300 kDa) is able to penetrate the stratum corneum and reach the deepest layers of the epidermis where it exerts a repairing, regenerating and anti-aging activity, increasing skin elasticity and reducing the depth of wrinkles.

The higher the molecular weight of HA (1000-1400 kDa) the lower the permeability, which translates into a more superficial moisturizing action.

Different types of non-cross-linked hyaluronic acid, according to their molecular weight

Here is a list of the most common HA presentations, with different names so that you will be able to detect them when analyzing the formula of your cosmetics (INCI). They are listed in order from the highest to the lowest molecular weight.

  • Sodium Hyaluronate (from 500 to 2000 kDa) it has the highest molecular weight and it is a (sodium) salt of HA. It is obtained by the chemical reaction between hyaluronic acid and sodium hydroxide.
    More superficial action: barrier function, radiance, smoothness
  • Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer (about 1000 kDa) a modified form of HA bonded to a polymeric structure and that stays longer in the upper layers of the skin, allowing for slightly longer lasting hydration.
  • Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate (around 10 kDa). You can think of this as a "chopped" HA. This type of HA is really small and so it is able to penetrate the skin more than other forms of HA. Deeper action: Wrinkle treatment, plumping and anti-inflammatory effect.

In UMOA formulas, in order not to have too little concentration of many ingredients but a good concentration of only few - and also to maintain the sensoriality of the texture - we opted for a balanced combination of the former HA, in its lighter version (500 kDa sodium hylauronate) and the latter (10 kDa hydrolyzed sodium hylauronate), for a combined effect.

How much hyaluronic acid is best?

Experts usually recommend a dose of hyaluronic acid not exceeding 100 / 120 milligrams per day.

So let's do a little math:

A pipette dose of our serum (30 ml) with hyaluronic (equivalent to 3-4 drops) would be equivalent to approximately 0.5 ml. If we use it twice a day (day and night) it would then be 1 ml of product per day.

If our serum were formulated with hyaluronic acid in 1% concentration, then, applying a daily serum dose of 1 milliliter (remember that 1 ml = 1 gram at least if we are talking about water), we would be providing one hundredth of 1 milliliter of HA or 10 milligrams of HA, which would be one tenth of the maximum recommended dose.

That would be that we could almost use our serum 10 times more 😊

But then why do HA concentrations in cosmetics range from 0.5% to 2% and not higher?

Here I would add another factor to consider: the viscosity of the hyaluroic acid.

Hand in hand we raise its concentration above 1%, the HA causes the texture of our product to become more sticky and less pleasant, accentuating the "particle creation effect" when massaging or using our serum in conjunction with another, such as another cream.

At UMOA, we have formulated both Goji Nectar Facial Serum and Velvet Hibiscus Contour Serum at 1% so that the application experience is very pleasant and can be massaged in without the risk of pulling the skin, especially in such a delicate area as around the eyes.

We have then added other powerful antioxidants to complete the formula to strengthen the skin's ability to defend itself against external aggressions.

Find out more about our antioxidant routine with hyaluronic acid here.


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