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What is Sodium Hyaluronate Used For and What are Its Side Effects?

May 17, 2018

What is Sodium hyaluronate?

Sodium hyaluronate is the salt form of an important glycosaminoglycan called hyaluronic acid (HA) or hyaluronan. Glycosaminoglycans are polysaccharides sugars molecules that are linked by proteins. These water-attracting molecules bind to water to create a viscous substance that fills the space between collagen and elastin fibres in the dermis—providing fullness and radiance to the skin. The amount of hyaluronic acid declines with age. Aside from the skin, it is also found in abundance in various tissues of human and animal species, including the joint fluids, vitreous humor of the eyes, and neural tissues.

Cosmetic and Clinical Applications

Sodium hyaluronate acts as a tissue lubricant; its viscoelastic property provides mechanical protection for tissues and cell layers. It facilitates transport of molecules, such as growth factors and structural proteins to a site of action. HA also plays a role in wound healing and tissue repair. Owing to these capabilities, sodium hyaluronate has a growing list of applications in the cosmetic and medical industry.

  • Dermal fillers – Soft tissue fillers use hyaluronic acid to restore volume and reduce moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds.
  • Intra-articular injections – Sodium hyaluronate is used to treat the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Often given to patients who do not respond to over-the-counter pain relievers and other treatment modalities. 
  • Intra-ocular injection – Its aid eye surgeries such as corneal transplant and cataract extraction by acting as the vitreous and aqueous humor.
  • Topical application. It is often added in topical creams to protect the skin and facilitate wound healing. Sodium hyaluronate also acts as a humectant or moisturiser and helps the absorption of actives in skincare products.

 Sodium hyaluronate side effects:

  • Post-injection reactions—swelling, pain, and redness
  • Rash and ecchymosis
  • Transient inflammation of the injected knee
  • Itching of the skin
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache