Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Working With Hyaluronic Acid - Powder vs Gel


Hyaluronic acid is a long-time staple in my stockroom – which, by the way, looks absolutely nothing like the romanticized image you see above.

A portion of my stockroom is packed in boxes at the moment, so I figured this generic photo of plant-based ingredients would be a lot more appealing than anything I could have photographed for you.

Now, back to hyaluronic acid (which, by the way, also would have looked far more boring than the photo above).

Hyaluronic acid has over the years magically found its way into many of my products – from eye and face creams to serums and gels.

Truth be told, I've had nothing but positive experiences with it – both in the lab and on the skin...

...right up until I started working with it as a powder.


Take your Pick

Hyaluronic acid is available from many cosmetics ingredients suppliers – mostly in powdered form, but also as a gel.

The powder is 100% pure concentrate that requires a really good scale as it must be measured out in tenths of a gram – especially if you make 100ml of product at a time. The dose can be from 0.1% to a maximum of 0.5%.

The gel is (obviously) not concentrate. It is made by adding hyaluronic acid powder (and a preservative) to water. Depending on the concentration of the gel, the dose can be from 2% to 10%.

For years, I worked exclusively with the gel – partly because it is easier to work with, but mostly because it is much easier to work with.


The Magic of Hyaluronic Acid

When added to water, hyaluronic acid does a magical thing – it creates a gel – all by itself.

That's really cool.

Except...

...if there is an insufficient amount of water, the gel becomes very, very, very lumpy and very very very stiff.

In truth, it becomes so gosh darn stiff and lumpy that incorporating it fully into an emulsion becomes mission impossible and you might as well stop swearing, toss the mixture, and start over.

Can you tell I speak from experience?



How to Work With Hyaluronic Acid as Gel 

Measure out desired dose and add in the final phase (under 40 C). Stir to incorporate fully.

Rejoice.

It's so easy-peasy, you can do it with one hand tied behind your back while having a cup of coffee and discussing what you'd like to have for dinner with your hubby who just wandered by.



How to Work With Hyaluronic Acid as Powder 

Add desired dose to demineralised water. Stir to dissolve. Cover. Let rest for 10-30 minutes. Add to your emulsion in the final phase (under 40 C).

That doesn't sound too terribly difficult, does it?

Here's the fun part: finding the amount of water. One of my suppliers recommends adding 0,5% of powder to 100ml of water.

That means, if you're making 100ml of product, there's no room for anything else in the mixture if you want a dose of 0,5%.

So I've been working on solving this one – keeping the water at a minimum without sacrificing viscosity.

Tip: Prepare for a plethora of different reactions if you decide to replace the water with hydrosol. Unless you have ample funding at your disposal, this is one road you probably don't want to go down.



The Alternative Powder Method

There is an alternative method when using the powder. One of my suppliers suggests the desired dose can be added directly to final product.

Problem: incorporating the powder fully is a problem and the viscosity changes drastically. My experience with this method so far = be willing to toss the product.


Do Tell

Do you work with hyaluronic acid? I am all ears to hear about your experiences with it!


More Info and Other Nerdy Stuff about Hyaluronic Acid and Why it's So Cool

Topical application of Hyaluronic acid for recurring ulcers
Hyaluronic Acid - a natural biopolymer ...
Hyaluronic acid - a unique topical vehicle for localized delivery of drugs to the skin
Hyaluronic acid - the amazing skin plumper (LisaLise blog from 2011)
Topical application of hyaluronic acid for wound healing
Colins Beauty Pages: About Humectants

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi LisaLise,

It's Jonna
I work with micro-formualtions using HLA quite often. I like the heavier dalton weight, especially if you are formulating under 100ml.

It took several years of experiments, but this is how I do it; at .5 I have a small porcelain bowl, and the HLA, I add just an equal amount of distilled water, and mix with plastic spatula, until it is goopy little blob, and looks like gelatin and let it sit for a little while like you would gelatin. (less water is better) Then I mix 1 to 2 drops of vegetable glycerin to smooth it out some, and then add at to end phase.

I have not had any problems with it, like I did in the beginning. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Jonna, again,

I forgot, I heat the water in micro, and use dropper until it looks like the same amount as the HLA

Lise M Andersen said...

Hi Jonna! Great to hear from you! I'm thrilled with this input and can't wait to try it! Thank you! Big huge hug from Copenhagen!

robyn m said...

You are in luck. Swiftcraftymonkey just posted a blog post about this ingredient with, you guessed it, a recipe on the exact amount of water and HA needed. She also added the molecular size needed to create a gel instead of a liquid. Hope this helps.

Lise M Andersen said...

HI Robyn - Yes indeed I am in luck! Funny how Susan and I seem to be on the same page regularly! Thanks for the tip. :)

A Z said...

Hi Lisa and Robyn

Can you put the link that Susan (Swiftcraftymonkey) wrote about hyaluronic acid, please.
Thanks

Afra

Lise M Andersen said...

hey there Afra - Here it is http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.dk/2015/01/ingredient-hyaluronic-acid.html

Nicole Sullivan said...

Hi Lisa, can the powder be mixed in anhydrous serum at all? Thanks so much!

Lise M Andersen said...

Hi Nicole -- as this is a water-soluble ingredient you're going to need to add an emulsifier and preservative if you want to add it to anything oil-based. I have heard some have luck by adding small amounts of glycerine to an anhydrous formula, so if you could incorporate the HA into glycerine then add that into your formula it MIGHT work. I would be hesitant to recommend it though-- you'd need to make quite a few test batches to get the result you want and could end up tossing a lot of ingredients.

DoeEyedFaun said...

Do you have any suggestions regarding mixing the HA powder with another powder such as a silica/talk based setting powder? In essence forming a DIY by Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder.

Lise M Andersen said...

HI DoeEyedFaun - If you are meticulous with your dosage percentages, I would imagine this would be possible with a dry mix by simply whizzing the ingredients together in a grinder. :)

lindy said...

Hi Lisa! Thank you so much for your great blog!! I am just wondering ... Did you have any luck mixing the HA as Joanna described? I am about 8 tries in to all methods ... nothing but glops. Maybe I will try a new HA - - I was just experimenting with one I "found" in my formulator box ... maybe I'll try a low-weight one from Lotioncrafter.

Lise M Andersen said...

HI Lindy - thanks - Yes, Jonna's description is a good method. It does take a bit of practice to get the feel of when the 'gloopy blob' is mixed and how long to let it sit. :)