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 PickHyaluronic 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 AcidWhen added to water, hyaluronic acid does a magical thing – it creates a gel – all by itself.
That's really cool.
...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 GelMeasure out desired dose and add in the final phase (under 40 C). Stir to incorporate fully.
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 PowderAdd 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 MethodThere 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 TellDo you work with hyaluronic acid? I am all ears to hear about your experiences with it!
Topical application of Hyaluronic acid for recurring ulcers
More Info and Other Nerdy Stuff about Hyaluronic Acid and Why it's So Cool
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
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.
I forgot, I heat the water in micro, and use dropper until it looks like the same amount as the HLA
I've created a 2% HA gel (preserved with German Plus in distilled water).
I'd like to incorporate this into an anhydrous, aloe vera gel-based serum. Would I need an emulsifier to do so, and if so would polysorbate 20 be a decent option?
Thanks so much in advance!
If your base is an aloe gel and mostly water based, you wont need an emulsifier to add your HY acid gel.
Have you tried using a combination of both low and high molecular weights in your formulations? This seems to work well for me, as the low molecular weight HA has much lower viscosity (basically like water) so the two combined allow me to gain maximum HA benefits without making my overall product too thick. Added bonus, the lower MW HA penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin :)
I keep 2 mason jars in my workspace at all times. Both of them are made with distilled water and preserved appropriately, and I change up the percentage of each type of HA based on how viscous I want my product to be.
Always experimenting....always learning! Thanks so much for all you do for the formulating community!
Would it be best in 💊 form?
If the formula you are using calls for 0.5% hyaluronic acid, then 50% of the product you are making should consist of the gel you have. Hope this helps!