A couple years ago I took the claim that hyaluronic acid can "hold 1000 times its weight in water" to the lab and found that this statement is false. The experiment found that hyaluronic acid at most can hold 100x its weight in water and at least 10x its weight in water. It is published here
The experiment was just a visual one of the gel points of hyaluronic acid so it was just a preliminary study which would pave the way for a more in-depth more exact study later on. In the study, I noted there was not an exact way for me to determine the exact point when the gel was saturated and therefore I couldn't say exactly when hyaluronic acid could hold no more water. So I just went more on the visual gel properties.
However, since that time I have found an exact way to determine the gel point of hyaluronic acid and this allowed me to pinpoint when hyaluronic acid was saturated and reached all of its water-holding potential.
The study examined the water-holding potential of hyaluronic acid of molecular weights ranging from 80,000-1,000,000 daltons. Which is the range of weights hyaluronic acid is used cosmetically.
In the study, I measure the physical properties of hyaluronic acid gels at various points to determine the gel point and the saturation point. I look at density, specific gravity, and test the rheometry of the gels to take my measurements.
All of the findings will be submitted for peer-reviewed publication and available to read likely in a few months.
However, I wanted to share some of my findings here first as I go along. Firstly because anytime something is published in a journal it is behind a paywall, so access is limited. And secondly because these findings go against the established narrative of hyaluronic acid and I believe they are important to share.
I will be releasing some data here on the blog in general terms until publication.
In order for hyaluronic acid to hold 1000x its weight in water, 1g of hyaluronic acid must be able to hold 1000g of water. I found this to not be true.
My first finding was that hyaluronic acid (HA) extra low molecular weight (ELMW) (80,000-110,000 daltons) was not able to hold even its own weight in water.
This finding means that 1 gram of HA ELMW was not able to hold onto 1 gram of water.
No Scientific Basis
The established narrative for hyaluronic acid is that it can hold 1000 times its weight in water however there is no scientific study anywhere that provides evidence for this statement. This study finds that the statement of hyaluronic acid being able to hold 1000 times is weight in water is a made up statement by skin care companies and is parroted by bloggers who have no scientific literacy.
This study finds that the established narrative of hyaluronic acid's water holding ability is wrong. In certain circumstances, hyaluronic acid cannot even hold its own weight in water.
This discovery opens the door for more questions in skin care. Specifically, what other established "facts" about skin care are wrong?